The Peking Opera, known as China's national opera, will bring its unique synthesis of music, art, dance and acrobatics to New Jersey's McCarter Theatre for one night only, April 7.
With antecedents reportedly dating back to 1027 B.C., Peking Opera has a repertoire that includes historical plays, comedies, tragedies and farces. Many historical events are adapted into Peking Opera plays, which in the past were an important primer on history for uneducated villagers.
Peking Opera is noted not only for elaborate face painting but for slow, ritualized gesture (sometimes one movement may last for more than 20 minutes), and a unique singing style, based in part on the Bejing dialect.
Two orchestras, playing string and percussion instruments, accompany the singing, which follows a fixed pattern but has a variety of melodies and rhythms. The "jinghu", a small two-strings bowed instrument, which is often the backbone of the orchestras.
This company from Chongquing, includes 56 members and will be performing a series of popular excerpts from its traditional repertory, including scenes from the famed Monkey King.
Tickets for the April 7 event are $30 and $27. Standing room tickets are available for students with a proper I.D. . For tickets or more information call (609) 683-8000. -- By Sean McGrath