This is a different type of opera unlike any other operas – because it’s looks like a theater. The main features of traditional Beijing opera is freedom and relaxation. To conform these requirements the actors must know the basics of the national acting – “four skills” and “four stages”. The first four – the singing, recitation, reincarnation and gestures, the second four – “game by hands”, “game by eyes”, “game by body” and “steps.”
There are several forms of Peking Opera depending on what is important. Sometimes it is dominated by dancing and singing, sometimes-facial expressions; in other focuses on battle scenes and acrobatics; sometimes it is dialogue.
In Peking opera there are four main types of acting roles. This is the “Sheng” – the leading male role, “Dan” – women’s roles, “Jing ” – the role of actors with painted faces, “Chou” – men’s and women’s clown roles. Beyond that you can see characters which representing the guards, soldiers, etc.
The orchestra consists of a minimum 8-10 participants: string-band brass and drum groups which typically accompanied by scene of battle. Orchestra manages a musician who beats off a rhythm on a small drum which determines the pace of the action on stage.
Costumes are sewn on models during the reign of Han, Tang, Song and Ming and also during the reign of the Manchu emperors.
The martial art involves a fight without weapons, swordplay (swords, lances, spears), acrobatics, face to face fighting with the enemy and massive battles.
Duration of the opera is about 2-3 hours, but there are operas which may continue a few days, as, for example, the opera “Meet the heroes”, built on one of the stories (“The Battle of Red Rock”) from the “Three Kingdoms” and includes a number of individual scenes. The basis for Peking Opera are historical compositions, life story, fairy tales and legends, as well as popular works of literature and drama.