A Comparative Perspective Of Western And Chinese Opera (Research Paper Sample)
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A Comparative perspective of Western and Chinese Opera
Like theatre plays, operas are the forms of dramatic theatres which include costume, scenery, and props in a cultural setting. Globally, from western to eastern, southern to northern, operas consist of various dimensions such as orchestral music, voice, drama, visual arts and sometimes dances. However, the comparative perspective will run across the past and present centuries with regard to generational day to day operations (Wu Kaiying 212). Therefore, this essay aims at comparing the Western and Chinese opera by looking at the similarities as well as differences exhibited between the two cultural settings by their historical backgrounds.
The history of Opera dates back to the late 1500’s in Florence, whereby a group of Italian members or Camareta as it is referred came together to work as one family. It comprised of a diversity of intellectuals, musicians, actors and poets. All aimed at using the aspect of music and drama to present their thoughts and emotions towards educating and informing the society at large (Yeung 225). Nevertheless, Camerati operas identified three main principles to guide people in reference to new and old artworks. These are; that the text must be understandable to all while the accompaniments should observe simplicity and should avoid creating distractions. The second principle is that words should be presented with natural and correct and declamation, and lastly the feeling of the text must be interpreted by using available melodies (Latham 302).
In both Western and Chinese setting, Operas have been classified into various acts and scenes and acts containing divergent classes of vocal pieces for singers in general. Whereas aria is a solo based on vocals of individual’s emotions and not actions, recitative is in the form of speech or dialogue (Benjamin 79). In addition, composers assign different music types to various operas across the cultures. According to Miller 67 in the past and present times, operas are written as librettos setting the stage for the final music to the audience. However, this may vary from one set of background and field to another within one culture or between two or even more different cultures. Today, across societies such as western and Chinese based audience is characterized by the use of subtitles as a way to follow the plot easily (Citron 178).
From this point of view, Chinese Opera can be regarded as quite different from that from the western in different ways. As per Latham 304 study, Chinese Opera involves blending of speech, dance, acrobatics, mime and song. Moreover, the use of various theme colors signifies different character traits in Chinese Opera making it so unique in its structure. On the other hand, the plot development of Operas across Chinese communities is characterized by performers wearing elaborate masks and decorations so as to inform more to the audience on the characters. This lead to different types of traditional Chinese opera such as Cantonese, Beijin, Lvju and Shaoxing operas just mention a few (Yeung 228). A traditional Chinese opera as researchers have indicated has over the times incorporated a diversity of artistic works which may include songs, dances, acrobats, music and martial arts. In fact, it is completely different from the rest around the world by considering its uniqueness on artistic works which is elaborated through revisiting early periods and roots of China. Due to this it has attained the name Xiqu. Further, Beijin opera has become famous owing to its connection to the periodic times of three kingdoms (Miller 66).
Chinese based Beijing opera is characterized by the use of percussion instruments and traditional Chinese string so as to give a strong and better rhythm, acco...
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