Ancient and modern
Beijing Quju

Beijing Quju, which derived from Octagonal Drum, was the only opera that originated and shaped up in Beijing. The current name began to be used at Lao She’s suggestion in 1952. During its development towards a stage performance art, it incorporated techniques of operas and dramas. Beijing Quju Troupe was founded in the 1950s. It created the play Yang Naiwu and Xiao Baicai, which was later made into a film. A number of famous Quju actors appeared, such as Wei Xikui, Sun Yanqin, Li Baoyan, and Tong Dafang.

Wei Xikui (1925~1996), born in Ji County, Hebei, was a performer of Beijing Quju. In her childhood she learned Laoting Drum and Tangshan Drum from her father. Thanks to years of practice, she created the distinctive style of Fengdiao Drum. She also played a decisive role in establishing and developing Beijing Quju. Her best plays were Yang Naiwu and Xiao Baicai, A Bittersweet Love Story, Beside Jiangan River, Fang Zhenzhu and Cherry Blossoms of Tears and Blood. Her performance was marked by a pure,beautiful voice, masterly skills, refined taste and sincere emotions. Her art was the perfect wedding of quyi and operas. In addition, she set a good example for later artists in learning eclectically. In 1957, she won a gold medal at the oriental classical music contest during the sixth World Youth Festival.

Libretto of Quju Yanjiatan narrates a young lady who is missing her lover.