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Hunan Opera

Gui Shuzhong

Release year: 2010

Run time: 19 mins

Film type: Documentary


Qi opera, or Hunan opera as it is known in Ninghua, was originally called Qiyang opera. It originated in Qiyang, Hunan. The main singing styles are South Road (Erhuang), North Road (Xipi), Gao, Kun, Siping and Anchun. The recitation is in the Hunan native dialect, which has many similarities with the Hakka dialect of Ninghua. It is a playful and amusing countryside drama, which is absolutely grassroots and enjoyed by the rural people. Since its introduction to Ninghua during the Kang-Qian period of the Qing Dynasty, it has flourished and developed. The Ning Hua He Long Shang Yi Qi Opera Troupe is a folk amateur art group with more than 30 part-time actors. Over the years, the troupe has been active in the villages of Ninghua and neighbouring counties such as Jianning and Shicheng in Jiangxi during traditional festivals and agricultural seasons. The troupe's repertoire includes more than 30 plays, including "Kaiji Tu", "Tianmen Zhen", "Red Lingzuo", "Hetongpai", "Shuangji Tu", "Erdumei", "The Lost Hairpin", "Phoenix Mountain", "The Legend of the White Snake", "Jinshan Temple", "Pearl Tower", "Zaibao Ji" and "Jinbao Zhu". The performance procedures of the Qidong Opera Troupe, such as singing, reciting, acting and playing, have fully preserved the artistic characteristics of the ancient Qidong Opera. It has been described as a "living fossil" of Qi opera in Hunan. The soul of the troupe, Mr. Yi Yuanqiang, is the father of my high school classmate, and he plays very important roles on stage, but off the stage he is a village pig castrator.


Director biography

Original named Ning Yuanguai, Gui is a poet and independent documentary director. He was born in 1967 in Ninghua County, a mountainous Hakka area in the northwest of Fujian Province. Gui has finished four documentaries about local Hakka folk culture: Yukou Paper, Old Genealogy, Chronicles of Hulling Rice, and Revive. He has also directed several short films, including Wugong Sutra and The Ballad of Spring.