WONDROUS WORLD OF CHINESE OPERA
Welcome to the wondrous, exciting and extraordinary world of Chinese opera. It is a magical world of enchantment that is truly unique. This may be a first and unusual experience for many of you. We hope that it will be one that you will always remember and cherish.
Chinese opera is an experience quite different from Western opera in that it combines singing, dancing, acrobatics, clowning, pantomime and martial arts. In essence, it is “total” theatre. Chinese opera is older than Western opera. It has a heritage of over 5000 years. Many operas date back to the Tan dynasty. Just about everything about classical Chinese opera is distinctive—the music, acting, gestures, makeup, and magnificent costumes.
IN CANTONESE OPERA IT IS RARE THAT AN OPERA IS REPEATED TWO DAYS IN SUCCESSION
A different opera is performed each day. This requires vast memory retention and physical stamina. Unlike “Phantom of the Opera” which had over 2000 repeated performances daily in San Francisco for over five years.
Unlike Western stage, the Chinese stage is simple in form. It is the duty of the performers to activate the audience’s imagination. Audience interaction is essential. A performer entering from the left side of the stage (stage right for the performer) represents entrance from the outside/exterior, and stage left entrance (audience’s right) generally means entrance from the interior or another area.
We hope this brief introduction of Chinese opera has enhanced and inspired an appreciation for a wonderful and magnificent performing art. Welcome to the mystical and wondrous world of Chinese opera. Thank you for sharing this classical and unique performing art experience with us.