Yu Opera, also named "Henan Bangzi" or "Henan High Tune", emerged during the late Ming Dynasty and the early Qing Dynasty. Yu opera is noted for its demanding melodies, strong rhythms and intensive use of spoken language. Yu Opera is popular to the broad masses for it is full of local features and rich flavor of life. Unsophisticated, plus exquisite and vivid performances, it becomes a major local opera in Henan Province and enjoys nationwide popularity. There are more than 600 traditional plays in the repertoire of Yu Opera, among the most well known are Chang Xiangyu's Kao Hong, White Snake Story, and Hua Mu Lan, and Ma Jinfeng's Mu Guiying Assumes Command, and Chaoyanggou as a modern play.
The following is a list of famous Yu opera plays:
Arranged Marriage(Qin Xuemei in Chinese): During the Ming Dynasty, Qin Xuemei and Shang Lin are engaged as children. Later, when Shang's family is persecuted by malicious ministers, he goes to live with the Qin family. But Qin's father no longer agrees on his daughter's marriage to then young man and drives Shang out. When he returns to his own home, Shang becomes seriously ill and soon dies. Overwhelmed with sorrow and againgst her father's wishes, Qin goes to the Shang family for the funeral.
Clever Magistrate (Tang Zhixian Shen Gao Ming in Chinese): Yan Song is a treacherous prime minister during the Ming Dynasty. His arrogant sister, who enjoys an honorary title by imperial mandate persuades her son Cheng Xiniu to capture Lin Xiuying, a local woman. A heroic man defends Lin, but during the fight, Cheng Xiniu is accidentally killed by his servants. In her fury, Cheng's mother has her servants beat Lin's father to death. Only Magistrate Tang dares to try the case and with clever tricks, he defeats this arrogant woman.
Chaoyanggou Village (Chaoyanggou in Chinese): Yinhuan, a high school graduate, comes to her fiance's home village, Chaoyanggou, to take part in agricultural production. Meeting a lot of difficulties, she wavers between two choices: settling down in the backward village or returning to the city for a comfortable life. Through labour, she begins to understand the local people and is determined to devote her youth to the building of a new rich village.
Modern Woman, (Fuliu Nuren in Chinese): In the midst of China's urban and rural economic reforms in the 1980s, Yang Hua, a young pretty widow, decides to open a village clothing factory. But her remote mountain village criticizes her ambitious plan. Her father-in-law and some grassroots cadres opposes her, but Yang does not give in. The factory opens, a direct challenge to the village's traditional agrarian values.
Romantic Scholar (Fengliu Caizi in Chinese): The opera vividly describes the beautiful romance between Tang Bohu and Qiu Xiang. Tang was a romantic scholar chased by dozens of charming women. He resists them all, including his cousin Feng Yulan, a beautiful lady from a rich family. One spring day, Tang goes sightseeing on Suzhou's Huqiu Hill and encounters Qiu Xiang, a maidservant with a high-ranking official's family. Tang falls in unrequited love with Qiu. Giving up the opportunity for an official post and ignoring views of others, he disguises himself as a servant to get close to Qiu Xiang. After experiencing countless troubles, he achieves what he wishes.