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Meet the women who are reviving the 'disappearing' art of Chinese opera14/3/2023
Meet the women who are reviving the 'disappearing' art of Chinese opera It takes Chinese opera singer Gabrielle Chan at least one and a half hours to get ready for a performance.To get more news about woman in ancient china, you can visit shine news official website.
"I have a lot of layers to put on — base foundation, then powder, a layer of colour and another layer of colour, and then finally a touch-up," she says — and that's just the make-up.
There are also hairstyles to craft, as well as ornate headdresses and elaborate costumes to don.
"Because of my age, my skin is drooping," she adds, "so there's a lot of face to lift with a lot of sticky tape."There are more than 100 distinct forms of Chinese opera – Peking from northern China, Kunqu from the east, and Sichuan from the west.
In fact, Peking opera was inscribed on UNESCO's list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2010, demonstrating its importance to world culture. Gabrielle has been performing the Cantonese style from southern China for the past 30 years.Chinese operas use minimalist sets, which means characters and stories need to be expressed through extravagant clothes and specific movements.
"A Chinese opera is told with imagination because the only scenery that we see is usually an embroidered backdrop," theatre and costume historian Fiona Reilly explains.Through this ancient art form, stories of great heroes and battles, myths and folklore, have been told for generations.
"The lyrics are so beautiful," Gabrielle says, explaining her attraction to the art form. "One tiny, little paragraph and it just helps me so much. There's a lot of subtext. You have to drill down, just like poetry. There's all this imagination."
With the addition of "exquisite and colourful costumes" and make-up, Gabrielle believes there isn't anyone who wouldn't fall in love with Chinese opera.Chinese opera has a long history, with its popularity reaching its peak in the 13th century during the Song dynasty.
Originally, it was performed for the general public but it became more exclusive over the centuries, with performances reserved for imperial courts. Then there was the Cultural Revolution.
Shirley Chan, an associate professor in Chinese Studies at Macquarie University, says this period did real damage to Chinese opera.Since then, generations of Chinese people have had limited exposure to the art form.
"This particular art form is in danger of disappearing or not keeping up the number of audience," she says. "There were more than 300 Chinese opera styles that existed, but in the 21st century the government could only identify 162.It is building more theatres across the country and giving out free tickets to school students.
A popular reality television program, The Voice of China, even created a special series highlighting Yueju opera, which originated in the Zhejiang province and was later popularised in Shanghai.
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