Cantonese opera

Cantonese Opera

Cantonese opera is one of the major categories in Chinese opera, originating in southern China’s Cantonese culture. It is popular in Guangdong, 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. 粵劇 (Yuèjù) should not be confused with 越劇 (Yuèjù), the theatre of Zhejiang.
Many well-known operas performed today, such as The Purple Hairpin and Rejuvenation of the Red Plum Flower, originated in the Yuan Dynasty, with the lyrics and scripts in Cantonese. Until the 20th century all the female roles were performed by males.
Beginning in the 1950s massive waves of immigrants fled Shanghai to destinations like North Point . Their arrival boosted the Cantonese opera fanbase significantly.
Till now, the theatre has staged over 400 plays and the classic programs include Searching the Academy, Guan Hanqing and Story of a Mountain Village, etc. Besides, the theatre often organizes activities of creation, research, artistic training, artistic exchange and performance to promote the development of Cantonese Opera.
There are two types of Cantonese opera plays: Mou (武, “martial arts”) and Man (文, “highly educated”, esp. in poetry and culture). Mou plays emphasize war, the characters usually being generals or warriors. These works contain action scenes and involve a lot of weaponry and armour. Man plays tend to be gentler and more elegant. Scholars are the main characters in these plays. Water sleeves (see Frequently Used Terms) are used extensively in man plays to produce movements reflecting the elegance and tenderness of the characters; all female characters wear them. In man plays, characters put a lot of effort into creating distinctive facial expressions and gestures to express their underlying emotions.

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