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Zheng Yici Peking Opera Theatre

26 Reviews
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Zheng Yici Peking Opera Theatre

26 Reviews
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No.220 Xiheyan Street, Xuanwu District, Beijing 100051 China
Getting there
XuanwumenBeijing Subway13 min
HepingmenBeijing Subway3 min
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Brucie Wayne wrote a review Mar 2019
2 contributions4 helpful votes
To be honest, Beijing didn't make much of an impression on me. But the one thing I remember with vivid excitement is Zheng Yici opera. I'm quite a Shakespeare/literature/ play geek and so after watching Farewell my Concubine, I had to hunt down Beijing opera and give it a try. I left sorely disappointed after my first encounter with it at Liyuan, which turned out to be ridiculously touristy and boring as hell. Zheng Yici saved my opera experience. I cried at the end, and this is coming from someone who didn't understand a word they were singing and had to rely on the subtitles on the screen. The dude who sang the part of the Concubine was a male dan, and god he was beautiful. 5/5 would recommend and 5/5 plan on visiting again.
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Date of experience: November 2018
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Janae M wrote a review May 2018
8 contributions4 helpful votes
I have studied abroad in China a few times before my most recent visit, and my exposure to Beijing Opera was through organized tours, visits to the Laoshe Teahouse, or special performances for our hosting institution. In all of those cases, I did not find the performances to be very pleasant, and the accompanying acrobatics, dancing, and kung fu performances always seemed kind of hokey. However, I was continuously told that if I saw the "right kind of performance," I would probably like it. So I never gave up hope. On my most recent trip to Beijing, I decided I would check out a performance at an established, well-reviewed venue and take my boyfriend who had never seen Peking Opera before. I found out about Zheng Yici Theater and its historical significance and quickly decided that this would be the best bet. I was not disappointed at all, and, unlike me, my boyfriend enjoyed his introduction to this style of performance. We saw excerpts of the Legend of White Snake. I much prefer the performing of one story as opposed to snippets of several classics, as it keeps me invested in the performance. I will say that it was sometimes hard to hear the actors singing over the music; I'm not sure if they should get the musicians to play more quietly or instruct the singers to sing more loudly. Only one performer was loud enough to be heard at all times. That said, I loved the movements and facial expressions, especially from the female lead. At one point, she was able to communicate intense anger through her eyes without contorting her facial muscles at all, and it was very effective. Unlike previous performances I've seen, the acrobatics were incorporated into the story, depicting fight scenes or comic relief. I loved this as well. I will say that it was hard to read the English subtitles at points: there are two subtitle screens on each side of the stage, and both were partially obstructed by pillars. They also have subtitles in Mandarin, so I had fun comparing the spoken lyrics to the modern Mandarin. The subtitles were not always timed well: perhaps, the person in charge of that spaced out a few times. The venue itself was beautiful and traditional. It's almost worth it just to be in that atmosphere. Furthermore, the choreographer made good use of the space, having some characters enter from the second floor box seats and make their way dramatically down to the stage or having some characters move through the audience. They also had good "special effects" like using smoke, screen, and lights. It all made you feel immersed in the experience. Like others have mentioned, I thought that they served tea and snacks at tables during performances, but I did not find that to be the case. I think maybe they only do it for some shows? Or maybe I confused it with another opera house I looked up. It didn't bother me: we had eaten dinner beforehand, and we weren't really there for tea anyway. It was also hard to determine what the showtimes were from the website. I can read Chinese, but maybe I was on an outdated site? We decided to just go to the theater in the early afternoon to purchase tickets for whatever show was happening that day (Friday). We got lucky! I noted that most of their shows were at 7:30pm on almost every day of the week. You can hang out at the Qianmen area, eat, shop for sourvenirs, and walk to the theater through long alley neighborhood (which had a good energy about it). I think that if you stay at a hotel in Beijing, you should get the concierge to help you call for information or book tickets in advance. They take Wechat/Alipay at the ticket window if you prefer that method of payment. Overall, I cannot recommend this enough. Of course, I'm not an expert on the Peking Opera, and maybe the quality varies with performance. I even appreciate my previous exposures to Peking and Kunqu Opera, but they were just not my cup of tea. But this was, hands down my favorite Chinese cultural performance to date.
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Date of experience: May 2018
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JuliaReitor wrote a review Apr 2018
Playas del Coco, Costa Rica246 contributions53 helpful votes
We went to see Pekin Opera, but it happened that talented famous Chinese choreographer Gao Yanjinzi represented her dance play 'Blooming of Time'. The way she feels nature, the feeling you experience while watching a dance makes you live through the performance together with these amazing dancers. Each one has individuality. Very professional. CHECK SCHEDULE before going. The theater don't work every day. Schedule is attached in photos.
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Date of experience: March 2017
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Christina L wrote a review Apr 2018
Beijing, China19 contributions7 helpful votes
I booked the most expensive tickets in order to enjoy tea and snacks as promised and to watch excerpts of five classics. There was no tea or snacks and only one classic, which was none of the ones published in the programme.
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Date of experience: April 2018
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masaccio wrote a review Feb 2017
Huntingdon, United Kingdom1,846 contributions706 helpful votes
+1
I am an opera buff in the UK, but as others have said, this is far from western opera. We saw a selection of four scenes from Chinese opera, booking direct online. If you do this, you will need cash to collect your tickets (I had to run to a nearby Bank of China). The first scene was odd, the middle two sweet and very beautiful, but the last one was as mad as a box of frogs. River spirits or something. It did feel like a run through a variety of styles of story. Singing, in those scenes that had it was certainly odd to my ears. The music was unusual, but by the end I was starting to appreciate it. Our seats were "VIP" ones at RMB 480 and were about 5 rows back, which means you can see the upper stage. We were also right next to the thrust stage, which was awesomely close to the performers. I think I'd do it again.
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Date of experience: February 2017
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