WAMU 88.5 : Global Perspective

Global Perspective: Backstage at the Opera

Play associated audio
The pennants on the costume indicate a high ranking soldier, while the arrow shape between his eyebrows suggests an aggressive character.
Caroline Chan
The pennants on the costume indicate a high ranking soldier, while the arrow shape between his eyebrows suggests an aggressive character.

 

To the untrained ear and eye, Cantonese Opera is bewildering. It’s a highly stylized art form that dates back perhaps eight hundred years and involves complex costumes, elaborate make-up and hair, formalized gestures, story lines from Chinese history and legend along with a vocal style that has almost no common ground with the Western tradition. 

Even in modern Hong Kong, with a population more attuned to hip-hop and Cantopop, the genre can seem remote and difficult. There are audiences, but they are ageing, with most fans over sixty.

The emphasis now is on creating a young audience comfortable with the conventions of Cantonese Opera, although this may mean skipping a generation  - those who are children now are more likely to be the fans of the future than their parents.

RTHK Producer Caroline Chan meets some of those involved in education and hears the story of Li Pui-yan, who gave up a home and hi-tech career in New York for a life of performing in Hong Kong. 

“Backstage at the Opera” was produced and presented for Radio Television Hong Kong by Caroline Chan. Photos courtesy of Caroline Chan.

 

RTHK 2011 Global Perspective Series

WAMU 88.5

Auction Of Artifacts In Paris Stirs Protest At American Indian Museum In D.C.

"It's almost like seeing one of our own tribal members being auctioned off," says a member of California's Hoopa tribe who denounced the auction during an event at the National Museum of the American Indian.

WAMU 88.5

D.C.'s Public Schools Select New Lunch Providers

D.C. Public Schools is abandoning longtime school food provider Chartwells in the wake of allegations of poor food quality and fraud and moving forward with new vendors for 2016. But, questions remain about the selection process and future oversight.

WAMU 88.5

D.C., Maryland, Virginia Take Serious Step Toward Creating Metro Safety Panel

Leaders in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia have agreed on a proposal to create a Metro Safety Commission that is supposed to supplant the Federal Transit Administration’s temporary oversight role. It's a key step in a process that will rely on action in all three jurisdictions' legislatures.

NPR

Reports Peg Tech Billionaire As Funder Of Hulk Hogan's Case Against Gawker

Silicon Valley entrepreneur Peter Thiel is said to be bankrolling the ex-wrestler's lawsuit. Gawker is appealing a jury verdict that awarded Hogan $140 million over the 2012 publication of a sex tape.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.