Chengdu Opera

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 Shufengyayun Sichuan Opera House

As an added bonus, our local guide asked if anyone was interested in attending an opera in the park, our first evening in Chengdu.  The guide called for three taxis and off we went to the Shufengyayun Tea and Art House situated in Qingyang Palace in Chengdu Culture Park.  The admission price was 100 Yuan (about $12).  The show and tea service was worth the admission.

We arrived early and had front row seating for the show.

Sichuanese Opera is a type of Chinese opera originating in China's Sichuan province around 1700.  Regionally Chengdu remains the main home of Sichuanese opera.

In the history of Chinese operas, initially there were 5 distinct opera styles.  The history of each style varies greatly.

At least one of the Chinese operatic styles began as early as the Three Kingdoms period.  During the early 20th century, a revival movement began to reform the art. The best known reformer was Kang Zhilin, who led the Sanqinq (Three Celebrations) Company. This company was one of the most notable opera troupes, established in 1912, and combined the 5 styles into a single opera on the same stage.   Each style retained its own music. One of the classic skills devised by Kang Zhilin included a high kick that leaves a "third eye" in the middle of the forehead. This has remained one of Sichuanese opera's trademark moves.

Overall the art form is well known for its singing, which is less constrained than that of the more popular Beijing opera form. Sichuan opera is more like a play than other forms of Chinese opera, and the acting is highly polished. The music accompanying Sichuanese opera utilizes a small gong and an instrument called a Muqin (Chinese violin).

The traditional formula is quite systematic with a combination of stunts like face-changing,  sword-hiding, fire-spitting and beard-changing with the plot and different characters.

This opera had all the elements as explained above.  We all had a great time, especially with the waiter using the eagle tea can to fill our cups.

Click on a picture to enlarge.

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