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The Origin of Lv Opera


Lv Opera, the main local opera inShandong Province, was once named "Make-up Dulcimer" or "Dulcimer Opera," deriving from Shangdong Dulcimer.

Shangdong Dulcimer was a kind of talking and singing art with beautiful melody and vivid style over 200 years ago. It took about 100 years for Shangdong Dulcimer to develop into Lv Opera. To attract audiences, the earlier players of Shangdong Dulcimer tried making up their props with donkeys made frompaperand they named their new drama Making-up Dulcimer so as to distinguish it from other kinds of dramas. Their performance was welcomed by the public, who gave Shangdong Dulcimer the name of Donkey Opera (In Chinese, "donkey" has the same pronunciation as Lv).

Making-up Dulcimer has different names in different areas. The stories told in Making-up Dulcimer are usually related to love stories and generally performed by couples or families. In Chinese, a couple is usually calledliang kou zi."Liang"means two in Chinese, while two (liang)"kou" (口) is 吕 (lv). Therefore, Making-up Dulcimer is also called Lv Opera. Another interpretation of the origin of Lv Opera is that the abovementioned Donkey reference.

The traditional types of Lv Opera fall in two categories: small, solo opera and series opera. The most famous Lv Opera is the modern opera Remarriage of Sister-in-law Li, which was adapted from a popular film of the same title.

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