Saturday, July 21, 2012

Song and Music (This week's Photo Hunt themes)

I'm listening to a CD of Dinah Washington songs -- that includes one that I will forever associate with Wong Kar Wai's Chungking Express -- as I write this week's entry for Sandi's and Gattina's Photo Hunts.  However, it's the music that I associate with other Hong Kong movies -- such as Shu Kei's Hu-Du-Men -- that is the focus of this blog entry.

The music of Cantonese opera is one that quite a few people find discordant rather than tuneful but this traditional Chinese art form really does have its dedicated fans here in Hong Kong along with venues dedicated to hosting performances of it (notably the Sunbeam Theatre that has kept on going despite numerous closure threats along with the Ko Shan Theatre and the newly re-opened Yau Ma Tei Theatre).

Cantonese opera also is performed in temporary structures -- known as bamboo theatres -- that are regularly erected on occasions of Chinese festivals such as Taoist deity Tin Hau's birthday.  While visiting Cheung Chau -- a charming outlying Hong Kong island where movies such as the very sweet Just One Look were set -- a few days before Tin Hau's birthday this year, I came across a large bamboo theater located by a seaside temple and, upon stepping inside, found a performance in progress and an audience for it made up of people young as well as old.    

For my part, I have to admit that I appreciate Cantonese opera's cultural components -- and such as the costumes, hand-painted backdrops and the accompanying percussion music -- more than the actual singing and songs. At the same time though, that's truly been enough to keep me entertained through a couple of more than 3 hour long shows that I've attended!  Also, I have grown to enjoy the sound along with sight of middle-aged solitary hikers out in the Hong Kong countryside who often have a portable radio blaring out Cantonese opera music as they make their way along a trail -- and reckon that they add something colorful and special to the overall landscape of the Big Lychee when doing so! :)


magiceye said...

beautiful images!!

Vicki said...

Wonderful pictures. Must be a sight to see and hear.

My song is at

Gattina said...

Nice pictures, love the costume !
I have also seen the "Cirque de Peking" in Brussels which was a wonderful performance !

YTSL said...

Hi magiceye --

Thanks for thinking so. :)

Hi Vicki --

Thanks. And BTW, forgot to add that admission to the performances in bamboo theaters is usually free! :)

Hi Gattina --

Cirque de Peking -- is that Peking Opera or circus? Either way, can imagine that it'd be wonderful. :)

LifeRamblings said...

The make up and costumes of these opera never fail to impress me!
As for their songs, I've difficulty understanding them.

Anonymous said...

Great shots for this week's theme.

Have a super weekend.

Susan Demeter said...

The costumes, stories and the music sound wonderful, and I do agree they would add beautifully to the cultural landscape. :)

Hootin Anni said...

I like these photo shares a lot!!!

My Photo Hunter's SONG

Carver said...

Great post for the theme. I love the photographs and interesting topic too. I like discordant music so I'm sure I'd like Cantonese opera. I've only seen bits of it in movies but I have responded to the little I've seen.

Genny said...

Good choice for the theme. Mine is up too. Happy weekend.

Trekcapri said...

Hi YTSL, lovely post and a very beautiful photo collection. The bamboo theatre is fascinating. The structure is very unique looking and cool. I love the colors, makeup and sets.

Music adds so much to our lives.
Have a great weekend.

YTSL said...

Hi LifeRamblings --

I've difficulty understanding what's being sung too -- but fortunately in Hong Kong, some Chinese opera shows (as well as Western opera ones) come with English surtitles. :)

Hi JDeQ --

Thanks, and hope you have a weekend that's to your liking too. :)

Hi Sue --

...and they add something to the physical landscape too, don't you think? :b

Hi Hootin Anni --

I'm glad to learn that you do. :)

Hi Carver --

I must admit that I prefer the music of huangmei (yellow plum) opera -- which I find more melodic. But Cantonese opera (and Beijing opera) sure has nice costumes, etc. :)

Hi Genny --

Thanks and yes, I've gone and made a reciprocal blog visit. :)

Hi Trekcapri --

I'm glad this week's Photo Hunt themes allowed me to make use of those photos. And hear, hear re music adding so much to our lives. :)

Horsoon said...

I love Chinese opera too, but can't say I fully understand them :-/ On stage, i like the costumes, elaborated makeups, choreography and all, but I appreciate the 'stories' more on TV/video, because the subtitles help a lot, LOL!

You are so lucky in HK as you have more opportunities to appreciate this art.

Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe said...

A beautiful post... as usual~

I hope to see y'all next Saturday... There will be a 'joker' next weekend!


YTSL said...

Hi Horsoon --

I am indeed lucky in Hong Kong with many Chinese opera opportunities and more. Incidentally, there's a Chinese Opera Festival going on right now -- so one can see different regional operas, not just the Cantonese one native to Hong Kong!

Also, last night, I went and watched a movie at the Hong Kong Film Archive called "The Spooky Bunch" -- and it centered on a Cantonese opera troupe haunted by ghosts on their visit to none other than Cheung Chau to perform! :O

Hi Sandi --

Thanks for visiting and checking out this Photo Hunt entry and many from previous weeks. :)

Annie said...

Thanks for this introduction to Cantonese Opera. Nice photos too!

YTSL said...

Hi Annie --

You're welcome re the introduction -- and thanks for reading as well as looking. :)