Beijing releases 10 Chinese-English Peking opera classics

A worker airs new oilcloth umbrellas in Gufeng village, Jing county in East China’s Anhui province. The traditional umbrellas, made of oiled cloth and bamboo ribs, have become the county’s name card, attracting thousands of tourists and shutterbugs every year.

Ten bilingual Chinese- English editions of Jingju (京劇 Peking opera or Beijing opera) classics were released inBeijing last Dec. 27.
Peking opera is a quintessential part of Chinese culture. Though the lyrics are rich in meaning it is difficult to express them in other languages, which greatly hinders foreigners from understanding and enjoying the art form.

Zhou Yude, former president of the National Academy of Chinese Theatre Arts, explained that in the 1950s, Peking opera performers often chose works with fewer lyrics to help foreigners understand the content. However, there was concern that foreigners might think Peking opera was similar to vaudeville.

The new release is the second volume of a series of translated Peking opera classics. The project, jointly launched by Renmin University of China, Beijing Foreign Studies University and the University of Hawaii in the United States, plans to publish 100 classics in 10 volumes, with the first volume released in 2012.

The classics include: “Beating the Drum and Cursing Prime Minister Cao,” “Silang Visits His Mother,” “A Battle at Dingjun Mountain,” “Reconciliation between Minister and General,” “Three Judges Try the Case,” “Reunion at Wujia Slope,” “Wu Zixu’s Predicament at Wenzhao Pass,” “Defending the Country, Visiting the Imperial Tomb, and Entering the Imperial Palace Again,” “Beating the Dragon Robe” and “Bao Zheng’s Persuasion in Chisang Town.”

Sun Ping, chief editor of the series and director of the Chinese Operas Studies Center, Renmin University of China, explained that adjustments were made to the second volume in the content layout.

The books include bilingual Chinese-English scripts, music, pictures and other relevant knowledge, making it easier for readers to understand the works.