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The Spread of Peking Opera

After 1860, with mobile performances by opera companies, Peking Opera quickly spread all over the country. Tianjin and the surrounding Hebei and Shandong provinces were where Peking Opera gained popularity at an early date. Areas with a fairly early arrival of Peking Opera included Anhui, Hubei and northeast China.

In 1867, Peking Opera spread to Shanghai. At the time, a number of well-known Peking Opera actors went south, making Shanghai a Peking Opera center on a par with Beijing. Peking Opera in Shanghai gradually developed some unique characteristics, leading later to the division of “Beijing School” and “Shanghai School.”

By the beginning ofthe 20th century, Peking Opera was performed in Fujian and Guangdong in the south, Zhejiang in the east, Heilongjiang in the north and Yunnan in the southwest.

In the 1940s, Peking Opera had impressive development in Sichuan, Shaanxi, Guizhou and Guangxi.

In 1919, Mei Lanfang, a Peking Opera master actor enjoying unrivalled fame then and even today, went to Japan with his theatrical company to stage performances. Peking Opera troupes have since frequently staged performances in foreign countries. And people in the rest of the world regard Peking Opera as the representative of the traditional Chinese theater.

Today Peking Opera has become the premier opera type in China having no rival in terms of the number of plays, performing artists, troupes and audiences as well as influence.

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