Wu Opera

Author: Dustin Van Sloten

The Jinhua Homestay Program participants were given a special performance by the Zhejiang Wu Opera Troupe. The participants viewed seven different performances by the troupe. All were spectacular. Before arriving in China, I had never heard of Wu Opera. However, in the few weeks that I have been here, I have learned many things about this great art.

Wu opera actress. Source: Riccardo Giorgini

Wu Opera has a history spanning more than four centuries. It originated in Wuzhou, now Jinhua, in eastern China’s Zhejiang Province. It is popular in the catchment of Jinhua district, which is why locals call it Jinhua Opera.  Wu Opera is a hybrid of six singing styles from different traditional genres:  gaoqiangkunqiangluantanhuixitanhuang and shidiao.

Martial arts are often included in Chinese Opera. Source: Riccardo Giorgini

These performers are full of glitz and glamor with their delicate make-up, extravagant costumes, elaborate sets, and well-choreographed performances. These performers also display amazing agility with their acrobatics, and their intense facial expressions really capture the audience.

Dragon Dance. Source: Riccardo Giorgini

Two of my favorite performances were the Dragon Dance and the Sedan Chair. The performers in the Dragon Dance were amazing. The timing and synchronous movements of this performance had me jumping out of my seat. The Sedan Chair performance was an entertaining and artistic way to tell a beautiful story. I really enjoyed all the performances and I would recommend anyone visiting Jinhua to check them out.

Experiences

Throughout my life, I have watched various art performances from Europe, Asia, America and even from my home continent, Africa. Most of the performances I have ever seen is a musical, drama or comedy. And among all, the Wu Opera from Zhejiang Province in China was one of the best performance in my opinion. I have only watched it on television but not live performance. But I was glad we had the chance to watch it with the best performers on stage. It was just so beautiful and attractive that I could not get enough of it.

The beauty of Wu Opera is based on the various popular stories in the past that provide the current young generation the knowledge on how the past generations lived. The best story I saw was the performance named “Broken Bridge” where it is a classic Chinese love story of characters Xu xian and Lady White Snake.

Not only does Wu Opera provides entertainment, it also teaches us the Chinese language and culture. Through Wu Opera, I feel really interested to learn more about the language and culture as I find it beautiful and not too difficult to learn.
– Nassor, Tanzania

I was entralled by the performances of artists and the voice of the artists just left me amazed. I learn Indian classical music so i was just able to connect myself in some or the other way with the artists and their performances. I would definitely love to learn this piece of art in my near future.
– Gauri, India