The Beijing opera of the first 17 years of the Chinese revolution (1949–1966)

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Sofia Beatriz Ferreira da Silva


This paper aims to analyze the influence of Beijing Opera policies adopted by the government led by Mao Zedong in the staging of (pre-1949) traditional repertory plays regarding both plot and characters, arguing that the established policies resulted in a more or less profound revision of some works according to the new values and ideas to be disseminated by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), while maintaining a set of elements considered "harmful" as a way to portray the human condition in the Chinese "feudal" society. In the first section, an overview of Peking Opera will be given, listing its main characteristics and historical development until the first half of the 20th century. In the second section, the measures adopted by the CCP for opera over the first seventeen years of Communist China will be presented, divided into three periods, each marked by a slogan that would dictate the attitude to be taken towards the art form. Finally, in the third section, an analysis will be made on the impact of these policies on the revision of two plays: "Beauty Defies Tyranny" (yuzhou feng) and "The Marriage of Niu Gao" (Niu Gao zhao qin).


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Ferreira da Silva, S. B. (2023). The Beijing opera of the first 17 years of the Chinese revolution (1949–1966). Herança, 6(2), 74–88.


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