Lively music, singing and the sound of beating drums fill the room. As an orchestra（管弦乐队） plays. performers dressed in colorful costumes move across the stage（舞台）. Welcome to Chinese opera.
Chinese opera is an important（元素）of Chinese culture. Most operas are based on stories from long ago. The amazing stage performances are often set against grand backgrounds. Beautiful paintings hand movements and martial arts（武术）help tell these famous stories.
There are more than 300 forms of Chinese opera, including Beijing Opera, Yue Opera, Yu Opera, Ge Zai Xi and many other forms. of all of them, Beijing Opera is the most famous. Beijing Opera combines（合并）singing, dancing and acrobatics. Instruments such as drums, bells and cymbals accompany（伴奏）the performances.
Traditionally, performers used masks（面具） for their facial design. Today, however, performers use makeup,
They paint colorful designs on their faces. These colors and designs help to create each character. For example, a brave character has a red face, while a black face means bold. A yellow and white face represents （代表） someone who is dishonest.
Costumes give clues（线索）to the performers' characters and roles Audiences（观众）that are familiar with opera will get to know a story by the masks and costumes. Costumes usually have many designs and colors. The same costume can be used in different shows, however, it will represent a different character.
Promoting the arts
Many colleges sand schools in China desire（渴望）to keep the art of Chinese opera alive. They provide an education system for