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Stark Reality
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2006/3/11 2:16
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Declining Interest In Cantonese Opera
2008-12-03


Interest in the once popular Cantonese opera is fast declining largely in part because its modern audience find it difficult to appreciate this traditional genre. Many people cannot understand the meanings in the songs.

The music division of the Persatuan Kong Chau in Bentong, Pahang, is trying to maintain interest in this art form. It has been promoting Cantonese opera through conferences and concert exchange. In particular, they hope to attract the younger generation to join them. However, young people still prefer pop songs than such musicals.

The division head, Chen Mei Gui, lamented that their Cantonese opera team members are all above 45 years old. She is worried that the team members are getting old and they are getting fewer and fewer recruits.

Looking back to its glorious days, Chen is full of good memories. There were music teachers playing various musical instruments, including erhu. It attracted people's attractions and the atmosphere was cheerful.

"Now is not the case, the young generation don't know how to appreciate Cantonese opera," said Chen.

She said that it is really a pity that many beautiful classic Cantonese opera songs have now been forgotten.

She added that as times change and no one knows how to play traditional instruments like erhu, many Cantonese opera classes are now playing Karaoke VCDs. It is very convenient, yes, but it is lack of the real charm of Cantonese opera at the same time.

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Posted on: 2008/12/22 11:56
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Re: Stark Reality
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Cantonese opera (and any of its relatives) is a performing art that Chinese are not treasuring. Partly because the "lines" are in mainly ancient text, and modern Malaysian Chinese, even if Chinese educated, may find it hard to understand.

In contrast, Western drama that features ancient scripts such as Shakespears' or new creations such as various musicals, are still widely acknowledged and appreciated, but Chinese drama, of which no less significant both in cultural and literature depth, are sidelined. It's a pity.

Any effort to retain such tradition up till now, might be futile in Malaysia, But we can still do things. Exhibitions to re-introduce the art, providing script leaflets (with translations) during performances, and publicizing the performances in modern ways might just help.

Posted on: 2008/12/22 12:05
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Re: Stark Reality
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2008/4/16 11:03
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Doesn't the temple near the Tua Pek Kong do seasonal operatic performances? They did renovate the temple grounds and the opera stage, and I recall somewhere this year a few performances there.

Posted on: 2008/12/22 13:34
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