Yu opera, originated in Henan, included in the first batch of national non-material cultural heritage list, is one of the most significant five Chinese operas, and the top one Chinese local opera. Yu opera is inherited and developed from Henan Bangzi. After the founding of the People's Republic of China, Henan’s one-character abbreviation is yu, thus Henan bangzi was officially named Yu opera.
The Distinctive Characters of Yu Opera Yu opera is characterized as the fluent singing, the distinctive rhythm, the highly colloquial expression and the clear articulation. The style can be described as filled with passionate, unrestrained masculinity, and suitable for performing sublime theme and strong emotion. On the other hand, it has strong local character, featured as simplicity, popularity, and natural quality. There are four major types of Yu opera. Xiangfu tune, the mother tune of Yu opera, is heard around Kaifeng; Yudong tune in the Shangqiu area; Yuxi tune is originated around Luoyang; and the Shahe tune around Luohe. Yudong and Yuxi are the main forms, with Yudong expressing comedy and Yuxi expressing tragedy.
The Long History of Yu Opera Yu opera came into being during the late Ming Dynasty in Kaifeng, the capital city of Henan province. During the reign of Qianlong and Jiaqing of Qing Dynasty, the outburst of “controversy of the Hua and Ya”, an argument between elegance and popularity of opera, gave an opportunity for Yu opera’s development. And during the reign of Xianfeng and Guangxu of Qing Dynasty, the formation of the “Eighteen Excellent Performers” and “Invincible Troupe” has promoted the status of Yu opera.
After the Xinhai Revolution in 1911, Henan Bangzi participated in teahouses in big cities, and quickly became a competitive opera with Beijing opera. Then, having passing the the War of Resistance Against Japan and the establishment of PRC, Yu opera has gained nationwide development and significant innovation for keeping pace with times.
International Communication of Yu Opera In 2009, “Restriction”, adapted from the famous comedy of William Shakespeare, “The Merchant of Venice”, was played in London and highly praised by foreigners. Since then, many classic Yu opera repertoires has been performed in foreign countries, such as Australia, Italy, France, Canada, Venezuela, New Zealand, Germany, America, Thailand, Pakistan, and was praised by westerners as “oriental aria” and “Chinese opera”.
Yu Opera In Henan’s Universities For advocating traditional Chinese culture, Henan’s universities value the inheritance and the education of Yu opera. In 2014, “Chaoyang Village”, a classic work of Yu opera, was adapted into being accompanying with symphony, and the performance in universities went off splendidly. In 2016, Henan University has got the permission for establishing “the Base of Inheritance and the Protection for Yu Opera”. In 2017, “Henan Li Shulian Opera Art Center” was established in Zhengzhou University.