Google is great.

Though when it comes to Chinese opera, searching without Chinese characters is doomed. Especially applies to videos, since the best stuff is “hidden” on Chinese sites, except a few great channels on You Tube.

There are many online tools to handle the language barrier issue. I tried loads of them, and finally picked the best ones. Also compiled a list of basic search terms related to Chinese opera (all in simplified characters, as far as I noticed Google doesn’t make a difference between simplified and traditional), and a list of links to great video and audio resources.

I’ll keep this post updated, hope it will be useful.

Useful tools

  • Hanzi to Pinyin Online – Copy-paste Chinese characters and get them Romanized in a whim
  • Xiaoma Cidian – The best Chinese-English dictionary, easy to identify characters, text annotation function (Simplified only!) 
  • YellowBridge – Character dictionary, animated stroke order function, word and character details, etymology, both in Traditional and Simplified
  • Traditional-Simplified Converter – Quickly converts traditional characters to simplified and versa vice
  • Text to Speech – Copy-paste Chinese characters, click Say it! and listen to the pronounciation

Main 5 branches of Chinese opera

  • 京剧 jingju – Beijing Opera
  • 越剧 yueju – Shaoxing Opera
  • 黄梅戏 huangmeixi – Huangmei Opera
  • 评剧 pingju – Pingju
  • 豫剧 yuju – Henan Opera

Most popular local operas

(There are around 360, impossible to list all. )

  • 昆曲 kunqu – Kun Opera
  • 粤剧 yueju – Cantonese Opera
  • 河北梆子 hebei bangzi – Hebei Opera
  • 川剧 chuanju – Sichuan Opera
  • 晋剧 jinju – Shanxi Opera
  • 蒲剧 puju – Puzhou Opera
  • 秦腔 qinqiang – Qinqiang (local opera of northwest Shaanxi)
  • 汉剧 hanju – Hanju (local opera of Hubei)
  • 湘剧 xiangju – Hunan Opera
  • 祁剧 qiju – Qiyang Opera (local opera of Qiyang, Hunan)
  • 潮剧 chaoju – Teochew Opera
  • 闽剧 minju – Fuzhou Opera
  • 莆仙戏 puxianxi – Puxian Opera (local opera of Putian, Fujian)
  • 吕剧 lüju – Lüju (local opera of Eastern Shandong)
  • 沪剧 huju – Shanghai Opera
  • 庐剧 luju – Luju (local opera of East-central Anhui)
  • 花鼓戏 huaguxi – Huaguxi (popular along Hunan, Hubei, Anhui, Guangdong)
  • 徽剧 huiju – Anhui Opera
  • 绍剧 shaoju – Shaoju  (popular along Zhejiang, Ningbo, Shanghai)
  • 锡剧 xiju – Wuxi Opera

General terms

  • 戏曲 – Chinese opera
  • 演唱会 – vocal concert
  • 剧情 – storyline, plot
  • 剧本 – script for play, screenplay
  • 唱词 – lyrics
  • 曲谱 – musical scores
  • 选段 – excerpt
  • 剧照 – stage photo
  • 剧目 – theater piece
  • 电视连续剧 – TV series
  • 高清 – HD
  • 全剧 – full-length play
  • 音配像 –  old records lip-synched by new artists
  • 下载 – download

Links to video sites

CNTV’s channel dedicated to Chinese Opera
After picking what you want always click the green button to download the RAR files.