Last weekend I was chitchatting with an elderly woman at the Chinatown street opera show. She said she lives far away. But she said she came down to see both the afternoon and night shows almost everyday spending about S$200 on them. I said jokingly that she could book a room in a cheap hotel nearby for the two weeks. Surprisingly, she said she would if she were rich.
The two leading 'stars' did not perform in the afternoon shows on weekdays. The second-line sheng and dan performed the lead roles on weekday matinees, which were not well-attended. So I think the woman really likes to watch opera. She said she also liked Long Koon Tin, the lead sheng of the shows, because he was lively and performed well. And she has been watching him, as well as some other artistes, for years. Also she has been watching these street shows since she was a young girl.
I also learned from her that .....
Many years ago the organizers also invited other shengs, like Ng Chin Feng, to perform. But it seemed that in recent years the audience preferred Long Koon Tin. Maybe because of this and some other reasons, it has been Long Koon Tin for the past several years.
Still further back, the shows used to last for 2 or 3 months, then reduced to 1 month and then to 3 weeks and now 2 weeks.
So, if you want to do a project on street opera you should go to a street opera show and interview fanatic fans like her. They are quite happy to tell you of the good old opera days. Some of them might also have some old posters or pictures to show you.