It’s peony season and boy, does Instagram know it. It seems, however, that China didn’t wait for sponsored fashion influencers and social media to celebrate floral beauty. They’ve been singing about botany in their famous Chinese operas for thousands of years.
The Chinese costumed opera, dates back to the 3rd century CE. Although it can, at times, sound unusual to western ears accustomed to bippity boppity pop songs, Chinese opera is really rather beautiful, the costumes and head pieces are stunning and the voice traditions are impressive.
Today, Chinese opera is rarely publicly staged, and even more rarely listened to, except for in official opera houses, whereas early forms of Chinese opera were often simple theater productions. They took on a whole new dimension during China’s cultural revolution with ‘Hollywoodesque’ adaptations of Chinese opera targeted to the masses to promote proletarian ideology .
More than thirty forms of Chinese opera continue to be performed today including: Romance Of The Three Kingdoms, The Peony Pavilion and the Peach Blossom Fan.
The Peony Pavillon:
Peach Blossom Fan:
And it’s not just about the music, the costumes are as important to the opera as the stories themselves. Exaggerated paints are used on the performers’ faces to express their emotions and each color has a different meaning, symbolizing a character’s role, fate and emotional state (if only we had this in politics!). Green represents impulsive behavior, red means bravery, black represents boldness, pink is sophistication and yellow ambition.
So teleport your mind to China and snooze under the blossom trees, with the best Chinese opera music on Deezer. Who would’ve thought traveling could be so cheap.