--Yue Opera (Cantonese Opera) -- 

   Yue opera is a major genre of opera in South China, prevalent in Guangdong and Guangxi, Hong Kong, Macao and overseas Chinese communities in Southeast Asia. Its singing and dialogue are all in Cantonese dialect. It originated in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), beginning under the reign of the emperor Jiajing (1522-64) and developed through the centuries.


   The background stories of Yue opera are based on a wide range of subjects, including romantic encounters, historical events, fictionalized episodes, ghost stores, patriotic happenings, moral teachings, famous classics, pseudo-religious tales and heroic epics.


   Beyond entertainment, the operas educate people about many facets and levels of the Chinese language, belief system, society, arts and history. Yue opera costumes provide socio-historical contexts and are designed for symbolic and aesthetic effect.


--Typical Roles -- 
--Hall of Fame-- 


Ma Shizeng & Hong Xian Nv


Ren Jianhui & Bai Xuexian


Xin Ma Shizeng


Gai Minghui


Ni Huiying


Li Shuqin

--Famous Operas-- 

Purple Hairpin
The retrieval of a purple hairpin begins an intricate love affair between Li Yi, a scholar (played by Ren Jianhui), and Huo Xiaoyu, a courtesan (played by Bai Xuexian).

Tragedy of the Emperor's Daughter
It is a Chinese legend about a princess and her lover at the end of the Ming Dynasty.

Mu Guiyin Takes Command
Mu Guiyin was a famous woman general of the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127).

Search the Study
Originally, it was a lengend happend in Hainan Province, later it was adapted into Cantonese Opera and performed by famous Cantonese Opera artists Ma Shizeng and Hong Xiannv.

Storm in Mountain Village (Shan Xiang Feng Yun)
It is a story about Liu Qin, who led women guerrillas build revolutionary base areas before the liberation of the People's Republic of China.

--Type of Plays -- 

    There are two types of Cantonese opera plays: Wu and Wen.

    Wu plays emphasize war, the characters usually being generals or warriors. These works contain action scenes and involve a lot of weaponry and armour.


   Wen plays tend to be gentler and more elegant. The characters put a lot of effort into creating distinctive facial expressions and gestures to express their underlying emotions.

--Musical Instruments--

   The use of instruments in Cantonese opera is influenced by both western and eastern cultures. The reason for this is that Canton was one of the earliest places in China to establish trade relationships with the western civilizations.


   The musical instruments are mainly divided into melodic and percussive types.


   Traditional musical instruments used in Cantonese opera include wind, strings and percussion. The winds and strings encompass erhu, gaohu, yueqin, yangqin, and dizi, while the percussion comprises many different drums and cymbals. The percussion controls the overall rhythm and pace of the music, while the gaohu leads the orchestra.

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