Show Business: China's Whirling Kaleidoscope

Peking opera somersaults into the Met

There ought to be a word to describe Peking opera, but there isn't, and for a very good reason: it is unique in all the world; no theatrical or musical experience in the West is remotely comparable. It is ballet, gymnastics, circus, mime, silent movie and, to a degree, even opera.

Most of all, it is spectacle—dazzling sights, exotic sounds, strange but engrossing stories. A few members of this troupe gave a sampling of the art in 1978. Now a full company from the Peking Opera Theater is...

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