Huaihai Opera is popular in Huai’an, Yancheng, Lianyungang, Suqian and part of Xuzhou in Jiangsu, plus the areas of Southern Shandong and Northeastern Anhui. It is accompanied by playing sanxian (a three-stringed plucked instrument), so the Huaihai Opera is also called “Sanguadiao”. It absorbed the elements of Hui Opera and Peking Opera, innovated the vocal system, and enriched the performance in the late Qing Dynasty. But it did not get the official name of Huaihai Opera until 1947.
Huai Opera, also known as Jianghuai Opera, is one of the three major local operas in Jiangsu. It was born in the present Jianhu County of Yancheng. Compared with Huaihai Opera, it has audiences in Jiangsu, Shanghai, Eastern Anhui and Northern Zhejiang, mostly to the south of Huai’an. Similar to Huaihai Opera, Huai Opera learned from Hui Opera and was developed on the basis of folk rap “Mentanci” and Northern Jiangsu’s “Xianghuoxi”. In 1914, HE Kongde established a theatre for Huai Opera in Shanghai and made it from a rural farmer’s song to an important entertaining opera in China.
Chuzhou Shifan Luogu was originated in the reign of Emperor Daoguang of the Qing Dynasty(1821-1850AD). SUN Minqing, a famous folk artist in Chuzhou, rewrote the aulic music, Kunqu, and created Chuzhou Shifan Luogu (also known as Wukun) by mixing gong and drums into it.
There are three sound parts in Chuzhou Shifan Luogu. The first is the instrumental music, the second is the tone of singing, and the third is percussion. The musical instruments used in the Wen show of Shifan Luogu (characterized by sing and acting) include two qudi(a kind of bamboo flute), two xiao (vertical bamboo flutes), two zhuguan (bamboo pipes), two sheng (reed pipes), two pipa (a kind of four-stringed plucked instrument), two sanxian, two hard bows, and two soft bows. Altogether, there are 16 instruments. In the Wu show (characterized by acrobatics), ten musical instruments are played. They are drum, clapper, Tang drum, big gong, piyou, small gong, wood block, touch cymbals, tang gong, and horn.
Peking Opera is the most famous and largest opera in China. It has four role types, Sheng, Dan, Jing and Chou. For the Xun sect of the Dan role type, SONG Changrong is the student of Master XUN Huisheng. The title of “Live matchmaker” is the most precise and appropriate evaluation given by the audience for SONG’s vivid performance.
The latest item is Jinhu Yangge. It is unique in the complicated way of changing tone style in a short time.