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Opera and the CityThe Politics of Culture in Beijing, 1770–1900$
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Andrea Goldman

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780804778312

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804778312.001.0001

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Metropolitan Opera, Border Crossings, and the State

Metropolitan Opera, Border Crossings, and the State

Chapter:
(p.63) Two Metropolitan Opera, Border Crossings, and the State
Source:
Opera and the City
Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:10.11126/stanford/9780804778312.003.0003

This chapter reviews the spatial dynamics of opera within the capital by concentrating on the playhouse, the temple fair, and the salon. The commercial playhouse was an institution that came of age during the eighteenth century. The temple fair was one of the oldest sites for theatrical display in China. The salon was also a venerable institution that existed well before the Qing. Analysis of these three venues shows that urban opera performance in Qing China involved many kinds of border crossings among ethnicities, classes, and genders. The plays performed in the playhouse venue typically comprised of excerpted scenes from longer chuanqi-style dramas. The audiences for temple fairs had broader social constituency—including women and the urban poor—compared with those of the playhouse. The commercial opera had the affective power to move audiences, and the sentiments thereby given might be exhausted within the public space of the city.

Keywords:   playhouse, temple fair, salon, opera, China, Qing, ethnicities, classes, genders, urban poor

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