Exploring the possibilities of Chinese traditional theatre, the young creative team of the Shanghai Yue Opera Group present a forward-looking avant-garde work that combines traditional Yue vocal styles with contemporary aesthetics and sensibilities. The result is a deeply immersive and personal viewing experience for the modern audience, and a production that offers a fresh perspective on an ancient genre.

Yue Opera (Yueju)

Yue opera, or Yueju (越劇) is a xiqu genre that originated in Shengzhou, Zhejiang and became popular in Shanghai in the early 1900s (not to be confused with Cantonese opera, also called Yueju 粵劇 in Mandarin). Throughout its development, Yueju has borrowed classic elements from a variety of performing art forms, chiefly Kunqu from the Jiangnan region and spoken dramas. Initially performed by all-male casts, in the early 20th century it transitioned into a unique xiqu genre typically performed by all-female casts.

While the performance styles of Yueju vary, most plots are centred around a romance between a scholar and a young woman. The genre is characterised by its lyrical arias, polished singing techniques, visceral performances and the emotional weight that drives the story and performance. Its elegant style reflects the urbane cultural heritage of the Jiangnan region.