Zhangjiajie Yangxi Opera

Home Culture 2019-07-16

Zhangjiajie Yangxi Opera

Zhangjiajie Yangxi Opera, a local traditional drama in Yongding District, Zhangjiajie City, Hunan Province, is one of the national intangible cultural heritage.

Zhangjiajie Yangxi Opera originated in the middle of Qing Dynasty and has a history of more than 300 years. It belongs to Beilu Yangxi Opera. The singing feature is the singing method of "golden thread hanging gourd". That is, the combination of true and false voices in singing, the use of true voice in lyrics, and the use of false voice in dragging tones to turn up eight degrees.

On May 23, 2011, Zhangjiajieyang Opera was approved by the State Council of the People's Republic of China to be listed in the third batch of national intangible cultural heritage, numbered IV-157.

historical origin


Zhangjiajie Yang Opera originated from the late Ming and early Qing Dynasty. The long history of Bachu culture, art and colorful folk music, songs and dances, as well as the rich minority culture in Hunan, Hubei, Chongqing and Guizhou border areas, provided favorable conditions for the formation and development of Zhangjiajie Yang Opera. Zhangjiajie Yangxi Opera originated in the thirteenth capital of Yongding, which is now in the rhino pool area of Yazhen, the Godson of Yongding District, Zhangjiajie City. At that time, it did not form a kind of opera, but a folk grass-stage opera, that is, a combination of folk music. In the process of continuous development, Zhangjiajieyang Opera has gradually formed a relatively complete theatrical system, with a relatively fixed singing tone, a guide board with passion, grief and anger, a leading voice, a main palace with long appeals for lyrics, a joyful and relaxed tune, funny and humorous tune of money and more than ten kinds. There are two ways to get the name of Yangxi opera: one is a kind of "Yangchun" performances by people (referring to peasants), called "Yangxi"; the other is because the same class performances of Nuo opera and Yangxi opera are performed for entertaining ghosts and gods, known as "Yin opera". Yangxi opera obviously also has the performance of rewarding gods for Nuo vows, but in the front of the courtyard, Yangxi opera is mainly entertaining people. It is called "Yang Opera". At first, Nuo Opera was performed by villagers to exorcise ghosts and to pray for Naji, with sacred ceremony of inviting gods and drama story performances after the ceremony. Later, it became more and more popular. The purpose of praying for gods and entertaining gods gradually weakened, and the function of entertaining people gradually strengthened, and unconsciously weakened the color of religious superstition. Yang Opera evolved and stood out in the deduction of Nuo rites, Nuo sacrifices, Nuo operas and even folk songs. By the middle of the Qing Dynasty, it had matured, and at the end of the Qing Dynasty, there were all kinds of scandals. Musical singing, performing procedures, makeup and props had reached the needs of drama elements.

The reign of Kangxi in Qing Dynasty

The gestation and formation of Yang Opera. The founders of Dayong Tujia Yang Opera are Tan Yulong and Tan Yufeng brothers. Legend has it that the Tan brothers liked to sing lanterns and went out to pick salt in Kangxi. The two brothers often used to sing lanterns to relieve their fatigue on the way of picking salt. Passers-by loved to hear them and asked what tune they sang. Answer: Yang Opera, too! Since then, there has been Yang Opera, whose main inheritors are Qian Kai-zhi, Qian Bi-zhi and so on. The main way of inheritance is oral and heart-to-heart teaching.

From the Middle and Late Qing Dynasty to the 1920s

The independent development and maturity of Yangxi Opera. The father of Tan Baoyuan (whose name is not known and the date of his death is unknown) is a famous star in Yangxi Opera. He is also a part-time worker and a scandal. He is the main heir of the fourth generation of Yangxi Opera and the second master of Tanjiatangzi Opera. In the first year of the Republic of China (1912), he led the class to Sangzhi and Longshan in Hunan Province, and performed in Hefeng, Xianfeng and Laifeng in Hubei Province for four or five years, which influenced the Tujia nationality areas in Hunan, Hubei Province and played a great role in promoting the development of Yangxi Opera.

1930s to present

The period of perfection and prosperity of Yang Opera. Du Congshan (1853-1931), the youngest nephew of Chen's family, is an important successor of the fifth generation of Yangxi Opera. He is also a leading figure in the period of perfection and prosperity of Yangxi Opera. His descendants call him "a generation of Yangxi master". He borrowed percussion music from Han opera and integrated local lantern, silk string opera, Nuo vocal tune and folk music into Yangxi opera. By adopting the singing method of combining true and false voices, Yangxi opera initially formed its unique singing style of "golden thread hanging gourd". The inheritance pedigree of Yang Opera tends to be perfect from the other.

Cultural characteristics

Music for voices in a Chinese Opera

The lyrics of Zhangjiajie Yangxi Opera are mainly composed of Zhangjiajie dialect, which is characterized by clear flat tones, more rhymes of Erhua, and five tones of Yinping, Yangping, Shang, Go and Jin. The singing tune of Yangxi Opera belongs to the folk song structure, which mainly has eighteen tunes, including the main tunes and minor tunes. The main tune is Zhenggong tune, and there are clam fishing, money tune, clown tune, Yin tune, mercy tune, Beihe tune and so on. Men and women are indiscriminate, and they have formed plate changes such as guide board, rolling board, loose board, shouting, mourning son, first-class, second-class, third-class and running water, which are characterized by the combination of true and false voices. The singing methods of minors mostly retain the characteristics of the original folk songs, commonly used are male Mozi song, female Mozi song, moss song, incense lantern tune, etc. Liangshan tune, Guanhua tune, fortune-telling tune, guessing tune, ten dozen, singing the ancients, twenty-eight nights, Da-si-ping-san-liu, etc.

Positive adjustment

The main features of the tuning are as follows:

The first is the change of the pattern of Zhenggong Diao. The first class of Zhenggong is a single sentence pattern of cross sentence or seven-character sentence, and a lyric is divided into two chamber sentences. The second and third class of Zhenggong are clasp sentences or seven-character sentences of cross sentence.

The second is the end of the word "transliteration". For the need of false-voice singing, no matter in any rhyme of the lyrics, the end of the words and sentences must be changed to the "hair rut" of straight-throated rhyme by adding interjections such as "ah", "ah", "ah".

The third is the combination of true and false voices of "Golden Thread Hanging Gourd". Its voice can be divided into two categories: "clip" and "narrow throat". "Golden thread hanging gourd" is the key to distinguishing Zhangjiajie Yangju from other local Yangju operas. It is evolved from folk folk songs. It is a unique tune of Tujia people that integrates folk songs with local operas. Its voice is very penetrating. It combines true and false voices in singing, uses real voice in lyrics and false voice in dragging tones. High octave is unique in Chinese drama.


Yang Opera is mainly composed of three minor operas (Xiaosheng Xiaodan Clowns). The themes of the performance are mostly those reflecting rural life and family ethics and morality: parents are short, conduct themselves in the world, do good and accumulate virtue, punish evil and promote good and other ideological propaganda. Its social influence of legal education and moral education is immeasurable, full of strong life and local flavor.

Representational repertoire

There are more than 100 traditional operas in Zhangjiajie Yang Opera, including Peach Blossom Dressed Mad, White Luo Skirt, Hill-splitting and Mother-saving, Life and Death Card, etc. New ancient costume drama "Peach Blossom Dressing Madness", silk string drama "Qiujiang", Nuoyuan drama "Viewing Flowers" and the creation of a new drama "On the Blast Furnace Red Flag Flying" and so on.

major schools

According to the different artistic styles, Yangxi opera can be divided into two art schools: North Road and South Road. Historically, Nanluyang Opera was popular in Jishou, Luxi, Phoenix, Mayang, Huaihua, Zhijiang, Qianyang, Huitong, Xinhuang, Xupu, Songtao, Tongren, Yuping, Tianzhu, Jinping, Liping County and City, and Beiluyang Opera was popular in Yuanling, Guzhang, Yongshun, Dayong, Sangzhi, Longshan, Baojing, Huayuan and Guizhou. Hefeng and Laifeng in Hubei, Youyang and Xiushan in Chongqing, etc. Yang Opera has also been named by the county, according to the popular name of the county and city, known as Dayongyang Opera, Jishouyang Opera, Phoenix Opera, Yuanling Opera, Huaihua Opera, Qianyang Opera and so on.

Inheritance and Protection

Inheritance value

Zhangjiajie Yangxi Opera carries the cultural gene of Tujia nationality and embodies the wisdom and unique aesthetic interest of people in the region to adapt to nature and optimistic life. By appreciating and understanding Yang Drama, we can appreciate the essence of local folk culture and grasp the local context. The study of Yang Opera will not only play an important role in the study of cultural history, customs, hobbies, production and life, as well as political, economic and social changes in Zhangjiajie and Western Hunan, but also have a great influence on the future practice of drama, opera, national music creation, scientific research, performance and teaching. At the same time, it is of great significance to the development of tourism in Zhangjiajie.

Current situation of inheritance

Changjiajie Yangxi Opera is in danger of extinction because of social changes. For example, some famous Yangxi Opera masters, such as Ding Zuxue, who is known as "Mei Lanfang of Western Hunan", are on the verge of losing their excellent plays and beautiful singing tunes, and their artistic inheritance is scarce.

Yangxi Opera was once the proud local culture of Zhangjiajie, and also the favorite local traditional opera of Zhangjiajie people. For a long time, this euphemistic singing, jumping drums, melodious melody and dancing sleeves brought too much comfort and joy to Zhangjiajie people and sent away countless smiling lights of Zhangjiajie people. There is an allegorical saying in Zhangjiajie: "Knock on an empty bowl and sing Yangxi - Poor and Happy". It can be seen that Yangxi is deeply rooted in the marrow of Tujia people's cultural life, and its position in the minds of the people is irreplaceable. Although the shadow of Yang Opera is often seen in the streets and alleys of Zhangjiajie nowadays, the audience is no longer a bustling crowd. Only the old people who listen to Zhangjiajie Yang Opera grow up there. Zhangjiajie Yangxi Opera is now in a state of endangerment, followed by a lack of people, the ecological environment has been unprecedented damage. Firstly, there are no performing venues. The ancient stage used for performing has basically been abandoned and lost its original function. Although these ancient stage are listed in the list of key cultural relics protection units at the national, provincial and municipal levels, most of them are in a dilapidated state and need to be protected urgently. Many theatres in Zhangjiajie City have changed their faces. The auditoriums and theatres in towns and villages are old and dilapidated. There are hardly any venues to provide performances. They are all temporary stage singing. Hardware facilities have been lost.

The older generation of Yang opera performers have already resigned from the stage. Many old artists have died one after another. The brain drain of young and middle-aged talents is heavy. Nowadays, young people are not interested in this traditional art. Even some people who like it are reluctant to be the inheritors of Yangxi Opera because they have no reliable life guarantee in this art inheritance work. Now even the Yangxi Opera Troupe, once known as "the first group of Zhangjiajie", is facing disintegration. There are serious problems in the warm and saturated survival of Yangxi opera people. There is no necessary investment in artistic creation and production, and Yangxi Opera is in a predicament of self-survival and self-extinction. Ding Zuxue, an old artist with the reputation of "Mei Lanfang in Western Hunan", and a group of famous artists such as Li Yinguo, Zheng Juzhuang, Julien, Wu Sanyang, Tian Guiming, all have excellent skills, excellent singing and performance. There are no suitable inheritors, and they will be on the verge of losing their inheritance.

Heritage figures

Julie Jean, female, Tujia nationality. On February 15, 2008, Zhu Lizhen was selected as the representative successor of the fifth batch of national intangible cultural heritage projects and declared in Yongding District, Zhangjiajie City, Hunan Province. Project name: Zhangjiajieyang Opera.

protective measures

In recent years, the Zhangjiajie government has taken a series of important measures, such as holding Zhangjiajie International Country Music Week, integrating drama and folk songs, vigorously promoting Nationalized Tourism resources, tapping personalized cultural tourism resources, and focusing on sorting out and launching Tujia cultural products such as Zhangjiajie Yangju Opera, Zhangjiajie Qigong and Sangzhi Folk Songs. The intangible cultural heritage of Zhangjiajie, represented by local drama and music art, has become a tourism resource to be developed.

social influence

Important performances

In the Spring Festival of 2014, Wulingyuan launched the activity of "Spring Festival Yang Opera going to the countryside". Since the beginning of January, the local Yang Opera Troupe has performed 12 performances in the district government courtyard, Baofeng Road, Yujiazui, Wujiayu and other communities, and received more than 3000 audiences. The performances included traditional Yang opera programs such as "Yang Jia Jiang", "Xue Rengui", "Baolian Lantern", "Four Down Henan", "Chen Shimei's Denial of Ex-wife", "Three Girls'Salute to Life" and modern opera programs such as "Family and All Things Rising" to promote respect for the elderly and love the young, family planning and corruption.

On February 15, 2019, on Yongding District Government Plaza, gongs, drums, rhymes and rhymes circulated, and Yang Opera Show Week opened. On the spot, large-scale ancient costume Yangxi operas such as "Spring River Women", "Wall Head Records", "Six-foot Lane", "Yangxi Folk Opera Special Stage" were staged in turn.