By Keqiao Cheng, EDITOR
The traditional Chinese culture is a real surprise box. And the Sichuan Opera, as one of those surprises, arrived in Spain and amazed the local people there from September 29 to October 9.
Sichuan Opera is a style with original music and a colorful repertoire that represents subtle interpretive skills. In Madrid, Valencia, Saragossa, and other Spanish cities, and thanks to the collaboration of the Headquarters of the Confucius Institutes (Hanban), the artists from southwest China’s Chongqing city were able to perform in the Mediterranean country.
The repertoire of the musical exhibition is based on classical themes and compositions. You can appreciate the body movements such as turning, falling, flapping or wallowing, which are also magnificent skills that are worth contemplating. The artistic ensemble is made up of students and professors from the University of Chongqing, China.
In these shows, the Spanish audience had the opportunity to enjoy the most famous pieces of Sichuan Opera, such as Stealing the Immortal Grass (Legend of the White Snake), Chu Waist, Palace of Eternal Life, among others.
It’s worth mentioning the most peculiar and magical face-changing of Sichuan Opera.
“Face-changing”, or “biàn liǎn” in Chinese, is an important form of Sichuan opera. The faces are actually masks, typically depicting characters from the opera. The performers change from one face to another almost instantaneously with the swipe of a fan, a movement of the head, or wave of the hand.
Historically, the face-changing show had rarely been seen outside of China because non-Chinese were not permitted to learn it. However, since the mid-2000s it has been performed occasionally in international mass media.
Since the cultural basis of the opera is not well known for non-Chinese, now the performers are making efforts to inform and increase the entertainment value for the international audience who do not know the context and meaning of the different faces.
For more information about the local culture of Chongqing, please visit ART&CULTURE page of our website.