November 19, 2006

Street Opera

This cantonese street opera at Chinatown is into its 11th day today (Saturday, 18 Nov) with 3 more days to go. So far I have watched only one night show. For a street opera, the ticket prices are expensive, from $4 to $25. There is only one row of $4 seats – the last row. I heard that the male lead from HK is also very expensive; someone told me $1500 per day and he only performs the night shows during weekdays.

The enclosure is very very warm and humid even though the three sides are open and the fans are working full speed. One good thing is the floor plan – from the row nearest the stage the floor slopes upwards so that everyone gets a clear view of the stage.

At one end of the field is the opera show and at the other end the religious rites of the ‘San Wang Wu Ti’ sect are carried out.

In the past years there was also a Hokkien opera (for 3 or 4 days) going on during the same period in an adjacent field in conjunction with the religious celebrations of another Taoist sect. The juxtaposition of these different operas in the same area and together with the fervent religious activities going on presents a unique Singapore Experience.

But this year there is only one vacant field. I don’t know where the Hokkien opera has been moved to.

Saturday afternoon I went down to have a look. It was extremely hot. But there were quite a lot of opera-crazed people outside and inside the enclosure enduring the oppressive heat to watch the opera.


Anonymous said...

fu hai building got tentage

Victor said...

In the olden days, there was no tentage for the audience of a street opera. Even chairs were not provided. We sat on our own chairs or wooden boxes which we brought along. We had to reserve a good seat early in the day. But then, the operas were free for all.

Near where I stayed (Cheng Yan Place) there was a yearly Cantonese opera show near the junction with Queen Street. On my street itself, there were yearly getai shows.

qa said...

saw the show on the last night - full house...Long Quantian got another $3000 'cash gift'. Heard the organizer will engage him again next year.