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Where To See Opera in Beijing
For information about what Chinese Opera and Beijing Opera are, see Chinese Opera and Beijing Opera.
Beijing Opera Houses
Liyuan Theatre (Líyuán jùchăng – 梨园剧场) is the place where Beijing Opera is made most accessible to foreigners, but its also arguably the least genuine experience, you’ll note there’s not many Chinese people in the audience. The performances are generally shortened (which you might find a blessing), and rely more heavily on slapstick and acrobatics. Screens above the stage translate the dialogue into English or Chinglish.
Performances 7.30pm, tickets 50-300Y. The theatre is inside Qianmen Jianguo Hotel (前门建国饭店), at 175 Yong’an Lu (永安路175号). The most convenient way is by taxi, or it’s a 1.5km walk South from Hepingmen subway stop on Line 2. Tel: 63016688*8860 *8864
Zhengyici Theatre (Zhèngyĭcí Jùchăng – 正乙祠剧场) is one of the more authentic places to sample Beijing Opera. The building used to be a temple and is the only surviving wooden theatre in Beijing. Performances 7.30pm, tickets 50-250Y. Serves food.
Central location means cheap and easy taxi access. To get there by subway, get off at Hepingmen on Line 2. Head South one block, and then turn left (East) along Xiheyan Dajie. About 300m on the right.
Address: 220 Xiheyan Dajie – Xuanwu District 宣武区西河沿大街２２０号正乙祠剧场
Huguang Guild Hall (Húguăng Huìguăn – 湖广会馆)
Ornate and colourful interior similar to Zhengyici, but not such an old building. Performances start at 7.15pm and last until about 9pm.
Located very close to Liyuan Theatre, taxis from the city centre will be less than 30Y and quite convenient. By public transport, get off at Hepingmen on Line 2, head South until you hit Hufang Lu, it’s no. 3.
Chang’an Grand Theatre (Cháng’ān Dàjùchăng – 长安大剧场)
This is where the real Beijing Opera buffs go, a genuine experience with food available. Tickets start around 50Y.
Also centrally located, taxis less than 30Y. Closest subway stop is Jianguomen on Line 1. About 600m West.
Prince Gong’s Residence
A historic courtyard and one of Beijing’s most impressive private residences, allegedly the model for the mansion in the classic ‘Dream of the Red Mansions’, there are occasional opera performances in the theatre within the grounds. Call ahead to find out. Tel 66186628
Lao She Teahouse
Among other things, Lao She teahouse hosts nightly performances of simple, accessible Beijing Opera with subtitles in English, Japanese and Chinese.
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What to see and do around Beijing
Wonder at the Great Wall, be awed by the magnificent Forbidden City, drink in the scenery from a boat on the Summer Palace’s Kunming Lake.