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The Yifu Theatre: feudal, bourgeois, and dazzling

art & culture

And if your heart should beat for an opera in archaic Mandarin with subtitles in Shanghainese dialect, perhaps with someone to explain it all in English? This is your place.

On the facade, a huge multi-coloured mask signals the entrance to the room, which holds 350 performances a year. Built in 1925, it specialises in the dissemination of Jingji (‘Beijing Opera').

But let's be honest: a show spoken and sung in archaic Mandarin with Shanghainese dialect subtitles does not appeal to everyone. And yet, and yet… Try to attend at least one performance. The lavish sets and costumes dazzle you like the very pronounced makeup. The actors' gestures respond to very specific codes, and their acrobatics are accompanied by an impressive and forceful beating of drums and cymbals. The Jingji appeared in the late 18th century and nearly vanished during the Cultural Revolution because the Red Guards saw it as feudal and bourgeois. It now enjoys renewed interest.

Tip: make friends with an English-speaking Chinese spectator who will explain the show to you. Or find out about theatres nearby that put on Jingjie excerpts!

Yifu Theatre
701, Fuzhou Lu
People's Square
Shanghai

+86 (0)21 6351 4668

www.tianchan.com

 See the Travel Guide to Shanghai