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Gezaixi, a traditional Chinese opera

xiamen.chinadaily.com.cn| Updated: May 5, 2019


Gezaixi, or Gezai Opera, is the only traditional Chinese opera that became established in Minnan, in southern Fujian province, and arose from Taiwan. 

It is based on Minnan gezai (ballads) and absorbs elements from Liyuan Opera, Beiguan Opera, Gaojia Opera, Peking Opera and Minju Opera.

The art form emerged in Taiwan at the beginning of last century, then spread to Minnan and then to Southeast Asia through Chinese people and foreign citizens of Chinese origin.

Gezai Opera uses a free metrical pattern, various tunes but few lyrics. There are more than 100 traditional tunes. Zasui tunes and seven-character tunes are the two main arias in Gezi Opera. 

Performers in all roles sing in their real voices. Among them, kudan (woman's role) is the most distinctive style of singing. Shao Jianghai and other folk artists in Minnan created the zasui tune and promoted this traditional art.