;A Comparative Study of Wang Jide and Li Yu′s Works on Operas
Late Ming Dynasty and early Qing Dynasty is the flourishing period of classical Chinese opera creation and theory development. Wang Jide’s Melody and the On Poems and Verses and On Performance in Li Yu’s Occasional Notes with Leisure Motions are two comprehensive and systemic works on opera produced in this period. They were the masterpieces of opera theory of the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Therefore, it is of great academic significance to compare their theoretical framework and connotation. First, it helps to clarify the relationship between the development of the two theories; second, it provides detailed analysis and comparison which previous macroscopic elaboration failed to provide; third, it unravels the close relationship between the similarities and differences of the two theories and the evolution process of opera art; fourth, it urges people to rethink their value and status in opera theory, and to develop new perspectives for the research of opera criticism history.
This paper first reviews existing research on opera theory prior to Wang and Li, then compares, under the principle of "seeking differences in similarities and similarities in differences", the common concerns of the two works: structure, system, regulation of word mining, temperament, spoken parts, buffoonery, etc., and focus. Because of the comparative research perspective, they are each other′s frame of reference, and the "taken for granted" impression that "Wang Jide is the pioneer, and Li Yu is the master" can be avoided. To probe the similarities and differences between the two opera theorists from their works helps to reveal that they involve multiple angles and meaning, and not just a simple relationship of "inheritance". Finally, it explores the reasons for the results of comparison, clarifies the relationship between their opinions, and turns to the history of the theoretical development to understand more deeply and accurately their creation and the theory system they constructed together.
Key words: Wang Jide, Li Yu, 《Melody》, 《Occasional Notes with Leisure Motions》, opera theory.