Shandong Culture

Lu Opera

( Updated: 2015-09-01

Lu Opera

Lu Opera [Photo provided to]

Lu Opera

Lu Opera [Photo provided to]

Lu Opera or “Huazhuang Yangqin” as it is otherwise known, is one of China’s eight major opera genres and is typical to Shandong province. The origins of the opera can be traced back to 1900 in the Yellow River Delta region in northern Shandong province. It remains popular in Shandong, Anhui and Jiangsu provinces for its use of simple and vivid language, and melodies.

The musical instruments that accompany the opera include the zhuiqin (a two-stringed fiddle), dulcimer, sanxian (a three-stringed plucked instrument) and pipa (a plucked string instrument with a fretted fingerboard).

The first Lu opera play, The Jarvey Wangxiao, was first referred to as “donkey-opera”, because it used a dulcimer and a paper donkey as props. Since the character for donkey is lǘ, the name of the opera changed its intonation to “Lǚ” over time, hence the name “Lu Opera”.

There are 20 professional Lu Opera troupes and theatre groups in Shandong. A group of Party and State leaders, including Zhou Enlai, Liu Shaoqi, Zhu De and Deng Xiaoping once watched a Lu opera performance. Professional groups have conducted multiple tours on behalf of the Shandong government to the provinces of Yunnan, Guizhou and Jiangxi.

Shandong Provincial Lu Theatre

Shandong Provincial Lu Theatre was founded in October 1953 under the name Shandong Provincial Lu Opera Troupe. In 1954, a play named “Li Ersao Remarried” scooped all top prizes of the First East China Local Opera Competition. Its lead actress, Lang Xianfen, won first prize for her performance.

Another play from the theatre, “Exchanging Spouses”, was adapted into a film by Hong Kong Huawen Film Studio. It was well received in Southeast Asia for its fun plots.

A number of new plays such as “Drawing a Dragon”, “Soldiers' Wives”, “Shilong Bay” and “Bitter Flowers” have been staged in Beijing many times and have gained overwhelming popularity. Among them, “Shilong Bay” and “Bitter Flowers” won the Wenhua Performing Award. Gao Jing, the lead actress in “Shilong Bay”, won the Wenhua Performing Award and Luan Shengli was granted the Wenhua Composition Award.

The theater boasts an accolade of outstanding actors and actresses, playwrights, directors, composers and musicians. Popular performers include Lang Xianfen, Lin Jianhua, Gao Jing, Dong Jiachen, Li Ping and Li Xiaojiang.


Address: No 25, Jiefang Road, Lixia district, Ji’nan city, Shandong province

Post code: 250013

Tel: +86-531-8893-3062; +86-531-8893-6674; +86-531-8893-6675

Fax: +86-531-8895-7848