Nuo opera varies much from place to place because local culture and customs has a great influence on the forms, masks, costumes and conventions of Nuo opera. Generally, Nuo opera can be categorized as follows: Guizhou, Jiangxi, Anhui, and Yunnan.
Nuo opera of Guizhou
Guizhou is the center of Nuo drama in southwestern China due to its long Nuo opera history and abundant repertoire. In Anshun, a city in Guizhou, Nuo opera is the primary entertainment activity. Musical instruments include one gong and one drum. The drummer is a very important role during a performance. A patch of land serves as a stage. As a result, Guizhou Nuo is also called dixi (ground opera).
The only two occasions for the performance of Nuo opera are at the Spring Festival (Chinese New Year) and at the middle of the 7th moon when rice tassels. The religious meaning is obvious. People hope the Nuo opera can drive away bad luck and bring a good harvest. Year after year, numerous locals are attracted to this performance.
Sometimes a drama can last a dozen days. As is true in most other areas, Nuo Drama in Tunbu is the privilege of men to perform. The moment a dancer puts on his mask, he will not speak or act casually since putting on a mask means the spirit is on him already.