cantonese-opera
Cantonese Opera

Traditional opera in Hong Kong is primarily done in temporary theaters built from bamboo scaffolding and rolled aluminum sheeting. Electrical lines are then run along the bamboo for house lights and circulating fans. The stage and house are also built from bamboo, giving the floor an uneven spongy feeling. I can’t imagine the support joists are close together because the floor visibly sags as you walk on it.

The opera works freelance and tours around Southern China on about a two year cycle. So we won’t see the next one for a while. They are paid by the village association in full, then the village sells the tickets in blocks to the various families. The families then dispense the tickets to friends and family as gifts. So the opera is less about watching opera and more about showing face during a week long outdoor festival. Which works great ’cause otherwise foreigners like me would never have a chance to see anything like this. And, people who attend the opera don’t seem to pay the actual production much attention and spend most of the time gossiping and eating salty fish on a stick. I prefer the sui yun tze which is a dough ball stuffed with squid and covered with a mayonnaise sauce and seaweed. Very yummy.

02-08-11-shek-o-opera

For the sake of disclosure, I did the drawing and painting a while back and saved them for a day like today when I was being slammed at work. Please forgive me, I promise to actually draw tomorrow. 🙂

Cantonese Opera
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2 thoughts on “Cantonese Opera

  • February 9, 2011 at 1:33 pm
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    That’s interesting, about the temporary theatres. I didn’t know that about traditional opera 🙂

    Reply
    • February 9, 2011 at 6:08 pm
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      Hi Asrai – today’s opera in China operates much like theatre in England back in the early Renaissance: there are a limited number of opera theatre buildings that cater to the wealthy, and popular opera travels wherever work can be found. But to be clear, China also has regular theatres with permanent homes much like in the USA that play “straight” plays. Any how, enough history, hope the Keys treated you well.

      Reply

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