Anqing, in Anhui Province, is regarded as the hometown of Huangmei Opera and Hui Opera. Anqing was first built in 1217 and is almost eight-hundred years old, but Huangmei Opera first appeared about two centuries ago as a simple drama of song and dance.
Huangmei opera does not involve the traditional opera gestures which often-used sleeves and step movements. The music is performed with a pitch that hits high and stays high and does not sound like the typical rhythmic Chinese opera.
The fairy tale of the Cowherd and the Weaving Girl is one of the four most famous folktales of ancient China. It is a classic love story between a fairy and a human being and has a widespread influence. The Qixi Festival is said to have something to do with the fairy tale, and the seventh day of every seventh month of the lunar calendar has become the Chinese Valentine’s Day.
Huangmei Opera Troupe
Chinese opera together with Greek tragic-comedy and Indian Sanskrit Opera are the three oldest dramatic art forms in the world. During the Tang Dynasty (618 – 907 AD), the Emperor Taizong established an opera school with the poetic name Liyuan (Pear Garden). Over more than 800 years, Chinese opera evolved into many different regional varieties based on local traits and accents. Huangmei Opera is one of them.
When I attended the 6th Asian Heritage Street Celebration in San Francisco, I stopped at a booth for Shen Yun Performing Arts staffed with attractive, college age girls. My wife loves dance, and I thought she might be interested. I asked if this dance troop was part of a local college or university. The girl who handed me the brochure said yes. She lied to me.
Turning to the Internet and using Google, I learned that New Tang Dynasty Television, Shen Yun Performing Arts and The Epoch Times all appear to be part of Falun Gong. I also discovered that Falun Gong must buy lots of Internet AD words so Google searches lead to one of the gears in the Falun Gong machine. In fact, I had trouble finding anything but Falun Gong propaganda and had to keep altering my search terms to get beyond the Falun Gong firewall.
In time, I discovered a piece published in the Buffalo News saying, “the promoters and creators of “Shen Yun,” who have picked up a reputation for misrepresentation and deception over the years, have adopted the questionable propagandist tactics of the very government they criticize in their productions.”
Digging further, the New York Times reported, “China’s decision to ban Falun Gong was made after 10,000 adherents staged a silent protest outside the gates of Zhongnanhai, the Communist Party’s leadership compound in Beijing, to complain about reports in the state-run media that the group said were defamatory. Security forces apparently had no advance knowledge of the demonstration, which took place on April 25, 1999. The Chinese government began treating the group as a threat to national security.”