Yue Opera, originated in the area of Sheng County in Shaoxing, Zhejiang Province in the early period of the century, is a rapidly developed local opera with a short history in China. It was named "Yue Opera" because it has its origin in part of Yue State in the Spring and Autumn Period dating back about 2,000 years ago.
Known as "Xiaogeban" or "Diduban" (Small Singing Group), the opera was circulated first among the country folk in its early period of development. At that time Yue Opera was simple as it had developed from folk talk and singing. Later it moved into Hangzhou, shanghai and other parts of the country. By now, many years' development has made it a most important opera style next to Beijing Opera in China, taking its theme from fairy tales, literary classics and historical stories. The voices of Yue Opera are soft and beautiful, and easy to learn. Different voices from various schools were developed which led to the emergence of large numbers of fans devoted to each school.
The famous and heart-rending Chinese violin concerto Butterfly's Love drew its musical materials from Yue Opera. The film of Yue Opera from the same play won an award at an international film festival in the music category. The male role in a Yue Opera play is always played by women and the characters appear exceptionally charming, natural and unrestrained.
Yue Opera as a folk opera style has its origins in Hangzhou. Yue Opera lovers would meet regularly and sing. If you come to Hangzhou and stroll along the lakeside in the early morning, you will certainly hear opera lovers heartily singing Yue Opera.
The resident Yue Opera companies in Hangzhou are the Zhejiang Yue Opera Troupe and the Hangzhou Yue Opera Troupe. The "Xiaobaihua" Performing Group of the Zhejiang Yue Opera Troupe is best known in Hangzhou and very influential across the country, and in Hong Kong and Macao. Yue Opera lovers coming to Hangzhou may have the fullest chance to enjoy various performances and Yue Opera styles given by different Yue Opera schools in the city.