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Traditional Peking Opera

Chinese opera has a history dating some 2,000 years. There are 317 types of opera, of which Peking opera is the most important and popular.The master of the Peking Opera must be in top physical shape to deal with the strain that goes with this performing art. Most performers begin their training from childhood.

Performers wear extensive amounts of makeup; their whole faces is painted in bright colours. Colourful masks, inspired from ancient ceremonies and religious symbols, are made by the actors. The colour of each character's face is significant as it represents the character's personality and fate. Understanding the colours will greatly enhance your enjoyment of the opera as it is an intricate part of the story. Red faces represent righteousness; black represents gallantry and heroism; blue and green symbolises brawn or those held in high regard by commoners; yellow and white are negative colours, often meaning cunning or a tendency to be suspicious; gold shows deity and silver is reserved for demons or bad spirits. The make-up style indicates if a character is good or evil. The four roles in the Peking Opera are Sheng, Dan, Jing and Chou.