I always encourage the experience of different forms of arts, opera and other performing acts with kids because of it’s tremendous benefits. In the case of the famous ‘Peking Opera’, the experience becomes one of the most valuable lessons kids can learn about the world of expression. These hilarious performing acts are filled with outrageous emotions and acting, something that children simply love. Children’s toys and other products could never reach anywhere near the value you can get from one of these magical shows. It’s also important to note, that going to see western opera with the kids is very boring. I would not recommend a traditional opera experience in the western sense of the world. Only the Chinese can pull of such a historically important cultural performance while entertaining their youth. It’s truly remarkable and you need to see it for yourself.
I have also had the pleasure of visiting one of these shows with a small, but very loyal group of mothers that embraced the experience. While in Beijing, which is much more child friendly than people usually think.. we didn’t have to search for it for long. Of course, ‘Peking Opera’ refers to the opera that was created in the capital of Beijing. So even though this art has spread throughout China, and even to countries including the USA, this is the best place to see it. The one that was highly recommended to us by our hotel, was known as Liyuan Theatre which sounded too good to be true. In fact, our dreams were lifted as we entered this ancient and historical building. Which in fact is an old hotel known as the Qianmen Jianguo Hotel. It was build right after the People’s Republic of China was founded, as far back as 1956. This beautiful magestic hotel was renewed in 2002 with an upto date theatre facility that is boasting these performances in today. You can choose tickets from the balcony, to tables in the front where you can have snacks and drink Chinese tee of course!
If you have children with you, I highly recommend the more expensive tables. However, the price comes down to a very reasonable level if you book in advance with a discount ticket seller. Their official site, to which I have linked to already has the lowest price so go ahead, there is nothing to loose!
As for the performance it self, the kids just went crazy. I had to control their laughter, however it is normal for the audience to make noises. At least the Chinese part of the spectators, which the theatre hall was filled with. In the Liyuan Theatre the whole hall comes to light as the actors get on stage with their colorful and vibrant outifts. Then the singing and acting starts which is easy to follow because of the expressionism that is displayed is very clear and obvious. Everything has a symbol to it and together with the English subtitles, it’s very nice to flow together with the magical story. After the opera performance, the kids were making faces all week. Showing what kind of acting skills they had. I truly believe that this was a very valuable learning experience for them. Firstly because they loved the opera and received a life time positive memory of Chinese history. And secondly because they learned how fun it is to train in front of the mirror or anywhere what kind of faces and expressions you can make. This will ultimately promote a well being and balanced mentality for growing kids who are learning for ways to express themselves.
For this beautiful experience I cannot thank Liyuan Theatre enough. And Beijing, we love you, we will be back soon!
Ooh La La Mama