Chinese Opera looks at Chinese society through an exciting
series of photographs of operatic performances from many regions of the
country. The book introduces the reader to this unique theatrical form
and tells the traditional stories that are its narrative foundation.
Siu Wang-Ngai's extraordinary images, taken in natural light during
performances, lovingly reveal the visual excitement of Chinese opera
and point to the differences in costuming and presentation that
distinguish each regional style and character type.
Through Peter Lovrick's engaging text, Chinese Opera
provides a brief anecdotal history of the development of Chinese opera
and introduces a language of theatrical convention entirely new to the
Westerner. It also identifies the hallmarks of the dozen or so regional
opera styles found in this collection. As well, the book arranges the
stories in a rough chain of being, from heaven, through the whole
social structure on earth from emperor to outlaw, to ghosts in the
nether world, offering a revealing view of Chinese social tradition and
experience. Chinese opera has a rich repertoire drawn from history,
legends, folk tales, and classic novels.
Chinese Opera opens a door onto the wealth of Chinese
traditional drama in a way that will interest drama aficionados,
admirers of theatrical photography, students of Chinese drama, those
interested in the culture of China, and everyone who enjoys a lively
story. Siu Wang-Ngai's photographic record of opera performances
makes these stories come alive.
Siu Wang-Ngai is a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society of Great Britian and Chair of the Federation of Hong Kong-Macau Photographic Association. He lives in Hong Kong, where he practices law. Peter Lovrick has taught the History of Performing Arts in China at the University of Toronto's East Asian Studies department for the past several years. He also teaches full time at George Brown College's English and Liberal Studies Department.
Preface 1. The Dramatic Tradition 2. China's Regional Operas 3. Conventions 4. Heavenly Beings 5. Emperors And Their Ladies 6. Generals And Warriors 7. Scholars And Officials 8. Wealthy Families 9. Common Folk: Those Who Are Ruled 10. Religious 11. Outlaws 12. Ghosts 13. A Final Word Appendices A. English Guide to Photographs B. Chinese Guide To Photgraphs Selected Bibliography Index