Peking Lullaby

So imagine: you have 12-hour jet lag, you were up early, visited the Temple of Heaven, had a filling lunch, visited Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City in the blazing sun, had a filling supper and are bussed to a tourist-oriented short-form presentation of Peking Opera.

What do you do? You fall asleep. As did most of my fellow travellers!  That’s why I have no pictures of the first short opera presented that night.

Peking opera or Beijing opera (simplified Chinese: 京剧; pinyin: Jīngjù) is a form of traditional Chinese theatre which combines music, vocal performance, mime, dance, and acrobatics. It arose in the late 18th century and became fully developed and recognized by the mid-19th century. The form was extremely popular in the Qing Dynasty court and has come to be regarded as one of the cultural treasures of China. (Google it if you want to learn more.)

Low light photography from the back of the theatre.

Low light photography from the back of the theatre.

Who knew that Peking Opera included acrobatics?  At the slow shutter speed needed to photograph the scene, the spears deflected by the central figure appear as blurs.

Who knew that Peking Opera included acrobatics? At the slow shutter speed needed to photograph the scene, the spears deflected by the central figure appear as blurs.

The woman was amazing, I don't think she missed one of these spears, which she sent back with feet, arms, or the club she was holding.

The woman was amazing, I don’t think she missed one of these spears, which she sent back with feet, arms, or the club she was holding.

Next post: The Great Wall of China and our second full day in and around Beijing.

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