Bejing Opera (京剧 Jīngjù) is one of the most beautiful forms of art in China. It combines singing, acting, acrobatics and face painting. It is quite different from western operas because it requires the performers to master the following key skills: singing, recitation, acting and acrobatics. Performers’ acrobatic skills are mostly displayed in the form of martial arts.


The roles in Peking opera are differentiated into fixed character types. There are 4 major roles: 生sheng (male role), 旦dan (female role), 净jing (painted faces), and 丑chou (male clowns). In detail,

The sheng 生 is the main male role in Peking opera.

The dan 旦 refers to any female role in Peking opera.

The jing 净 is a painted face male role.

The chou 丑 is a male clown role.

Here is a short video

There is also an excellent movie “霸王别姬 ” directed by Yige Chen. It is a great movie to understand how hard the apprenticeship went through to become main performers in Beijing Opera. This is a fantastic movie for older students.

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