An outstanding art form is not established solely on the basis of advanced theories. It depends also on the appreciation of it by the people. In the case of the Chinese drama, the audience is the basis of its survival and growth. The addiction to it by its fans is caused as much by the skills of the actors as by the enthusiasm of the fans. The Chinese drama is characterized by an organic entirety, which comprises not only the script, performing skills and music, but also the relationship between the actors and the watchers. Traditionally, particularly in the Chinese theatres of olden days, the Chinese theatres allowed the audience to behave rather freely. The audience sat very near the stage. Whenever the actors made a graceful movement or sang a wonderful aria on the stage, ardent cheers broke out among the audience: “Hao! Hao!” (“Great! Great!”) to encourage the actors as well as to vent the audience’s enthusiasm.
The Chinese operatic singing is rather stylized with respect to its tunes, so the audience can understand and appreciate it readily. On the other hand different actors have different timbres and different ways, so arias sung by different actors have different timbres and different ways, so arias sung by different actors often produce their peculiar charms. Having heard an aria, the audience often ponders over it and hums the same tune later. Because of this, the Chinese drama is able to draw an ever increasing audience.
Beside, as a part of the overall Chinese cultural system, the Chinese drama was ingrained with the trait of the overall Chinese culture. The dramatic effects were gained chiefly through the literary grace of the script and the charm of the melodies. So it had the effects of the narrative poems enhanced by a melodious flavor. For instance, the aria “Taking a Stroll in Garden” in the opera “The Peony Pavilion” displayed the lyrical passion entertained by Du Liniang in spring. Again, the most touching act in the “Phoenix Tree Rain Louis Vuitton” recounted lyrically the enduring thoughts of the Emperor Ming for his imperial concubine Lady Yang. The sequences of the plots in the Chinese drama were often treated as short interludes, which were quite contrary to the Western dramatic treatments.