April 28, 2010

Fuzhou : Min Opera (Pin Ju)

After a lovely lunch we headed towards a Pin Ju Theatre or Min Opera Theatre whose consultant is non other than our talented Mr. Huong (who is also an opera singer).I was literally transported to another transfixing fantasy world!! Mesmerizing indeed! Good music! Happy and sad stories! Intelligent bantering! Beautiful performance.

Yeh Fang standing at the beautiful door. The Chinese signage says "Fuzhou City Opera Troupe"

This is the frontage of the lovely refurbished Foochow opera theatre funded by the government and supported by the Foochows.

The wooden structure is the public gallery of the Foochow Opera House. All wood and very airy this is of the ancient design.  It overlooks the main hall downstairs. In the olden days landlords and wealthy families (sponsors of the shows) would have the front seats in the main hall and drink their tea while being served by their servants. The poor people crashed in and would stand shoulder to shoulder here to have a view of the beautiful opera. Today it is a nice verandah but its function is still the same except that there are fewer viewers and interested fans looking for a place here. Fans now can sit in  main hall which can sit more than 300 .

Mr. Huong welcoming us with the manageress of the theatre standing on his left. On his right is Wong Meng Lei looking at a Fuzhou product. The performance was personally and specially arranged by Mr. Huong for the visiting Foochows from Sibu. We are indeed very honoured by this welcome and warm gesture. One of a kind in this world.

This is the opening number - fairies landing on Fuzhou!! with all the major musical instruments. I have only seen this kind of performance on CCTV9 (but in a different dialect)!!

This young man is very talented and is following his famous father's footsteps - sing Foochow opera songs with the help of bamboo clappers  and  bronze gongs.

This is a beautiful and young singer who sings as she plays the very complicated Chinese "Chen" a string instrument.

"Chi liu pek liu mae bi hook chiu......" (Say that in Foochow) Do you know what that is?

It is so good to see young and beautiful people taking up the challenge to perform in Min Opera.

A part of the audience - obviously enjoying a great afternoon of Foochow entertainment - the benefits were greatly felt by the Sibu visitors.

Min opera, known as Fuzhou drama, is one of major operas in Fujian Province. It enjoys a good popularity in Fuzhou, Middle Fujian, East Fujian and North Fujian where Fuzhou dialect is spoken, as well as in Taiwan and Malaysia and Indonesia. It became one of the major Chinese operas (besides the most famous Peking Opera) in the early 20th Century.

The music for voices in Min Opera mainly consists of Yangge, Jianghudiao, Douqiang and Xiaodiao, with accompanying musical instruments including horizontal flute, suona, touguan, erhu, yehu, Qing drum, war drum, gongs, cymbals and chime stone.

Roles in Min Opera are also classified into "12 roles": Xiao-sheng (handsome gentlemen), Lao-sheng (virtuous old men), Wu-sheng (young warriors), Qing-yi (sedate ladies with dignity), Hua-dan (either vivacious young girls or viragos), Lao-dan (old females), Da-hua (actor with a painted face, category I), Er-hua (actor with a painted face, category II), San-hua (actor with a painted face, category III), Tie, Mo and Za.

There are more than 1000 plays of Min Opera, most of which originates from folk tales, historical novels or ancient legends, including such traditional plays as "Making Seal", "The Purple Jade Hairpin" and "Switching Fairy Peach with Litchi".

(You can improve your Foochow dialect by attending this kind of performances!)


fufu said...

not many audiences ya... gotta think how to attract the young ones to take part!!

Sarawakiana@2 said...

There were about 50 in the audience and 8 of us from Sarawak. It was a special performance too and the opera troupe came with full costumes. Very impressive. Dance and drama specialists are highly paid in China nowadays. Actresses can donate up to millions for earthquake victims. Very commendable.
There are lots of tuition schools for dance and drama!!

天鵝江畔 said...

this is a very special arrangment for out tour from Sibu

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Thanks....it was really good and will be in my heart and mind forever...May be I will never be able to see a real one like this again in my life!

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