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Guangdong’s traditional features—Cantonese opera

InternChina – Chinese Culture

Hi everyone,I am Xavier song. I come from Guangzhou, China. I studied in Australia for 5 years, in June this year I came back to China. Right now I am working for Zhuhai branch of InternChina. Due to the fact I am Cantonese I would like to introduce what Cantonese opera is all about.

Why Cantonese opera is an interest of mine
Whenever I am overseas or in China, I still remember when was young my grandpa always took me to watch the Cantonese opera. But I did not understand why those actors put very exaggerated make- up on their faces (honestly the actors of Cantonese opera scared the hell outta me when I was 10 years old!). But now im grown up my grandpa tells me more about the history and info about Cantonese opera. So right now I am a Professor of Cantonese opera here to teach you.

InternChina – Opera

Where does the opera come from?
Cantonese opera is one of the major categories in Chinese opera, originating in southern China’s Cantonese culture. It is popular in Zhuhai, Guangxi, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore and Malaysia. Like all versions of Chinese opera, it is a traditional Chinese art form, involving music, singing, martial arts, acrobatics and acting.

What is history of Cantonese opera?
There is a debate about the origins of Cantonese opera, but it is generally accepted that opera was brought from the northern part of China and slowly migrated to the southern province of Guangdong in late 13th century, during the late Southern Song Dynasty. In the 12th century, there was a theatrical form called “Southern style” (Chinese: 南戏 (Mandarin Bingying : Nanxi), which was performed in public theatres of Hangzhou, then capital of the Southern Song Dynasty. With the invasion of the Mongol army, Emperor Gong of Song dynasty, called Zhao Xian, fled with hundreds of thousands of Song people into the province of Guangdong in 1276 AD . Among these people were some Nan xi artists from the north. Thus Nan xi was brought into Guangdong by these artists and helped with the development of opera traditions in this region . Many well-known operas are still performed today, such as The Purple Hairpin and Rejuvenation of the Red Plum Flower both originated in the Yuan Dynasty, with the lyrics and scripts in Cantonese. Until the 20th century all the female roles were performed by males. There are four types of roles: Sang, Dan, Zing, and Cou.

Where I can watch that in Zhuhai?
If you interested about the Cantonese opera and also you want to watch that drama, right now I can tell you guys the address in Zhuhai. Hope you guys can spare an evening to enjoy this truly Chinese event.

If you want to learn more about certain aspects of Chinese culture then you can look here
If you want to come and experience the culture for yourself then get yourself an internship in China… you can apply here!
Hope to hear from you soon!