Dr. Shuang Xin Tsao Private Foundation
Dr. Shuang Xin Tsao Private Foundation

Peking (Beijing) Opera

Chinese Cultural Heritage

"To know China, see Peking Opera"

Welcome to our website

You are entering the 'Alice in Wonderland', everything to amaze you. Like Alice, you enter a hole, down deeper, passing the center of the earth, exit on the other side, that's China. Noon here is midnight there.

US has 300 year's of history, China, 10 time +. So, a lot stories to tell. The first play here happened over 2000 years ago.

Peking Opera is not Hip Hop or Rock & roll, which are brief. Each lasts for hours. It's like the classical music, Russian Ballet, Italian Opera or Japanese Kabuki. You are congratulated for being able to enjoy these cultural heritages which enrich life, enormously.

To enjoy, one needs to have a spare time (not easy now-a-days). Sit down, alone or, better, with family/friends. Have a cup of tea and sweets in hand. Please be patient as you may not be used to the singing tone and the music. Oh, young men sing partly in falsetto since their voice has not deepened.

Some actors have painted face. It is a dramatic expression of characters, of being daring, brave, bully, tough, honor/courage (red face), clownish (a white circle around the nose), ruthless, or trickery (white face).

The stage is bare, all depends on actors' action/gesture, such as opening/closing a door, climb stairs, feeding chicks....
In ancient times, horse was indispensable. It is represented by a stick with tassels, like a whip. Please discern the mounting, riding, galloping, tied to a (imaginary) stick and resting (drop the stick down). A lot of pantomime, acrobat and martial arts.

Farewell My Concubine

The First Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huong (秦始皇), unified the country over 2000 years ago, in 220 BC. He started to build the Great Wall and constructde the Terra Cotta soldiers before he died in 210 BC.

The country was then thrown into chaos, with fierce fightings between 2 leaders, Liu Bang (刘邦) and Xiang Yu (项羽). The epic history is described at the beginning of the play, with both Chinese and English subtitles.

Legend of the White Snake

The story originates in Ming Dynasty (明朝), circa 1624 AD, one source is from the collection of Stories to Caution the World (警世通言).

This is a love story plots to overcome discrimination. Rather than discrimination among different groups of people, here, discrimination is extended to animals. In Buddhist doctrine, animal is sacred as human being, any human can be reborn as animal, and vice versa. We often hear that monks do not kill even a fly.

A White Snake who meditates for hundreds of years at Mount Emei, to acquire the ability of transforming itself to other forms. It longs to experience the seemingly joyful human world by transforming to a beautiful woman named Bai Suzhen (白素贞). Along with her maid, the Green Snake (小青), she travels to the city of Hongzhou. At the scenic West Lake, she met and fell in love with a young man named Xu Xian (许仙). They are soon married but not live happily ever after.

The problem is a hateful, evil monk named Fa Hai (法海) who discriminates non-human beings, is determined to purge the White Snake. Life-and-Death battles ensue which nearly dooms the poor White Snake.

Tragic Death in the Red Chamber

Unicorn Purse (锁麟囊 Suo Lin Nang)

Suo Lin Nang (Unicorn Purse) is literally “locked-in Qilin in Pouch”.

Qilin (麒麟) is a mythical animal of the Orient. It has a lion’s head, dragon’s body (with scales), antler’s horns and deer’s hooves. It symbolizes royalty, wealth and fertility.

It’s often a charm gift to a bride so she shall bear a son soon.

This is a story of ‘reversal of fortune’, about the happenings of 2 young brides, one is fabulously rich, the other one, dirt poor.

Please pay a special attention to the 2 maids, one at the beginning, the other, later on. They are played by male actors, in comical, exaggerated, roles, aimed to amuse. They are portrayed as uneducated, earthy, ignorant, naïve and shallow, often being seen as rude but are just tactless, a contrast to the refined, elegant, thoughtful, brides.


Contact: info@pekingopera.org