Sichuan Opera of Chengdu

Sichuan Opera, it is one the unique part of Sichuanese culture, Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan is its place of birth. Sichuan Opera has become of the most treasure and enjoyed aspects of China, it has a long history and countless plays and a rich and unique means of utilizing music and performance on the stage. People in Sichuan, Yunnan, Guizhou, and the rest of South-west China all enjoy the distinctive operatic masks of Sichuan opera, which are one of the most important parts of the performance itself. Sichuan opera is distinguished by the high-pitch voices employed by the actors and the use of percussive balls and five principle types of musical composition.

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In Sichuan opera the distinctive high-pitched sounds or 'Kunqu' of the performers is key; as well as the Chinese Violin Melody, Kunshan Opera Melody, Weak Melody and the use of the lanterns; It was during the Ming and Qing dynasties that the four melodies (except the Lantern Opera) of Sichuan Opera were spread throughout Chinese as a widely popular form of entertainment. Then people started to hear the distinctive high-pitch sound of Sichuan opera performers.

Operatic Face Masks

Sichuan opera employs the use of ingenious changing face masks, as they are called Face Changing in Sichuan. Wang Daozheng is regarded as the "Face Changing King" because of his high technique to change face masks in short time.

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Sichuan operatic face masks are an important part of this operatic form, which makes this performing art form so treasured in China. Before performers come on stage they place several masks on top of each other on their face, different masks representing different emotions and characters, and while on stage performances change the mask on their face as a visual cue to the audience indicating their emotional state. And the actors performing Sichuan Opera can paint slightly different masks on their faces according to their personal characters to attract the audience. This means of indicating a characters emotional state by using multiple masks is unique to Sichuan opera.

The powder blowing method is frequently used during the 'face changing' of the Sichuan Opera.But such kind of techniques can not be seen by the audience because the actors always act quickly and secretly.


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There are several great or 'classic' Sichuan Opera plays, especially the heritages related to high-pitch signing and dialogue. Not only is the performance itself rich and unique, the scripts and dialogues always hold a high literary value and are written with a view to eliciting a strong emotional reaction from the audience. Many more experienced performers have developed other skills to make the performance even more exciting such as knife juggling. Sichuan opera naturally has a deep connection with the province of Sichuan incorporating aspects of the local dialect as well as the traditional singing and dancing customs of the region. Traditional Sichuan performance has given notoriety to the region and as developed the now widely known art-form of Sichuan Opera.


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