July 12, 2007

邵振環 Siu Chan Wan

The first artiste in the second row is Siu Chan Wan.

Chun See wrote about ‘disappearing wayang stages’ in his blog and there was mention of a Cantonese opera artiste Siu Chan Wan. People commented that he was very good. I have also heard about him but know little about him and I watched him perform once only.

Here are two comments from Chun See’s blog (Link at the column on the right.) -

1. I think Siew Chan Wan is almost 80 and still plays a young scholar in the local scene. No doubt he is good but to see him playing a young hero (with limited movements) is a heartache. I had a picture of him playing as a young lady (mah j) and mind you, he looks 'pretty'.

2. I recall that "Siew Chan Wan" was very popular, had numerous Cantonese opera fans, and commanded a huge fee then, and apparently must be booked months or a year in advance.

I looked up my ‘opera archive’ and found the poster above. He is from Malaysia. He came in 2002 to perform at the 145th anniversary of Pat Wor Wui Kun. He performed an excerpt with a HK artiste. That was the one I watched. I remember there was some funny part. At that time I thought he was in his late 60s. I could imagine in his younger days, with his good looks and good skills, he must be the idol of many opera fans.

But I also share the sentiment that an elderly opera artiste should not play the role of someone who is, say 45 years younger. There may be exceptions. Senior citizens taking up opera mainly for recreation or leisure are also exceptions.


Alan Wong said...


You are entitled to your opinion regarding old artistes but honestly I beg to differ. My own view is that we should give them the due respect and it is an honour for him to be invited to perform especially consider his age is more than 80 years old. When I was much younger, I remember watching him perform at 7th month wayang stage operas in Penang and he must be good enough to have his group of loyal fans.

It is not easy to perform cantonese operas at that age especially with those long lyrics to memorise and we should really accord them the full respect that they really deserve. Think for yourself what can you really do if you have reached that kind of age.

fr said...

Thanks, I appreciate your views although I don't agree with all of them.

qa said...

We respect our elder artistes and appreciate the sacrifice they makede but this is a different issue from them performing young roles.

It is ok if they do ocasionally but if they often play leading roles as youngsters roles,then not the same.

I don't think audience enjoy seeing someone 65 or 70 acting a teenager. Some people like their fans also feel uncomfortable seeing their idols doing so. Young people think it weird. Not good for chinese opera promotion.

Their voice and movement also not as good as before.

Eleanor said...

I've seen him perform when I was a kid and even then I thought he was a bit past it for the young scholar scenes. I saw him in The Paeony Pavilion and he was excellent.