The Hong Kong Unofficial Guide

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Cantonese Opera

Above: A scene in a Cantonese opera presented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department of Hong Kong.

Cantonese opera is a traditional art popular among the older generation. But with the passing of popular opera singers and song writers, it has been on the decline over the years. Nowadays it's performed in very few places in Hong Kong, especially with the actors and actresses in full costume.

The stories are almost always set in ancient China when there were still kings, and when battles were fought with swords and spears. One of the most popular is that about a princess marrying, and immediately discovering her country overrun by a foreign army before their physical union. As an act of patriotism and preservation of her chastity, she and her husband drank poisoned wine and became butterflies after their deaths.

Many westerners don't care for Cantonese opera, finding it sounding whining. I guess like western operas, it is an acquired taste. But if you just want to give it a try, sometimes it is performed in Sunbeam Theatre in North Point. After all, the cost is probably not outrageous. Unfortunately there may not be any English subtitles nor English printed programs.


Above: There are very few places where you can watch Cantonese opera. But Sunbeam Theatre in North Point is one.
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