Henan opera is commonly called "henan bangzi". The name, Henan opera, began to be used after the foundation of New China. Henan opera is popular among Henan, Hebei, Shandong, Shanxi, Hubei, Ningxia, Xinjing etc, which is one of the most influential operas in China.
Henan opera is commonly called "henan bangzi". [File photo: chinaculture.org]
Henan opera came up at the end of Ming Dynasty, the beginning of Qing Dynasty. At the beginning, it was mainly song arias without make-up, which was loved by the ordinary people. As a result, it developed rapidly. The origin of Henan opera was hard to trace, and the sayings about its origin were different.
After its foundation, Henan opera was divided into different brands. There are mainly four here: Xiangfu tune (around Kaifeng area), Yudong tune (around Shangqiu area), Yuxi tune (around Luoyang), and Shahe tune (around Luohe). The main divisions are Yudong tune and Yuxi tune. Yudong tune was always used to express comic style, and Yuxi tune was always used to express tragic style.
Henan opera is always companied by banhu, erhu, sanxian, pipa, dizi, sheng, and suona etc.
Henan opera's styles are: firstly, it is very passionate and good at acting big shows. Secondly, it is very natural, common and close to ordinary people's life. Last but not the least, the conflicts are sharp, and the stories are complete.
Before 1927, there were no actresses in Henan bangzi. After the actresses appeared, it formed 5 performing sects, including Chang Xiangyu, Chen Suzhen, Ma Jinfeng, Yan Lipin and Cui Lantian. Chang's is passionate and ardent; Chen's is light and fresh; Ma's is vigorous and bright; Cui's is deep and reserved; Yan's is smooth and delicate.
The traditional repertoires of Henan opera have more than 1000, among which mostly come from historical stories, and others depict marriage, love and morality. After the foundation of New China, it appeared a lot of modern operas that depict reality, which made the Henan opera promoted
Nowadays, Henan opera is still loved by common people, but there are lots of severe problems in its development. The numbers of audiences are reducing, and the survival of the troupes is harsh. The performing group's literature and art quality are far away from the needs of modern society, and they lack the control of theory in the development of Henan opera. Besides, the succession and reform are blind.