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Abstract

The hundred-year modern Peking opera (jingju) has gone through three stages. In the first stage,ranging from around 1910 to around 1964,jingju was used as agit-prop. In the second stage from 1964 to 1976,there emerged a series of new forms in acting,music,and stage art,with which theatre practitioners strove to use art to perform revolutionary historical stories or the struggle and construction in the socialist period. The third stage from 1976 to the present is characterized by a thematic departure from“politics”and“revolution”to the portrayal of“nobodies”by focusing on characters' psychology; this stage also features novel and beautiful physical movements in accordance with the performance methods of jingju. The experiences of previous practices mainly include: top-down design for modern-life play creation so as to ensure differences between plays of similar subjects and themes; using theme music throughout the play to shape characters' musical image; designing individualized singing style for characters; using vernacular and Beijing-dialect rhymed-speech for singing and speaking so as to remove communicative barriers; employing traditional Chinese and Western music. In addition,it also tells the stories of the common people,and creates new performing styles according to the aesthetic principles of traditional jingju conventions.

Keywords

Peking opera, modern-life plays, three stages, characteristics, artistic experience

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