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The Cantonese Opera Tradition

Aditya Valvi, Author

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Ancient Chinese theatre originated as a form of drama to make sense of the world and nature - the singing and dancing a ritual to appease deities that could not be placated or understood. Millenia from that point in time, today, Cantonese opera stands proud as one of China's finest, best known and most wide-spread theatrical traditions. This art form combines beautiful singing and dancing, elaborate costumes, rich pageantary thrilling displays of martial arts all woven into dramas based on historical episodes and legends. The painted masks and faces used by the ancients have entrenched themselves as part of the operatic tradition and bring layers of symbolism to the performances.

This book has been written and is meant to be read from the point of view of a person who has no formal education in Cantonese opera but is drawn towards its exiting, multi-faceted existence in the annals of history. What I wish to impart is a conceptual stepping stone for the reader to balance upon before treading into the world of Cantonese opera.

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