Cantonese Opera | Foshan ICH • Charming Lingnan
Foshan China 2023-01-03 10:31

Cantonese opera has a long history. It not only inherits the Chinese opera’s tradition of telling a story by sing and dance performance but also forms its unique style. The opera troupe performances organized by local people absorb the Yiyang, Kunshan, Bangzi and Pihuangqiang as well as the contents of Guangdong folk music and local opera arias. In this way, Cantonese opera gradually has rich Lingnan characteristics and distinctive styles of its own.

After the founding of the People’s Republic of China, Guangdong big opera was named Cantonese opera.

Foshan Viburnum Hall is the earliest guild organization for local troupe artists. The continuous development and formation of local troupes are a prerequisite for the establishment of the Hall. It is also an important symbol of the improvement of Foshan opera organizations.

The model of Viburnum Hall

In the early days of the founding of the People's Republic of China, under the guidance of the literary and artistic policies of the Party and the government, Cantonese opera underwent a series of reforms and excellent traditional arts were promoted. Many famous actors living abroad such as Sit KokSin, Ma Si Tsang, Hung Sin Nui, Kwai Ming Yang returned to China and made outstanding contributions to the reform and development of Cantonese opera. A large number of excellent plays have emerged, and the reform of Cantonese opera has entered a new phase.

During the “Cultural Revolution” from 1966 to 1976, however, Cantonese opera troupes were disbanded. The achievements made from the reform of Cantonese opera after the founding of the country were negated and the opera was seriously damaged. After the fall of the “Gang of Four”, Cantonese opera was gradually restored. The reform and opening up ushered in a second spring for Cantonese opera, with remarkable achievements in the construction of troupes and plays, research on Cantonese opera and cultivation of talents. In 1983, Foshan established the Foshan Cantonese Opera Troupe and the Foshan Youth Cantonese Opera Troupe and created a number of excellent plays such asThe Shunzhi Emperor and Consort Donggo. Many famous actors such as Peng Chiquan, Zeng Hui and Li Shuqin also emerged.

Performance on Wanfutai

The model of Cantonese opera “Red Boats”

The martial arts of Cantonese opera was once a feature of Foshan Cantonese opera

Cantonese opera performance scene on the ceramic tile ridge of the Ancestral Temple

Source | Foshan Intangible Cultural Heritage Database