Originally a form of local theatre, Peking Opera spread all over the country and then became the national opera of China. About 200 years ago, the Qing Emperor Qianlong toured in southern China and developed an interest in the local operas. On his 80th birthday, he let local opera troupes come to Beijing to perform for him. Some remained in Beijing after the celebration. The ones from Anhui and Hubei were incorporated with the palace opera -Kunqu Opera, which formed the Peking Opera .Peking Opera combines stylized acting with singing, dancing, musical dialogues, martial arts, colorful facial make-up and fantastic costumes.
Male roles are 芒鈧揝heng芒鈧?#65533; and clowns are 芒鈧揅hou芒鈧?#65533; Each role, according to their sex, age and disposition, is characterized by different designs of facial make-up, say, Jing representing a rough, frank character and Hua Face representing a cruel or sinister character. So the audience can easily tell what kind of character an actor is performing.Facial make-up, costumes and head - dresses are wonderful works of traditional art.
In the past, both Dan and Sheng roles were played by male actors, but now they also can be played by female. It is necessary to see Peking Opera while you are in China, just as seeing an opera while in Italy. There are also some other types of opera staged in China, such as Kunqu Opera, Pingju Opera and Hebei Bangzi as well as other operas from different places.