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    In Southern Song Dynasty, as the capital moved down to Lin'an, the political, economic and cultural center transferred southwards as well. Wenzhou, which was located along the seaside in southeast Zhejiang, benefited from its peaceful surroundings, prosperous country economy, rich culture, busy water-way transportation and increased population, and got a nickname of "Mini Hangzhou". The epochal dawn of Chinese opera beamed from here. The earliest mature form of Chinese opera thus came into being. To differ from Za-Ju, a kind of poetic drama set to music flourishing in the Yuan Dynasty, it got the name "Southern Opera".
    Records show that Southern Opera can date back to as early as the reign of emperor Zhao Ji (1119~1125) and it is not until the end of the 12th century when the capital moved southward did the opera take its complete form.
    The Southern Opera was evolved from the folk songs around Wenzhou, thus quickly won popularity in every neighborhood. It was mainly about light and easy subject such as love, marriage and family life. Its form, accordingly, was relatively free. It could be either long or short, with either several acts or dozens of acts. The popular folk songs as well as the new ditties could work together into the tunes of the opera as long as they were harmonious. People could perform in solo, antiphonal singing, troll, chorus, and so on.
Beijing Opera The Town Of Red Mulberry
 
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