Taining Meilin Opera

Home Culture 2019-06-18

Taining Meilin Opera

Taining Meilin Opera, a local traditional drama in Taining County, Fujian Province, is one of the national intangible cultural heritage.

During the reign of Qianjia in Qing Dynasty, after Hui Diao was introduced into Taining through Zhejiang and Jiangxi, it merged with local dialect, folk song minor and Taoist music to form Taining Meilin Opera with local characteristics, which was popular in Taining, Jiangyue, Shunchang, Shaowu and Guangze. Taining Meilin Opera Bai uses local mandarin, and its singing tones are mainly random play, Xipi and Xiajiang.

On May 20, 2006, Taining Meilin Opera was approved by the State Council to be included in the first batch of national intangible cultural heritage directories, numbered IV-32.

historical origin

Meilin Opera in Taining was singing in the local dialect in its early stage, so it was called "local opera". It originated from Hui Opera, similar to Gan Opera, combined with local characteristics, through absorbing local language, folk tunes and Taoist music, gradually formed a unique type of local drama. It is named for its origin in Meilin Village, Zhukou Town, Taining County.

During the Ming and Qing Dynasties, Chinese opera has entered a prosperous period, whether in the metropolis or remote small mountain villages, there are a wide range of opera performances. During the Ming Dynasty, Meilin villagers in Taining invited Huiban to perform in the village whenever major events occurred. Because the villagers love opera, they usually perform some singing activities mainly with Tao and Tu tunes. The early villagers'self-entertaining "Taoist tune" singing activities were very simple, as long as there were gongs and drums accompanied. The Hui Opera took root in Taining and merged with the local folk song minor and Taoist music to form a unique opera, which began in the Qianlong period of the Qing Dynasty.

At the end of Qianlong period, Zhou raised funds to buy land, Sugong and Beijing Hu. He recruited Huizhou class artists as teachers. He also actively encouraged villagers to learn operas and set up Mei Forestry after-theatre troupes. Every time we go to the village to meet the gods, or to celebrate New Year's Day, or to celebrate our wedding anniversary, the theatre troupe tours in the village's eighteen halls. Under the influence of Meilin Village Opera Troupe, amateur theatre troupes have sprung up in Dabu, Shanxi, Shuangping, Xiaqui, Dahu, Ninglu and Zhukou, other places, ShihaoNet, Shangqing, Yongxing and Changping, Jiangle County. Henceforth, Hui Opera took root in the area of Merlin. In the process of spreading, Hui Diao continuously absorbed local ballad tunes and folk art, and gradually formed Merlin Opera with local color. Amateur theatres around Meilin Village, artists are also agriculturalists, busy farming, leisure acting, known as "Four Seasons Class" or "Agricultural Leisure Class".

During the Qing Guangxu period, Wu Sheng, a native of Anren Township in Lexian County, and Ai Qiyan, a native of Meilin Village in Zhukou, Taining, were the class masters, and the first professional theatre of Meilin Opera "Fuqing Class" was funded.

In the thirteenth year of the Republic of China (1924 A.D.), Ai Huoxian, a famous member of the former "Fuqing Class", set up a professional theatre "Huoxian Class" of Merlin Opera in Zhukou Township. In 1938, class owner Ai Huoxian stopped playing with lung disease, and the "Huoxian Class" was disintegrated. In 1940, the "Fuqing Class" could not be maintained and disbanded.

In February 1950, Taining was liberated and its administrative division was subordinated to the Office of the Administrative Inspector of the Second District of Fujian Province (later renamed Nanping Special Zone). Since the founding of New China, Vientiane has been renewed. Guided by the literary and artistic principles of "literature and art serve the people, socialism" and "letting a hundred flowers blossom and a hundred schools of thought contend", various forms of amateur literary and artistic activities among the people have been revived due to the cultivation and support of governments at all levels. The artists in every village of Taining have also set up amateur theatre troupes of Merlin Opera to carry out activities and activate the cultural life in the countryside.

On April 1, 1960, "Meilin Theatre Troupe of Taining County" was formally established in He Jiaping, Chengguan.

In the summer of 1961, recommended by the county education department, the troupe recruited seven students from the Graduates of No. 1 Middle School in Taining. At that time, after three consecutive enrollments, the troupe was basically equipped with personnel from all walks of life.

In 1964, dramatic reforms were carried out throughout the country. The Merlin Theatre Troupe is also active in promoting the performance of modern drama. At that time, when the Taining County Yue Opera Troupe was abolished and some of its performers transferred to the Merlin Opera Troupe, the whole troupe had more than 40 performers, initially forming a relatively complete scale of professional troupes.

In March 1970, Taining County established the "Mao Zedong Thought Literature and Art Propaganda Team". Wang Fu is the instructor of Wenxuan Team and Su Qingpei is the captain. Some of the cast members of the disintegrated Merlin Theatre Troupe joined the propaganda team. The county organizes opera creators to create modern operas. In June, Taining County was placed under the jurisdiction of Sanming District. In May 1972, Wu Shunsheng served as the instructor of Wenxuan Team. Zhou Meiwen was the vice-captain of Wenxuan Team. In November 1975, Cai Chengyu served as the instructor of the Wenxuan Team. In this period, modern drama was basically created. In the repertoire created, many of them still use the singing tone of Merlin Opera, retaining the characteristics of Merlin Opera.

In the summer of 1979, the "Taining County Mao Zedong Thought Literature and Art Propaganda Team" was renamed "Taining County Literature and Art Propaganda Team". Cai Chengyu continued to be the instructor of the Literature and Art Corps. Su Qingpei was the leader and Wang Wei was the deputy leader. In accordance with the approval of the "Request Report for Primary School Members Recruited by the County Literature and Art Propaganda Team of Taining County" on May 6 (No. 038 of the Taining Committee of the CPC), a group of new students, Qian It has added new forces. The troupe mainly performed Merlin Opera and began to perform costume operas.

In July 1980, the "Taining County Literary Works Troupe" was renamed "Taining County Merlin Theatre Troupe" and the system of Merlin Theatre Troupe was restored. The former Merlin Theatre Troupe basically returned. In order to restore the traditional performances of Meilin Opera as soon as possible and improve the performers'level in time, from 1980 to 1982, the troupe sent students to the provincial art school to study director and composer specialty, and to the Pucheng Gan Opera Troupe and Nanping Nanci Experimental Theatre Troupe in Jianyang.

Cultural characteristics

Music for voices in a Chinese Opera

Meilin Opera has a beautiful and moving singing tune, which is mainly composed of pihuang, plucked and blown tunes. In addition, there are Southern Ci, Northern Ci, string rope, Huizhou Ci, Zhejiang Ci, Siping Diao, Qingban, minor and so on.

Clothes & Accessories

In the early stage of Meilin Opera, the costumes were simple, and the ears on the palace shawls were improved by using hemp strips. Python robes, tufts on palace clothes and horn patterns are very simple. Small clothes and pants, dressing and trousers are made of earth cloth. Some costumes purchased in the later period are basically similar to those of Gan Opera and Peking Opera.


Merlin's opera is well-organized, with matching roles, strict and distinct opera program, simple, rugged and rigorous artistic style, as well as scientific intermediary actions similar to ancient "entertainment gods" and string puppets, which have local characteristics.

Traditional acrobatics

There are many traditional special effects in Merlin Opera, such as "playing tusks", "changing skirts from leaves to fire", "changing faces", "playing forks", "walking zombies" and "getting off the platform". There are "five doors and seventeen lines".

Accompanied instruments

Accompaniment instruments can be divided into two categories: Wenyue and Wuyue. Wenyue includes Beijing Hu, Erhu, Sanxian, Yueqin, Pipa, Yangqin, Suona, Bamboo Flute and so on. Wuyue includes big drums, big flat drums, Beijing gongs, small gongs and cymbals.

Representational repertoire

Merlin Opera has more than 330 traditional repertoires, more than 130 scripts have been collected and recorded. The better traditional repertoires which have been put on show include "Flying Dragon Belt", "Blue Belt", "Mandarin Duck Belt", "Male and Female Whips" and more than 30 others.

Inheritance and Protection

Inheritance value

Meilin Opera originated from Hui Opera. It is undoubtedly a rare material material for Meilin Opera, which still preserves the artistic characteristics of Hui Opera, to study Hui Opera, to trace back its original form and to explore the history of Chinese drama.

Current situation of inheritance

Today, with the rapid development of society, Merlin Opera is in a predicament of survival. Although the troupe is still on tour in the countryside, its appearance fee is too low and its economic situation is very tense. It is always in danger of dissolution of the troupe and the extinction of its genres.

Heritage figures

Li Xiuzhen, male, born in September 1946. In February 2008, Li Xiuzhen was selected as the representative successor of the second batch of national intangible cultural heritage projects and declared in Taining County, Fujian Province. Project name: Taining Meilin Opera.

protective measures

Taining County attaches great importance to the work of inheritance and protection of Meilin Opera, adheres to the working ideas of protection, utilization and inheritance and development, establishes a special work organization of Meilin Opera and lists it as a financial appropriation institution, implements the training plan of inheritance talents, and jointly organizes a five-year "Meilin Opera Art Inheritance Class" with Sanming Branch of Fujian Vocational Arts College in 2015 to train successive talents. Following the traditional expression of Merlin Opera, Merlin Opera has innovatively developed a number of excellent plays, such as Degradation of Officials, Back Catching Up, Mrs. Hua Rui and Western Typhoon Cloud, which have won many honors from the state and provinces and municipalities. We insist on Huimin's propaganda and performance, and make more than 100 trips to the grass-roots level and abroad every year. Especially in order to promote the excellent culture of the Chinese nation, we organize Merlin Opera to go abroad to carry out cultural exchanges and perform in Japan, Korea and other places.

social influence

Important performances

In December 2016, the "Art of Fresh Fujian Life" Tourist Promotion Fair was held in Tokyo, Japan and Seoul, Korea. The performers of the Meilin Opera Art Heritage and Protection Center in Taining County presented Meilin Opera performances to Japanese and Korean audiences. This is the first time that Taining Meilin Opera has performed abroad.

On December 12, 2017, local time, a delegation from the Meilin Opera Art Heritage and Protection Center in Taining, Fujian Province, visited Hobart, a sister state in Fujian Province, a friendly city in Tasmania, Australia, and Fuzhou, respectively, with Warwick Clark, director of the Department of Trade and International Relations of the Ministry of Economic Development of the Tazhou Government, and officials of the Tazhou Government and Fujian Township in Australia. Rebecca Hua, Secretary-General of Friendship Tazhou Branch, Ron Christie, Vice Mayor of Hobart and Chairman of the Committee on Marketing and International Relations, held a symposium and held a two-day international cultural and artistic exchange.

Honorary recognition

In November 2018, the Meilin Opera Painting Net Towel created by the Meilin Opera Art Heritage and Protection Center of Taining participated in the 7th Fujian Art Festival and the 27th Fujian Drama Festival on behalf of Sanming City.

Cultural anecdotes

It is said that in the middle of the Qing Dynasty, there was a widow named Zhou in Meilin Village, Zhukou, Taining. She was well-off. One year, she had her birthday. She invited Huiban from Zhejiang to come home to celebrate her birthday for several days. Later, in order to see the opera frequently, Zhou hired Huiban artists to pass on art for his children. Since then, Merlin villagers have a great pleasure in learning drama. Whenever their children learn to play and perform, their relatives and friends give gifts and congratulations. In Merlin and the surrounding countryside, everyone sings a few "local operas". At that time, there was a folk song: "Eighteen Squares of Merlin, ten disciples, nine-liter boxes, tinkling drums, tunes, caves in Maotan, central section, stage and sky light". From generation to generation.