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15 July 2015

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Changde Flower-drum Opera

Changde Flower-drum Opera is a form of Hunan short plays with distinctive local features, prevalent in Yuanshui River valley, Lishui River valley and the adjacent areas of northern Hunan and southern Hubei.


Changde Flower-drum Opera is recorded to have formed theatrical troupes performing at night as early as the years of the reign of emperor Daoguang in the Qing Dynasty (1821-1851).


Its performing history can be traced back to the early period of the reign of emperor Jiaqing in the Qing Dynasty (1796-1820), when people in Changde prefecture staged the "pick-tea lantern" song to celebrate the Lantern Festival of Chinese New Year.


Changde Mandarin is the main stage language for the opera. However, as it is rooted in the vast rural areas, local dialects are often reflected in the performances of sparetime opera groups with the exception of the "amateur opera group" which pays attention to the standardization of the stage language as influenced by Han opera.


Changde Flower-drum Opera often deals with everyday rural life and is, therefore, known for its earthy quality. During its forming and growing process, a great many of programs have been created to enrich the plays.