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.

        (左桂兰唱)桃红柳绿百花鲜,冬去春来又是一年。窗儿外百鸟声喧百花争艳,蝴蝶双双飞舞花间。黄莺枝头不住的闹声喧,叫得我心中发闷发烦。黄莺叫你叫不来阎公子把我来看,蝴蝶也难把书信传。阎郎啊肺腑之言难以对你谈,咫尺天涯两情牵。咱二人两小无猜经常相见,咱两家亲上加亲定下姻缘。
        (喝)手扶着窗棂东南看,河那边就是阎家滩。阎郎啊,我两眼望穿,你孤苦伶仃又有谁怜。掐指算考期近春闱不远,眼看着只剩下半月天。送公子去赶考我给他做衣衫,今天是三月二十三。前襟上绣的是鲤鱼把龙门跳,后襟上绣的是鸳鸯戏彩莲。胸前绣蝴蝶颜色配得鲜,活鼻子活眼两翅搧。蝴蝶你飞到那阎家滩去,你与那阎公子捎蓝衫。针针是我缝,线线是我连,交给阎公子让他身上穿,免得他深夜苦读受了风寒。