March 22, 2010
the street opera scene
The street opera at Sims Drive ended on Sunday after 12 shows in 6 days. There were two other street opera performances during the same period at Whampoa and Toa Payoh but I don't know the exact locations.
I asked three friends where the places were and they gave me very vague answers - "lorong 7 or 8, near temple", "at Kim Keat, nearby is a hawkers' centre", "this one you take bus 124 to the terminal and the other one you take bus155 from your estate and you will see it".
Actually I need to know the name of the road and the name of the temple or landmark or the number of the nearest block so I can look it up on the map.
I went to the one at Sims Drive. The lead artistes, Lau Wai Meng and Kwok Feng Yee, were the same as the previous two (or more) years. The audience I guess were also about the same.
I talked to an elderly man. He said he was one year older than MM Lee. Apart from his big stomach, he looks healthy enough - eyesight OK, hearing OK, joints OK, memory OK. I told him that is very good already.
He said he came every year and his main purpose was to meet old friends and neighbours who used to stay with him at the kampong. However, he lamented, the number of old friends and neighbours he met has been dwindling. Not surprising, I thought, as most of them must be around his age or at least 70 and not many are as healthy as he is.
Just as Singapore does not have enough babies, we don't have enough young cantonese opera fans to replace old ones. As old fans get older and are unable to come, the attendance at opera shows drops. This is inevitable. Furthermore, the younger fans are not as passionate as older fans. Some old fans could watch opera shows for 14 days or more in a row whether street opera or in a theatre.
The orchestra ...