Liyuan Theatre
Liyuan Theatre
3.5
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
Monday
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
Tuesday
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
Wednesday
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
Thursday
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
Friday
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
Saturday
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
Sunday
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
About
Liyuan Theatre lies in the heart of Beijing's former Xuanwu Districtlocated south from Tiananmen Square. The area used to serve the lower class as one of the districts of the old imperial city and it's famous for being the birthplace of Peking Opera.
Duration: 1-2 hours
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Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.


3.5
3.5 of 5 bubbles125 reviews
Excellent
30
Very good
43
Average
27
Poor
11
Terrible
14

Ashley C
Apache Junction, AZ106 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2017 • Couples
We went to see the Beijing Opera during one of our free nights in the city. When we arrived at the hotel which hosts the theatre it was easy to find where to go.

There are two price points for the tickets. I would recommend getting the cheaper option as the difference in watching the show is very minimal. Arrive a few minutes early to pick the most desirable seats. When we attended, many people came right before the show started (or immediately after) and struggled to find seating together (especially if they are in a large party).

Before the show you can watch one of the main characters put on their stage makeup and attire on the stage. It was quite impressive to see the various layers of clothing that went into creating each character.

During the show, the Chinese singing is explained in English on a subtitle screen which makes the experience much more relatable. The show is broken into 3 mini-stories. The actors are so impressive especially during the acrobatic-type performance which is choreographed to be a "fight scene" (which was incredible to watch!).

Getting to the theatre was very easy. We stayed at Michael's House in Beijing (fantastic place if you're looking for a hotel) and they arranged our tickets and transportation to the show.
Written June 4, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Pottgirl
Leeds, UK134 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2012 • Friends
This place offers a taste of Beijing Opera aimed at tourists, and that's a good thing. If you want to experience this cultural tradition, but aren't a devotee, the ninety minute performance does the trick. The theatre isn't very big, so even with cheap tickets, you'll have a good enough view. Speaking of which: Buying tickets at the theatre is more expensive, you can get a discount by booking through your hotel or a booking agency.

The show consists of separate little pieces, all of which are introduced with a few lines of text on a big screen, followed by supertitles in Chinese and English during the performance. Also, the plot is very easy to follow. This means there's no need for the translation headphones they offer for 50 yuan in the foyer. We had just rented ours when we heard one of the staff comment to another (in Chinese) that they weren't any good, so we returned them and got our money back. The headphones are also an annoyance if someone sitting near you is wearing them, as their sound is quite loud.

The musicians and actors are good, and there were two acrobats who performed a scene that was particularly fun to watch. However, while it was fascinating to see this art form in real life, the high-pitched, loud and highly stylized singing makes Beijing Opera one of those pleasures of which a little goes a long way. So we were happy to have come here rather than see a full three to four hour production.
Written November 30, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

KC@travel
103 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2019 • Friends
One of the highlight of this theater was that the show came with chinese and english subtitles to allow audience to understand the story. The show was 1 hour long and just nice for me to experience what Beijing Opera was all about. I highly recommend this place if you would like to see Beijing Opera in a short time.
Written June 16, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Sarah K
4 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2018 • Friends
It has become very commercialized. The actors had no stability, they were out of breath, their facial expressions were not as exciting as they should be.. I went to Liyuan theatre 2 years ago and was absolutely fascinated with the Beijing Opera. However, now it looks like they just want to maximize their shows and are missing quality in the performance. This really isn’t what the classic opera is like! :( especially for the price, value doesn’t match

The service staff are nice and all, but I’m purely talking about the performance
Written August 13, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Merril H
28 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2015 • Friends
The Liyuan Theatre, located inside the Qianmen Hotel is a quite decent introduction to Beijing Opera. It was a 5-minute walk from my Temple of Heaven Holiday Inn hotel and easy to locate along a major avenue. I easily reserved my front table ticket online (recommended for a lower price than the box office or your tour agency can usually provide). You pay the ticket provider at the hotel who then purchases the ticket--Quite legit from what I can see. For the equivalent of about $30, I sat at a front row table with fine quality Jasmine tea and about 20 different bowls and plates of snacks, from smoked almonds to various crackers to fresh veggies--Enough to make a meal. Before the actual performances and while patrons were being seated, an actor on stage went through the elaborate process of putting on his makeup and costume. This went on for about 20 minutes and you could approach the edge of the stage to take photos.

The actual performances are usually 3 famous scenes taken from major Operas and about 15 minutes each. They were well-acted and kept the audience engaged. There were readable digitized captions to each side of the theatre--The English is not perfect but understandable. A small live orchestra bashed merrily away to the side of the stage. I have attended a number of Kabuki performances in Japan and actually enjoyed this more. Beijing Opera just seems more accessible to me, and I am involved in historical research on the Asian arts. The theatre setting is not the traditional colorful stage seen at other opera venues in Beijing, but it was nevertheless a fine introduction to the art. There is also a nice retail store that has some Mei Lan Fang exhibits and numerous souvenirs for sale at quite reasonable prices, compared to other places visited in Beijing. I intend to see the other more lively (noisy) Beijing Opera venues next visit, but the opera at Liyuan Theatre was well-worth an evening spent this Spring in Beijing.
Written July 7, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Johann&Sandra
8,271 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
There is a cultural gap between Chinese and Western culture that is never more evident than when viewing the Peking Opera. The lyrics are filled with spirtual metaphors about nature and feng shui that if you are Chinese probably have a deep meaning for you. If you are Western, you don't have a clue. This is something we fully recognized going in, and were interested to experience it and see these differences.

The problem with the opera experience we had at Liyuan was not with these obvious cultural differences, but with the total lack of effort on the part of the theater to put forth a presentation worthy of a valuable evening of a vacation. This was really magnified when we saw the Kung Fu show in Beijing, which was great, and the Tang Dynasty Dinner Show in Xi'An, also excellent.

As you enter, they advertise that you can mingle with the performers as they put on their make-up. Really, you walk into a room where three people sit silently at a long table putting on make-up while tourists pile over each other to take their photo. It is just to walk up, snap a photo and leave, which is what everyone did.

The theater itself is poorly decorated and bland. The stage has only a green carpet. The seats are tiny. For the best seats, choose the tea package. If you are not in a tour group, you'll be sitting nearly at the back of the upper deck.

The first act was overlong and boring - about 30 minutes of a girl trying to get on a boat to find her lover. That was it, no other scenes. She finally got on the boat. The end. There were zero props or stage decoration of any kind, just that green carpet, one lady in a very nice costume, and an old man. Not even a boat, a backdrop, or anything.

The next act featured a lady spinning ribbons and singing, which was fine, but went on too long, had no other props or anything, canned music, and her microphone cut out halfway through the song. 20 minutes of this.

The third act was actually pretty fun, though I'm not sure what it had to do with Opera. It featured four guys and a lady in the middle juggling poles with their feet. This is the only reason why I rated two stars instead of one.

To get an idea, the leader of the Swedish tour group sitting behind us told her group "The first act is really terrible, and you'll hate it, but please don't walk out. The second act is better". The show lasts 70 minutes, three acts. Terrible sound, only about 5 actors, no props except one small paper mache mountain in the second act that looked like it was made in second grade class, no backdrops at all, no decorations, no lighting changes or anything. Just felt like a total tourist-trap rip-off and that they made no effort to make it more than that.

You'll have a lot better time at the Acrobats or the Kung Fu show than at the Peking Opera at Liyuan. Perhaps another house does a better job, but there is only one listing on TripAdvisor for this.
Written September 14, 2009
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

The Doctor
1 contribution
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2019
Not impressed. Quite a few people on here have said they somewhat enjoyed Liyuan, and I honestly, truly cannot understand why. It's so touristy that it's painful, and while I tend to enjoy the longer, 'play' experience, I was glad to be walking out after 1 hour here. It's a medium sized modern theatre (really more like a university lecture hall) located in a hotel of all places. To get in, you have to go through a gift shop filled with tiny Chinese opera-themed souvenirs (which I have nothing against, by the way, but if they'd put half that focus into making it a better opera experience, I might've been more tempted to buy something to remember this by instead of spending my time on tripadvisor warning all my fellow travellers. Just sayin').

Regarding the actual performance, it certainly looked quite amateurish. Yes, you get the nasally-sounding voice that is Chinese opera and if you are going only so that you can tick off 'look, taada, I'm cultured because I've seen Chinese opera but don't want to waste more than one hour doing it' off your list, then go - but be warned; this is not a legitimate Beijing opera experience. The singing wasn't great, the mics weren't even working super well when we went, the English subtitles looked like they were written by a 5-year-old, the acrobatics and sword-wielding was cringey as hell. To those of you who have some knowledge about Beijing opera, I vividly remember this scene where Concubine Yu is supposed to be dancing with what looks like a single sword, and then she suddenly separates it into two swords. I don't know if the problem is with the prop or the singer, but when she was wielding the single sword, it was so OBVIOUSLY TWO so when she pulled it apart to reveal that it was two, it kind of felt like 'yeahh, I saw that ten minutes ago,' and there was zero energy, no flow, no dynamic. And when Concubine Yu suicided, it felt like good riddance, this weak chick is finally gone. In order to sound a little more fair, yes, I can confirm - you do get to see the lead singer put on the costume and makeup which was pretty cool, but seriously, when the show is this bad, everything else is just there to distract ...

And then there's the audience. #thisisgoingoninsta #yaycamerakrazy. One minute into the performance, the person to my right whipped out their phone and proceeded to record the whole thing. The person to my left struck up a conversation with their neighbour. Um, okay. You do you.

All this is to say that this is no serious Chinese opera. It's like child's play. Poor man's Mona Lisa. If you enjoy that then you'll enjoy this, but don't watch this and go out and gush about how you've seen Chinese opera (and if you don't like this, don't go out and trash Chinese opera either). I had a look on this page and saw quite a few negative reviews. Just be aware that there's a reason for all this negativity. If you're really interested in Beijing opera, I recommend checking out Mei Lanfang Grand Theater or Chang'an Grand Theatre.
Written September 2, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Phyllis P
Singapore, null, Singapore237 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2019 • Couples
Was abit apprehensive about going Liyuan theatre after reading the negative experiences.
Eventually, we decided to took a leap of faith and went for it. Place was filled with tourists, as expected... It's not a place that locals come to watch opera, I guess.
We got the cheapest seats (¥120 each), so were pretty far from stage. But nonetheless, we found the show rather entertaining and served as good introduction to Peking Opera. Show started promptly at 7.30pm, comprised 3 short segments of operas of different genres. We quite like the way it's being presented... Not too boring and you get an idea of what's Peking opera is like.

If you like, you can go early at 7pm to watch an actor put on make-up and dress up in costume.
Written April 14, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Clive W
Orpington1,906 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2018 • Friends
I was with a party of about forty people and we arrived for the 1930 performance at about 1900. We were on the first, ie ground, floor. There was already a group of about 20 people, mostly children, already seated. The tickets are not for specific seats so one can sit anywhere. However, there are tables and chairs in a front section. Unsure whether these are reserved beforehand or you can move into them but only if you have drinks and perhaps pay for an upgrade.

The performance started at about 1930 but for about 10 minutes beforehand we were entertained by an artist putting on his makeup and his clothes which resembled those of an emperor. The performance started, all the singing was in Chinese but translations were provided on screens at the front on each side of the theatre. These were distracting because it is easy to miss some of the dancing whilst reading the words, or words can be missed because you are watching the dancing too avidly.

The performance was separated into 3 short sections which were not linked. It was ok but I found the singing from the ladies to be a little too shrill for my liking.

Refreshments were available at the beginning but no idea what the prices were like.

The performance lasted about one hour. The theatre was not crowded on a Wednesday evening.
Written October 30, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

JayTee369
Singapore, Singapore532 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2017 • Friends
The program for 3 excerpts was only one hour - I wish there was more but again this duration is probably long enough for first time visitors.
The seating arrangement was interesting - normal gallery single seats facing the stage were right at the back. In front of that were long tables possibly for group seating and right in front were individual dinner table setting for 6 to 8 persons per table in front of the stage. Tea for everyone with little tidbits and baby tomatoes!
As you entered, the hua lian was on stage painting his face for the audience to see and then dressed in layers until the final beautiful costume. He posed for photographs too.
The 3 excerpts were well chosen - the first one to illustrate the ching yee (soprano) & the general hua lian in a duet - Farewell my Concubine. The subtitles in English scrolled abit too fast but you do get the gist of the storyline. The second excerpt illustrates the silky long sleeves dance & singing by a hua tan (alto) And the last excerpt was an energetic acrobatic skills performance by a female warrior in full costume and feathers - one needs to appreciate how difficult it is to perform acrobatics and sing the opera at the same time.
Written July 4, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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