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Yangbanxi (model operas) and the politics of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution / by Hui Kwok Wai

Authors Hui, Kwok Wai (許國惠)
Issue Date 2001
Summary This study examines the characteristics of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) through a detailed analysis of Jingju yangbanxi (Beijing Model Operas). Since this highly heterogeneous form of yangbanxi was the most effective vehicle for the propagation of Communist ideology and a powerful tool for political struggle during this critical ten-year period, it provides vital insights into the Cultural Revolution. Many scholarly works have been written on yangbanxi, yet important gaps remain. First, what were the roles of Mao Zedong and his wife, Jiang Qing, in the development of yangbanxi? Second, how do yangbanxi and xiandaixi (modern operas) differ intrinsically? And, third, what were the different developmental stages of yangbanxi. These significant questions deserve our close attention. In my study, I emphasize Jiang Qing's contributions to yangbanxi. Mao, however, as I demonstrate, was by no means a passive observer; indeed, he participated directly in modifying the plays. In addition to this theatrical aspect of yangbanxi, I examine the greater political and cultural context through a careful analysis of the differing views on xiandaixi of Liu Shaoqi and Jiang Qing. Finally, the nature of the Cultural Revolution is revealed by looking at the "three prominences" principle and the different themes (namely, the leader, the masses, and the class). Also discussed are the actual onstage performances. The significance of this thesis lies not only in uncovering the answers to the three questions mentioned above but also in examining the political characteristics of the Cultural Revolution through the combined study of yanbganxi's scripts, stage performances, and critical reviews that appeared in magazines and newspapers at the time.
Note Thesis (M.Phil.)--Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, 2001
Language Chinese
Format Thesis
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