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Hiking photos - Opera in a Countryside Temple, 2010/11/06

We do a lot of hikes in the mountains in the northwest of Beijing, and there are quite a few ancient villages in the valleys out there. After we learned that one of the villages has an active group of performers, we decided that we should definitely have them put on a show for us!

They perform a style of traditional opera called Hebei Bangzi. It's very similar to Beijing Opera--to the untrained eye and ear, at least--and uses many of the same stories. The leader of the group was trained at the old school in Changping, and is trying to keep this traditional art alive by passing on his knowledge to others in the village. Without some younger students, the tradition in this area is in a bit of danger - the youngest in the group is 56 years old; the oldest is over 80!

They put on a great performance for us, using the courtyard and stage in the village temple to do a show with two acts, accompanied by an amusing band of gaffers with a variety of instruments.

Temple entrance, Beijing Hikers Changyucheng and Hebei Bangzi Traditional Opera Performance, November 6, 2010

The entrance to the temple.

Courtyard, Beijing Hikers Changyucheng and Hebei Bangzi Traditional Opera Performance, November 6, 2010

We set up our seats in the courtyard, and got ready for the show.

Backstage, Beijing Hikers Changyucheng and Hebei Bangzi Traditional Opera Performance, November 6, 2010

Meanwhile, backstage.

Beijing Opera performers, Beijing Hikers Changyucheng and Hebei Bangzi Traditional Opera Performance, November 6, 2010

The show begins!

Village band, Beijing Hikers Changyucheng and Hebei Bangzi Traditional Opera Performance, November 6, 2010

The gentlemen of the village band.

Opera performance, Beijing Hikers Changyucheng and Hebei Bangzi Traditional Opera Performance, November 6, 2010

The costumes and makeup worn by the performers were very professional.

Close up of opera performer, Beijing Hikers Changyucheng and Hebei Bangzi Traditional Opera Performance, November 6, 2010

A closeup shot of one of the performers.

Audience, Beijing Hikers Changyucheng and Hebei Bangzi Traditional Opera Performance, November 6, 2010

The audience looks on.

Performer, Beijing Hikers Changyucheng and Hebei Bangzi Traditional Opera Performance, November 6, 2010

A closeup of one of the performers.

Village band, Beijing Hikers Changyucheng and Hebei Bangzi Traditional Opera Performance, November 6, 2010

Another shot of the band.

Second act of performance, Beijing Hikers Changyucheng and Hebei Bangzi Traditional Opera Performance, November 6, 2010

Nearing the end of the second act of the performance.

Actor in pink, Beijing Hikers Changyucheng and Hebei Bangzi Traditional Opera Performance, November 6, 2010

Another costume change.

Villagers by a door, Beijing Hikers Changyucheng and Hebei Bangzi Traditional Opera Performance, November 6, 2010

The villagers came out to see the show as well.

Villagers sit on stone steps, Beijing Hikers Changyucheng and Hebei Banzi Traditional Opera Performance, November 6, 2010

For some of the villagers, we were the main attraction.

Temple, Beijing Hikers Changyucheng and Hebei Banzi Traditional Opera Performance, November 6, 2010

All packed up, we left the temple, walked to the bus, and headed back to the city.

Band leader, Beijing Hikers Changyucheng and Hebei Banzi Traditional Opera Performance, November 6, 2010

This was one of our favourite performers. Seldom seen without a cigarette, even when playing!

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