Huai Opera

Home Culture 2019-05-04

Huai Opera

Huai Opera, also known as Jianghuai Opera and Huai Opera, is an ancient local opera. It originated in Huai'an City, Jiangsu Province, and Lixia River, Yancheng City, and originated in modern Shanghai. It is now popular in Jiangsu Province, Shanghai and parts of Anhui Province.

In the mid-Qing Dynasty, in Huai'an Prefecture (now Yancheng and Huai'an City) and Yangzhou Prefecture, there was a popular rap form of "door interjection" developed from peasant chant and Tian Song "Luan tune" and "transplanting seedlings tune", which was called "two Kezi" by one singer or two pairs of singers, and festivals were struck only by bamboo boards. After the Huaiju Opera was performed in conjunction with the "incense-fire drama" of the folk reward gods in northern Jiangsu, and then influenced by Hui Opera and Peking Opera (called Huijiake), Huaiju Opera was gradually enriched in the aspects of singing, performing and repertoire, thus forming Huaiju Opera.

In June 2008, the Huaiju Opera Company of Shanghai and Yancheng City of Jiangsu Province declared that the Huaiju Opera was listed in the second batch of national intangible cultural heritage list with the approval of the State Council. In May 2011, Huai Opera jointly declared by Huai'an City and Taizhou City in Jiangsu Province was extended to the third batch of national intangible cultural heritage list with the approval of the State Council.

Historical evolution

Tracing to the Origin of Huaiju Opera-Song and Dance Totem

In Yanhuai area north of the Yangtze River, witchcraft has flourished since ancient times. Since the Ming and Qing Dynasties, there have been many folk cultural activities such as the Fragrant Fire Club, the Boat Head Club, the Mars Club and the Green Miao Club. People set up flower beds, Yangmen banners, drums and bells, singing and dancing, and held totem rituals of exorcising Naji and rewarding gods and offering sacrifices to ghosts.

Folk festivals or market towns in northern Jiangsu have folk performances such as folk songs and dances, flower drums, lion dances, kirins, dragon lanterns, Danghu boats and so on. For the purpose of sharing joy, entertaining the public and educating the people, some lantern fairs, temple fairs and God fairs have gradually been dressed up by caddies, singing stories and so on. The contents are mostly God books and exhortations, which can be regarded as the artistic soil of the budding Huai Opera.

Yanhuai area is a Jianghuai dialect area, belonging to the Northern Language Family. It is also influenced by Wu dialect and has no rolling tongue. Especially in Jianhu area, the pronunciation is pure, the four tones are distinct, the sharp and group characters are clear, and they have relative stability. It is said that "Zhongzhou Yun" is the linguistic basis of Huaihua Opera's Baidu pronunciation. Nuo in the Warring States Period, after a long period of evolution and refinement, has constantly enriched its content and eventually become an incense drama.

The period of incense play

The performances of incense drama mainly depend on the witchcraft activities of Daizi who make incense. They are often performed in rewarding gods, offering sacrifices, Xingji, temple fairs or festival activities. During the reign of Tianqi in Ming Dynasty, funerals in Yanhuai area had the custom of performing plays. In the first year of Hongzhi in Ming Dynasty (1488), there was a cadre named Huren in Xiaoyuan Zhuang, Jianhu County, Jiangsu Province, which was the first record of artists of incense-fire drama. During the reign of Kangxi in the Qing Dynasty, Heting Conference and Performing Theatre Ming Feng Ji was performed.

After the eleventh year of Qianlong (1764), the emperor made a tour to the south, and the salt imperial court of the Huaihe River and Huaihe River responded, "Save flowers and elegance as an example to prepare for the grand opera." In the genealogy of Lushi, Shanggang Shiqiaotou, Yancheng City, it is recorded as follows: "In the first year of Jiaqing (1796), Lushi Ninth Huanggong performed incense drama." This passage is the earliest historical record of Huai Opera performance so far.

The singing tune of Xianghuo Opera is formed by the convergence of the East and West tributaries. Xianghuo Tune, also known as Xiahe Tune, is sung in Yancheng, Funing and other Xiahe areas on the East road. It is evolved from the tune of Mentan Ci and the tune of Xianghuo Huidan, and its tone is rigid and soft. Qingjiang, Huaian, Baoying and other Shanghe areas on the West Road sing Huaihe Tune, also known as "Huaiyuanzi", which is developed from Tiange and Labor Chant and has a high and rough tone. There was no string accompaniment, only gongs, gongs, clappers and bamboo drums.

Tian Ge Era

Salt workers, boat workers, fishermen, peasants and handicraftsmen in Yanhuai area are used to singing, Hetian songs, Yangko, Niu songs and chants to encourage them when they work. Some folk songs and songs absorbed the dances of Huagu and Lianxiang, and formed local operas with rap as the main part. Employees are ordinary people, working in busy hours to cultivate fields, singing operas in leisure time, and offering sacrifices to the harvest on festivals, and so on. They participate in the performances of the divine meeting. Folk songs sung in the fields and alleys have been passed down orally for a long time, and constantly evolved and changed, forming a number of relatively fixed tunes, known as "door interjections".

According to historical records, around Jiaqing in Qing Dynasty, natural disasters and man-made disasters occurred frequently, and many people fled from famine in Yanhuai. The desperate Yanhuai refugees, in order to survive, eat and clothe, imitate the Sanban artists, beat with clouds and panels, sing folk songs and ditties along the door to beg for survival. They are historically known as "door interjections" or "door bullet words" and "door talk words". Perfume performers and interjection performers work together in groups, gathering time and dispersing time, performing "couplet play" and "three small plays" in the open air. When the door interjection was sung, it was also the time when Huiban performed prosperously. Affected by this, the simple opera of door interjection has also been constantly changing and innovating in its performance practice: in content, door interjection has gradually evolved from duankou ditty to folk opera with simple story plot; in form, door interjection has evolved from singing "free foot" to singing "shut book", setting up Dunzi and even small stage opera; in tune, the tune of door interjection is to use folk minor tunes.

Yanhuai Opera Period

In the first year of Tongzhi in the Qing Dynasty (around 1862), Yanhuai area formed a new kind of opera, Yanhuai Opera, also known as "Sankezi", based on the art form of "door interjection". There are different legends about the origin of "Sankezi". It is believed that "Sankezi" is "river". Because the drama originated in Shanghe, Lihe and Xihe areas, the artists'jargon at that time was commonly called "Sankezi".

The singing tune of Yanhuai Opera is a combination of East Road and West Road. Yancheng, Funing and other Xiahe areas on the East Road mainly sing Xiahe Diao, depending on Qiao Diao and Nanchang Diao. The tones of Huai'an, Huaiyin, Baoying Shanghe and Lihe areas on the West Road are composed mainly of Huai'an avalanche, and the tones are high and exciting. The accompaniment at that time consisted of gongs, gongs, sounding boards and bamboo drums. There was no string music yet. Yanhuai Xiaoju mainly sings a family-by-household wish opera and wins the applause of the villagers with its local tone.

The period of emblem clip

The birth of Yanhuai Opera coincides with the prosperity of Huiban in this area. During the three years of Tongzhi (1864), Hui Opera and Yanhuai Opera were invited to perform together for the sake of giving consideration to the appreciation of all classes. Historically, they were called "Huijiake". With Huiban artists turning to Yanhuai small theatre troupe one after another, the two kinds of operas are nurtured by the same class, compatible with each other and performing on the same stage. In this way, no matter the repertoire, tune or performance program, Yanhuai Opera has greatly benefited from Hui Opera.

Yanhuai Opera absorbs Huiban art and constantly improves and grows. Business from the original "three small" (Xiaosheng, Xiaodan, clown), to "Sheng, Dan, Jing, Ugly" and other acts. From singing without doing, to absorbing Huiban performance program, the performance began to pay attention to "one lead, two white, three laughter, four crying, scale pattern". It also absorbs the martial arts of Hui Opera, merges with the original martial arts and acrobatics of Xianghuo Opera, and produces repertoires and actors who are good at martial arts. Yan Dacang, Yan Ercang and others developed Hui Opera into a common tune of quasi-opera according to the structural requirements of Nanchang Tune sung by Dazi. The drummer introduced Huigang Gong and drum scriptures in succession, enriching the scene accompaniment of incense drama. After Peking Opera replaced Hui Opera, incense-fire Opera was on the same stage with Peking Opera, so-called "skin (yellow) clip", which was influenced by Peking Opera in art. By the beginning of the 20th century, incense troupes had spread all over Yanhuai countryside.

Jiangbei Opera Period

After the first year of the Republic of China (1912), Xianghuo Opera began to descend to the south. Huai opera artists He Kong De, He Kong Biao and Chen Da brought Huai Opera to Shanghai for singing. They also performed along the Shanghai-Nanjing Line and around Hangzhou-Jiahu Lake successively, called "Jianghuai Opera" or "Jiangbei Opera". In 16 years of the Republic of China, in Shanghai, Xie Changyu cooperated with pianist Dai Baoyu to create a new tune on the basis of Hu Dahai, drawing lessons from the method of pulling strings and supporting tunes in Peking Opera. At first, Dai Baoyu used four Hu accompaniment, and then changed to Erhu. It was the beginning of the accompaniment of stringed instruments in Huai Opera, so it was called "pull tune".

In the twenty-first year of the Republic of China (1932), Yang Jinhua, who often played in the Yanhuai area, transformed Huaihuai Juanzi to keep both the elegant and rough style of the West Road and the soft Lyric charm of the East Road, which was called "soft Huaihuai Juan" by the masses. In the twenty-eighth year of the Republic of China (1939), Xiao Wenyan and He Xiaotian performed Marriage of the Seventh Generation at Gaosheng Grand Theatre in Shanghai, and Gao Xiaomao, a pianist, created a free tune on the basis of the pull tune, which greatly enhanced the expressive force of Huai Opera. Later, He Xiaotian created the tune of "serial sentences", which further enriched the "free tune". So far, the pattern of the three main tones of Huaiju Opera has been established.

In the early days of the Anti-Japanese War, most of the towns in Yanhuai were occupied, theatre troupes returned to the countryside from the cities, and most of the troupes were disbanded.

In the early 1940s, Yanfu area became the anti-Japanese Democratic base under the leadership of the Communist Party of China. Many Huaixi opera artists also took an active part in the anti-Japanese propaganda and performance. Huaixi opera became an important means of propaganda and anti-Japanese.

In the thirty-first year of the Republic of China (1942), Fanyi, Fang Xiao, Changhong and Xuefei of the Northern Jiangsu Cultural and Works Group formed the Huaixi Opera Research Group. In October, the New Fourth Army Military Department helped Funing County set up the Stopping Wings Township Literature and Works Corps, which has produced more than 40 modern Huaixi Opera. After Mao Zedong's Speech at the Yan'an Literature and Art Symposium, nine county cultural troupes were set up in Yanfu area, each with Huaixi Opera Groups (teams), together with amateur theatre troupes in various townships, and more than 600 self-compiled modern Huaixi Opera troupes were staged.

In September 1944, the Propaganda Department of the Party Committee of Yanfu District of the Communist Party of China held a two-month training course for cultural and industrial groups in various counties. Playwright A Ying and Vice Minister Wang Langxi of the Propaganda Department of Yancheng Prefecture Committee gave lectures to the students on many occasions. Yanfu Mass Daily opened a column on "Cultural Entertainment" and published Huai drama books and singing materials. During this period, besides writing scripts and singing materials, the new literary and artistic workers also contributed to the development of Huaixi Opera singing. If Zhang Mei is adapted for the two dramas "Photo Reduction Is Not Mistaken" and "Fishing Riverside", , [New La Diao], , it is sung by Xuefei.

In the 34 years of the Republic of China (1945), Xuefei sang Liu Guiying is a big safflower. The tune was also adapted on the basis of La Diao. It was called "Da Hong Diao" (i.e. [Huaibei Diao]. It has become a common melody in Huaiju Opera.

Huai opera period

After the founding of the People's Republic of China, the title of Huaiju Opera was formally adopted in 1953. The Shanghai People's Huaiju Opera Troupe (the predecessor of the Shanghai Huaiju Opera Troupe) was established in May 1953 and the Jiangsu Huaiju Opera Troupe was established in Nanjing in November 1956.

Under the leadership of Xiao Wenyan and He Jiaotian, once there was a new drama in Shanghai, Huaiju Opera groups in northern Jiangsu put on public performance immediately, which made Shanghai play the leading role of Huaiju Opera. From the early liberation to the Cultural Revolution, Huaiju Opera, a local opera, entered a period of great prosperity.

In 1951, the Huai Guang Huai Opera Troupe was merged with the Lintong Opera Troupe headed by Ma Lintong and the Friendship Opera Troupe headed by Tian and Xiao Wenyan. The birth of Huai Guang Huai Opera Troupe ended the appellation of Huai Opera from Jiangbei Opera to Jianghuai Opera when it entered Shanghai. Huai Opera has its own name since then. In 1953, it was officially named "Huai Opera" by the state.

From the early 1950s to the "Cultural Revolution", the script system, director system and dance design of Huaiju Opera gradually replaced the curtain system and "one table, two chairs".

During the "Cultural Revolution", most Huai Opera Troupes were forced to disband and suffered heavy losses.

In 1976, after the crushing of the Jiangqing Anti-Revolutionary Group, Huaiju opera workers immediately devoted themselves to new creation. After 1979, many Huai Opera Troupes resumed their organizational structure. In addition to restoring the traditional repertoire, the creation of modern operas has made corresponding achievements.

In June 2008, the Huaiju Opera Company of Shanghai and Yancheng City of Jiangsu Province declared that the Huaiju Opera was included in the second batch of national intangible cultural heritage list. In May 2011, Huai Opera jointly declared by Huai'an City and Taizhou City in Jiangsu Province was extended to the third batch of national intangible cultural heritage list with the approval of the State Council.

Inheritance status

Huaiju Museum is located in the northeast corner of Julong Lake, Yancheng City. It was officially opened to the public on June 11, 2011. It is a quadrangle with Ming and Qing Dynasties style. It covers an area of 2600 square meters and a building area of 1600 square meters.

Huaiju Museum is a special museum which integrates exhibition, heritage and performance. It is divided into four exhibition halls: historical evolution, artistic common sense, famous works and cultural phenomena. The development process and artistic achievements of Huaiju Opera are displayed through the precious collections of original scripts, classical dramas, audio-visual materials, stage models and costume props.

As of May 2018, the representative inheritors of the national intangible cultural heritage of Huaiju Opera are Xiao Wenyan, Ma Xiuying, Zhang Yunliang, Wu Xiaofeng, Shi Yuee, Xiaoping of descent, Cheng Shaoliang, He Shuanglin, Chen Delin, Liang Weiping, Ronghui, etc.

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