Ningbo Opera originated from the countryside of East China’s Zhejiang province. As one of the most important opera styles of the region, it has gained much popularity in Ningbo, Zhoushan, Taizhou and Shanghai.
At the beginning of the Qing Dynasty (AD 1644-1911), Ningbo Opera was only an entertainment for local farmers and handicraftsmen. It was often played during leisurely times, such as summers and happy occasions. During the period of Emperor Qianlong during the Qing Dynasty, performers started to perform folk stories and local news. With the performance form changing from sitting and singing with no musical instruments to diversified performances, Ningbo opera formed into a unique playing style consisting of varied roles, plots and performance movements.
As the local opera of Ningbo, it has a unique artistic charm and distinctive local flavor. The opera style features the Ningbo accent and melodies based on local folk songs, including Siming Nanci, Erwu and Xiaodiao. There are many popular Ningbo Opera works, including "Dating in Antang", "Double Jade Cicada", "Half Pair of Scissors" and "Mother to Be Married".