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Henan Yu Opera

Henan Yu OperaChinese Yu Opera (豫剧) from Henan Province is also known as Henen "Wooden Clapper" or Henan's High Keys, and Yu (豫) is the shortened form of the name of the province. Henan Opera is famous for its strong and sharp voices and it is welcomed in regions along Yellow River in northern China and some parts of Xinjiang and Tibet.

The history of Yu Opera traces to late Ming Dynasty or early Qing Dynasty (in mid 17th century's China). Originally, the opera was sung only by human voices without any musical accompaniment. It was easy to sing so that it had been very popular in central China. The origin of the Chinese opera genre was either from Qinqiang Drama in Shaanxi Province, or from northern folk songs. However, many Chinese believe that Yu Opera was developed from local ancient singing arts, because during late Ming Dynasty, Henan folk songs had been very popular.

The "Wooden Clapper" became a fully matured form of Chinese opera and much performed during mid-eighteenth century. Opera troupes often performed at Ming Imperial Palace. Yu Opera developed different singing styles in Kaifeng, Luoyang and eastern Henan Province and so on. However, the popular Chinese opera genre was limited in rural areas.

After the success of the Democratic Revolution in 1911, Henan Opera came to big cities. It had been well performed in local teahouses. Many opera troupes were set up at that time. In 1956, Henan Yu Opera Troupe established. Today, there are many small groups set up in neighboring provinces.

The musical accompaniment at first was consist of "one drum, two gongs, three string instruments, a clapper and a cymbal", sometimes people used a large cymbal and a big Chinese horn, to make the opera performance grand and magnificent. In recent decades, opera performers have introduced Chinese traditional instruments such as erhu, pipa and suona pipe, also Western violin, cello and some brass instruments.

Traditional repertoire in Henan Opera has about 1,000, many of them based on Chinese epic novels and historical events, some operas are about love, family and moral.

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