The study of opera in Qing Beijing opens a key window onto the understanding of state-society relations and the mechanisms by which ideas and values were shared, shaped, disseminated, and contested. This book shows the associations between culture and power in the Qing dynasty. The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries were a golden age for opera performance in the Qing capital. The Qing court was uncertain about opera, especially as performed in the commercial playhouses of the capital. The book is also an interdisciplinary study of opera history, urban culture, and gender representation. It demonstrates that the networks of patronage, gossip, and literati connoisseurship formed a public space for social critique and sentimental indulgence. Finally, an overview of the chapters included in this book is given.
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