The Liuzi Opera, which is also called the Beidiaozi and Kangbozi, is popular in areas of Shangdong and Henan provinces, as well as northern Jiangsu, southern Hebei and northern Anhui provinces. It developed from Central Plain folk tunes. Since "liuzi" was taken as its representative tune, the opera became known as Liuzi Opera. It peaked during the mid-Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).
The Liuzi Opera is a combination of folk melody and liuzi tune. It is usually accompanied by a sanxian (three stringed instrument), a flute and a sheng (a kind of woodwind instrument). When it was developing, the liuzi opera also absorbed elements from other folk operas, such as gaoqiang, qingyangqiang and luantan.
Presently there are more than 200 traditional plays, such as 'Sunandongben' and 'Jinsuoji'. The roles are clearly divided into sheng (male role), dan (female role) and chou (clown or comic role).
The Liuzi Opera is highly valuable for studying China's northern theatre as well as Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) folk tunes. However, now there is only one troupe left and the art form is in great need of protection