2015-08-29 – Hong Kong Exorcising The Ghost
Aspect Ratio: 3:2
Hong Kong Exorcising The Ghost
Hong Kong Chinese opera also called Cantonese Opera is over 300 years of local tradition. Today the art form is facing an aging audience that’s not being taken up by the youth. The art form is complex on many levels. The performances can last for hours and often held during certain local cultural such as the Yu Lan Ghost Festival held on seventh moon in the Chinese lunar calendar, on the 14th day. The opera is held in temporary bamboo theaters that are built specially for the show such as in the case of this image taken in local park in To Kwa Wan, Kowloon.
Water sleeves is the name of the fabric on the arms that gives the image of water gently moving. In Chinese opera the actor has to use every prop to help tell the story.
Actors get a literal facelift: They use tape to pull back the skin from their faces, enlarging their eyes and smoothing out wrinkles as evident in this image that I focused on.
Cantonese opera is not the same as Beijing opera. Cantonese opera is story telling that can be a little hard on Western ears. There are lots of unique sounds with heavy percussion gongs and bangs that is often new to ones ear.
As a photographer I find the facial expressions and costumes to be well worth capturing. The singers have to learn four skills; singing, acting, speaking and martial arts as they are very much multi-talented performers.
Listed in 2009 as part of UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
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