Peking Opera and Politics in Taiwan

Author: Nancy Guy
How the politics of culture and censorship shaped Peking opera's unique history in Taiwan
Cloth – $39
978-0-252-02973-8
Publication Date: June 2005
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About the Book

Peking Opera and Politics in Taiwan tells the peculiar story of an art caught in a sea of ideological ebbs and flows. Nancy Guy demonstrates the potential significance of the political environment for an art form's development, ranging from determining the smallest performative details (such as how a melody can or cannot be composed) to whether a tradition ultimately thrives or withers away.

When Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalist government and military retreated to Taiwan in 1949, they brought along numerous Peking opera performers. Expecting that this symbolically important art would strengthen regime legitimacy and authority, they generously supported Peking opera's perpetuation in exile. Valuing mainland Chinese culture above Taiwanese culture, the Nationalists generously supported Peking opera to the virtual exclusion of local performing traditions, despite their wider popularity. Later, as Taiwan turned toward democracy, the island's own "indigenous" products became more highly valued and Peking opera found itself on a tenuous footing. Finally, in 1995, all of its opera troupes and schools (formerly supported by the Ministry of Defense) were dismantled.

About the Author

Nancy Guy is a professor of music at the University of California, San Diego. She is the author of The Magic of Beverly Sills.

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Awards

Recipient of an ASCAP Deems Taylor award for ethnomusicology (2006). A CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title, 2006.