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HujuTraditional Opera in Modern Shanghai$
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Jonathan P. J. Stock

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780197262733

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197262733.001.0001

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The Rise of a Local Opera form in east China, up to 1920

The Rise of a Local Opera form in east China, up to 1920

(p.30) 1 The Rise of a Local Opera form in east China, up to 1920

Jonathan P. J. Stock

British Academy

Scholars of Shanghai opera accord their tradition, huju, a history of some two centuries or more, typically describing its rise in terms of a development from local traditions of folk song to balladry, and from ballad-singing to staged and costumed opera (in the 1920s). This chapter begins with a brief summary of the history of opera in China to provide initial orientation for the subsequent evaluation of how huju relates to and contrasts with other dramatic forms. The analysis draws on surviving primary and secondary source materials, such as the memoirs of old singers, to assess the question as to how much huju changed as it gained acceptance in the city of Shanghai. The data suggests that the generally cited model of development through stages of folk song-ballad-local opera is in need of revision, and new models are generated.

Keywords:   Shanghai opera, local opera, Chinese opera, huju, folk songs, ballads

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