Lu Opera is the vernacular opera in the main regions of Anhui. It has a history of more than 200 years, and is commonly found in mid- and western Anhui as well as areas south of the Yangtze River.
The vocalization is mainly divided into two types, huaqiang (or coloratura) and zhudiao (or main melody). While huaqiang is mostly folk songs, zhudiao is comprised of erliang, hanqiang and sanqi. Zhudiao can be balladic or lyrical, and expresses complex and dramatic emotions. Gongs and drums accompany Lu Opera singing.
There are specific delivery styles designated for different roles, which means there is a specific way for a laosheng to play an old man, a xiaosheng for a young man, and a chou, for comic roles.
Owing to the different dialects and different styles of singing, Lu Opera vocalization may also be divided into three 'reaches': the western, the middle, and the eastern, or 'upper', 'middle' and 'lower'. The western ('upper') covers Shucheng, Huoqiu, Huoshan and up to the hinterland of Mt. Dabie. The middle radiates from Hefei and Chaohu to the large expanse of area south of the Huaihe River. The eastern ('lower') reach mainly runs along the Yangtze River, and covers the cities and prefectures in Jiangnan.
The Lu Opera developed from popular folk songs in the region and focused more on the story and the emotions of the characters. . As it grew, new creative touches were added to the performance, dance, art and music styles. Despite the slight changes, however, the original form of the opera can still be seen in performances today