I got serious doubts on Chinese Opera (Xiqu)?



The Chinese Opera House that Government had proposed recently is being named as Xiqu Center (not in cantonese spelling which led many of us debate about it why on earth is not in our language). 

What is it all about?

Xiqu/Chinese Opera introduction



Opera house built by bamboo

Crew getting the stage ready    Come out and play

Artist exhibits - Handtearing

Handtearing artist in action

West Kowloon had been a designated site for the future Hong Kong cultural district. Long story short, this project has been delayed for over 10 years now still there’s NOT a concrete time table of when the public can use the facilities. Maybe there’s one, but hell…the construction hasn’t begin yet.

The idea of building a cultural district is to increase the awareness and quality of the Hong Kong art/culture in the city. One of the biggest problems is there’s not a strain of DNA related to art/culture in the majority of Hong Kong’s population. They can purchase the most expensive exhibits for the museum, but no one would know how to appreciate them.

Out of many “soon-to-be-extinct” arts in Hong Kong, our Government picked the Chinese Opera to be the center of attraction. And from my photo series, what you see is a temporary opera house built by bamboo to bring back the memories for the old-timers. There’re also various booths with young and old artists to promote their gifted skills as well as raising the overall awareness of the local culture.

While the Chinese Opera is a performance with highly trained/skilled performers, it’s nothing like the Shakespeare or Les Miserable. The Chinese opera has not gained enough exposure in the international level. I’m sure it’s the reason what they’re die-trying. Sadly, the problem I see is; there’s just not enough narration over different known operas. No international folks could understand unless someone explains the story, background, characters…etc.

The costumes and makeups in the Chinese Opera are unique, it’s very original. All the characters dressed like a warrior with war paint of some sort. An actor/actress in the opera has to be physically flexible, agile in order to do all the moves. If you ever hear some of the living masters in this industry speak, you’d know they call their principle and way of performing – an art.

Is the opera really that exciting and for everyone?
I can justify as I’m not a fan of the Chinese Opera. My sister loves the western opera and I do not know since when she’s fond of the Chinese opera as well. The Chinese Opera is definitely not a mainstream act. I only see performances of it once or twice a year on TV when there’s a fundraising program.

Another problem I see is that, there’s not of talents entering in this industry. Actors/actresses have to be trained in early age – around 10 or even younger. Who would put their children as a Chinese Opera performer as their lifetime profession? Unless he/she is very gifted or else…nope. It’s rare and odd. Do we have enough teachers in this industry anyway? I’m only worried if we do not have a well laid out road map, how are we going to sustain this lost art? Even if the public do not know anything about it, there’s not going to be many audience as the older generation age out. I do sound very pessimistic, it’s still a fact we must face.

What is Xiqu?

It was a very short visit and I did not see the opera. I’m sure this place would be totally different at night! My opinion still hold the same.

6 thoughts on “I got serious doubts on Chinese Opera (Xiqu)?

  1. Well the bamboo structure is interesting. I have to say that the opera isn’t doing too well here either. They have been investing a lot in trying to make it more accessible to the common people. Many aren’t interested in anything unless it has something to do with celebrity or it’s been on TV these days. Opera here is reportedly gaining a larger audience but it is still seen as quite an elitist pastime here. Interesting to get a view from elsewhere!

    1. exactly. i cannot imagine but only hope someone really young and good looking can become the new blood. So art like this can still pass on to another generation

  2. I’m planning to visit the temporary bamboo theater and fair next week. Am I understanding the back-story about the to-be-constructed cultural center being called “Xiqu” with the Mandarin spelling/pronunciation? Yikes! I can guess that would upset quite a few Hongkongers.

    1. trying going there in the early evening when the light is on. It’s best to walk from the Jordam mtr station.

      I’m a little upset by the mandarin name being used although it’s shorter and easier for non-Chinese speakers to remember…i just think that a spelling of certain words represent the place we are at.

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