Restored Royal Opera Theatre opens to public

created: 2013-05-10

China Daily, May 9, 2013

After several renovations that went on 18 months, Deheyuan (Garden of Virtuous Harmony), located in the Summer Palace, officially opened on April 25, 2013. The garden has been restored to the way it was during the Qing Dynasty and has regained its splendor and magnificence as a royal opera theater.

Deheyuan was built for the Empress Dowager Cixi. Its construction began in the 17th year of Emperor Guangxu’s reign (1891) and lasted for five years. The three-storey theater stage is now a big and well-preserved wooden stage complete with delicate designs and a magnificent structure, and therefore holds great architectural and artistic value.

Famous Beijing Opera actors from the Qing Dynasty such as Yang Xiaolou and Tan Xinpei performed here for the Empress Dowager and the stage was regarded as the “Cradle of Beijing Opera.” The Empress Dowager also granted special permission to a few princes, dukes and cabinet ministers to enjoy Beijing opera at this legendary setting.

While visiting the opera stage, it is easy for visitors to imagine the Empress Dowager Cixi watching legendary performances here. A large number of precious items used by emperors and empresses, as well as some of the gifts presented to the Qing court by foreign states, are also on display.

Operas will be performed from 9 am to 4 pm everyday. The admission fee to Deheyuan is 5 RMB. To get there, take metro line 10 and exit at the Bagou stop, and then transfer to bus 374 or 704.

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