Ancient Storytelling, Cantonese Opera – Wellington Chinese Operatic Society Inc.
It’s been around a couple thousand years and may have even been the original inspiration behind Romeo and Juliet! Chinese opera is a traditional art form that originated in Northern China. It involves highly stylised singing, music, acting, acrobatics and martial arts. It evolved and spread to Southern China during the Southern Song Dynasty, late in the 13th century to become Cantonese Opera.
Chinese opera travelled to New Zealand with the first sojourners from Canton, now known as Guandong, Southern China around a hundred years ago. The NZ Wellington Chinese Operatic Society Inc. was founded in 1998 by a group of friends passionate about keeping traditional Chinese art forms alive in New Zealand. Since then, this group have successfully toured and performed across New Zealand.
Lynda’s met with Tony Tse, performers Stan Chan, Professor Liu, his 11-year-old daughter Cathy and the group as they warm-up during rehearsals for a performance at the Little Theatre in Lower Hutt. Elaborate make-up is applied and costumes are donned over a four hour period in preparation for marathon performances of some Chinese classics.
Their next performances will be in Auckland in early October and at the Confucius Institute in Wellington in late October, 2012.
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