I went to the Chinese Opera. Actually a talk about Chinese Opera, and a scene performed. It was fascinating.
I met a woman last week at the FOM group I joined. Laurie is from Calgary, her husband is in oil and gas, and they have lived in Scotland before this. We talked briefly at the meeting, and she had a very rough start too. Empty nest, adjusting to here, and new role of "wife of". It isn't easy. But she is through the worst. As am I. (Just this damn pain. But I have wonderful distractions.)
This morning was one. Laurie invited me to an event put on by the Canadian Association (women in Singapore, that come from Canada. They have meetings, tours, book clubs, etc-). We met in Chinatown, at a Chinese tea house. The director gave us a talk on Chinese Opera. Explained how each area of China has their own style- Shanghai, Quongchou, Beijing, etc. The opera is a play, in that most is spoken, but in a nasal singsong style. The costumes she explained. Some have very long sleeves. Almost like the lining of the already big sleeves, came out and hang down. They are called water sleeves. You can do so much with them! Such subtle movements of these water sleeves tell a whole story, wavy like water, flipped over to say hello, flipped a different way to say goodbye, shake to show fear, a different way to show anger, rolled up different ways. Amazing what they call tell. Warriors do not have water sleeves. (clue as to who is who)
The operas tell stories of history, legends, and fiction. The women take two hours to paint their face, stick on hair pieces (with gum bark). Female role has very thin eyebrows, very arched, maybe held taut with scotch tape!, male has thicker eyebrows. Another clue as to who is who. The embroidery on the very elaborate costumes tells much. Dragons- male. Phoenix- female. Wedding -red. White- ghost. Black- the bad guy. The male wear boots, with very high wooden platform (like 6"), female silk slippers with a tassel. There is an amazing dying art of face-changing. It is truly like magic. She showed us a performance on video. The guy turns with his back to you, and comes back with a very elaborate painted face in completely different colours. We watched him do this 4-5 times. It was amazing. She described the meaning of the painted faces. That tells you more about the story. I haven't seen my photos yet but I hope when I post them you can see the masks in the background, with the different "styles" of face painting.
Then two women played a "Romeo/Juliet" kind of scene. I videoed it but not sure you will be able to play it. But I will try.
I think I have used the word amazing a few times. To have a lovely social event be so educational. And you like me have probably seen some Chinese opera and had no idea what was going on.
After the morning we went to a restaurant and had amazing Laotian food! What a morning!