Yueju Opera is the second biggest form of Chinese opera, placed only after Peking Opera. Having originated in East China's Zhejiang Province, Yueju Opera is most popular in Zhejiang and Shanghai but is also widespread in Jiangsu, Fujian and other provinces.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of Yueju Opera. The first Yueju performance was held in 1906 in Shengzhou of Zhejiang Province, under the name of "xiaoge ban" or "didu ban."
Yueju actors began to perform in Shanghai in 1917 and gradually gained popularity. Since 1922, the name of "xiaoge ban" was replaced by "Shaoxing wenxi."
Early Yueju Opera was performed exclusively by men. Since 1923, all-women Yueju Opera groups began to appear and became popular. All-women Yueju Opera groups gradually replaced all-men groups in the 1930s and 1940s, and the name "Yueju" was finally adopted.
The music of Yueju Opera is characterized as being fresh, graceful and lively. The well-known violin concerto "Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai" ("Butterfly Lovers") was composed based on elements from Yueju Opera.
Representative Yueju Opera artists include Yuan Xuefen, Yin Guifang, Xu Yulan and Xiao Dangui.