A traditional Chinese art, the most famous form of which is the Peking Opera, where Mandarin [[note]]actually an archaic form of Mandarin[[/note]] is used for the spoken language. (There are other similar operas from other areas, but those aren't as famous.)

Despite its name, it's more of a minstrel show than a Western-style opera: instead of a full orchestra, the actors are backed up by a small band of traditional instruments that also provide the sound effects, the set is very minimally decorated with as few props as they can get away with and action is generally pantomimed. The stories told tend towards HistoricalFiction, though there are a few SliceOfLife tales and other famous Chinese legends as well. A small handful have also been written in the modern era. As there are many traditions and superstitions handed down from generation to generation, Chinese opera has very formalized storytelling conventions, tunes, and character archetypes, so once one becomes familiar with said conventions, it's very easy to become GenreSavvy.

The first-ever Chinese film, ''Dingjun Shan'' in 1905, was an adaptation of a Peking Opera, and for a long time afterwards, the narrative and acting codes of Peking Opera would have a noticeable influence on Chinese cinema. It was the foundation of HongKong action cinema in general (since training with a troupe builds up lung power and, depending on the role, acrobatic skills), with many of its most famous stars (such as JackieChan) having backgrounds in Chinese opera, which went into serious decline against competition of the movies.
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!! Tropes Common to Chinese Operas:
* ActionGirl - ''Wudan'', the combat female role.
* BadAss
* TheCastShowoff - Whoever gets cast in the [[JourneyToTheWest Sun Wukong]] role gets very exciting acrobatic sequences, and the singing roles will usually have at least one "aria" where he/she gets to show off their pipes.
* ColorCodedForYourConvenience - Costumes are color coded, and every ''jing'' (painted face) role had not only a specific color, but a particular pattern associated with it.
* CostumePorn - So very much; the fancier the costume, the more important (and/or higher ranked) the character.
* CrosscastRole - Until the 20th century, it would've been unacceptable for a woman to show her face in public like this, so all of the female roles would be played by men.
* GuideDangIt - Don't attend a performance of Peking opera if you don't have ''at least'' an in-depth knowledge of color codes and symbols. You'll be lost in seconds.
* HistoricalHeroUpgrade - In fact, Chinese Theater (and folk legends) are probably the reason that certain characters in, for example, ''TheRomanceOfTheThreeKingdoms'' are portrayed in certain ways.
* HistoricalVillainUpgrade - Ditto.
* MemeticHandGesture:
** Female roles have long, flowing sleeves that they throw out in an arc during significant solos.
** Older roles stroke their beard whenever they're plotting something.
** BadAss characters who have the feather hat (i.e. what Lu Bu is seen to wear in DynastyWarriors) will hold one of the feather's in their hand during solos.
** [[JourneyToTheWest Son Wukong]], in addition to a ton of monkey-like mannerisms (he'll scratch himself and pick imaginary ticks off his body, then "eat" them), is most often seen peering into the distance with his hand in an almost backwards military salute pose, to signify that he's using his telescopic vision.
* NiceHat - Just about every costume. The ''wusheng'' (combat males) in particular sport ''fabulously'' long feathers in their helmets (see also Lu Bu's cockroach hat in ''DynastyWarriors'' or Sun Wukong's hat in ''WarriorsOrochi'')
* PluckyComicRelief - The ''chou'' (jester) role, who bounce between this, TheJester, and the ButtMonkey.
* TakeOurWordForIt - Given the minimalism of the set design, lots of stuff is just told to the audience via dialogue and they're expected to use their imagination to fill in the blank.
** This gets to CrowningMomentOfFunny levels in an act based on a story out of ''Literature/WaterMargin'', where the main characters are stuck in a (supposedly) pitch-dark room together, neither realizing the other is there at first.
* ThatMakesMeFeelAngry - Very often, the characters won't just talk about their feelings, but sing about them, though they will also make exaggerated displays of emotion.
* YouLookFamiliar - Depending on the size of the troupe, the extras tend to be played by the same people, so a {{Mook}} that died in Act 1 might be spotted among the GreekChorus in Act 3.
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!!References to Chinese Opera in other media:
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[[folder: Anime and Manga ]]

* ''DragonBall'' - Goku breaks out in a Peking Opera parody after Ginyu steals his body.

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[[folder: Film ]]

* ''FarewellMyConcubine'' is about two famous actors who play Xian Yu and his Concubine on the night the Concubine committed suicide so Xian Yu can break siege without regrets.
* The hero of Chang Cheh's masterpiece, ''Vengeance'', seeks to avenge his brother, a Peking Opera star, who was murdered by bad guys.

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[[folder: Web Original ]]

* Rebound and Lion Claw, two members of the [[GlobalGuardiansPBEMUniverse People's Revolutionary Superhuman Collective]] are both "graduates" of the Peking Opera.

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[[folder: Video Games ]]

* As mentioned above, ''DynastyWarriors'' invokes Chinese opera in some of the character designs. The opening for ''Dynasty Warriors 3'' even shows Zhao Yun in full opera regalia.