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Peking Opera and Local Operas

China has more than 300 forms of traditional opera, of which Peking Opera is the most popular. Peking Opera evolved from Kunqu Opera, an even more ancient art of drama listed by UNESCO in 2001 among the first group of works representing humankind through oral history. Other popular local operas include Yueju (Shaoxing Opera from Zhejiang), Huangmeixi (from Anhui), Chuanju (Sichuan Opera), Yuju (Henan Opera), and Yueju (Guangdong Opera). Peking Opera developed in early 19th-century Beijing and presents singing, music, chanting, dancing and martial arts all in one stage performance. The dramatic masks and costumes of Peking Opera are world-renowned. Famous Peking Opera actors and actresses over the years included Mei Lanfang, Cheng Yanqiu, Ma Lianliang, Zhou Xinfang and Du Jinfang. Since the 1990s, the emergence of highly talented young performers has helped demonstrate the continued importance of Peking Opera in Chinese culture. In recent years, the Peking Opera Theatre of China has experimented with incorporating western symphonic music in its productions.

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