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Dinner and opera

By Liu Zhihua ( China Daily ) Updated: 2015-06-09 07:29:53

Dinner and opera

Customers dine at Courtyard Bistro while enjoying a Peking Opera show. [Photo by Feng Yongbin/China Daily]

On Friday nights throughout summer, Courtyard Bistro is combining classic Chinese dishes with an onstage cultural performances. Liu Zhihua soaks up the scene.

Beijing has a vast number of hotels and restaurants, but Courtyard Bistro at the Red Wall Garden Hotel stands out for titillating both the eyes and the palate with its Chinese style.

That is especially true in summer, when traditional dramas and folk music are staged every Friday night, right through to October, on an open stage at the hotel.

Red Wall Garden Hotel opened in 2010 in Shijia Hutong, a historical Beijing area near Wangfujing shopping street. It is in the heart of the city but still manages to feel far from the hustle and bustle of the capital.

Resembling a large courtyard home, or siheyuan, the hotel radiates tranquility with its classic wooden furniture and exquisitely carved wooden windows, doors and stairways.

The bistro, surrounded by light-brown wood-frame buildings, is cozy, with comfortable rattan tables and chairs scattered casually in front of the open-air courtyard.

It serves about 60 diners at a sitting. Usually about half of the diners are hotel guests while the rest are Chinese or expats from all corners of Beijing who share an interest in Chinese culture, says Cao Ran, the hotel's publicist.

The Friday-night show included a 15-minute excerpt of the Peking Opera Guifei Zuijiu (Drunk Beauty). Peking Opera is a must-see for tourists in Beijing, and Guifei Zuijiu is one of the classics. The short excerpt gives foreigners a taste of the art form. The show also features snippets of face-changing from Sichuan Opera, folk music, shadow play, and some very engaging street vendors selling their wares.

I enjoyed dinner while watching the show.

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