Friday, March 24, 2006

Shanghai Yue Opera Charity Night at Victoria Theatre

Food from the Heart, a charity organisation in Singapore is organising another event, combining culture and charity and involving the community and the school. I have taken the liberty (with permission of course) to re-post this here. You can also read this at its website at:

Shanghai Yue Opera Charity Night at Victoria Theatre (Volunteers Needed for the 2 evenings!)
Venue: Victoria Theatre Date / Time: 12th / 13th May 2006, 7.45pm Tickets: S$20 / S$30 / Complimentary Ticket

Yue Ju (越剧) or Shanghai Yue Opera originated from the Zhejiang Province where Shanghai was the catalyst for its popularity. Yue Opera’s dramatic style, drawing on modern theatrical techniques and its expressive, emotional and melodic singing style should go down well with the young generation. The language is akin to spoken Mandarin, another important draw for the young who are more comfortable with the official Chinese language than dialects. As an art form, Yue Opera is extremely beautiful and enjoyable to watch. Despite the historical settings of its stories, most plots are relevant in the context of modern day society. For instance “The Peacocks Flying to the Southeast”, adapted from the famous Han Dynasty poem. Stories like these extol the greatness of true love – a universal language.

Tales of love and sacrifices make riveting drama; most stories evolve around other universal virtues like humility, courage, loyalty and duty, filial piety and responsibility. For the younger generation who have missed an orientation in a theatrical form that was once popularly embraced by the common people, the excerpts selected by Marine Parade Community Club, Shanghai Yue Opera Club for this charity performance are carefully picked for their educational and entertainment as well as artistic values.

Members of MPCC Shanghai Yue Opera Appreciation Club and students from CHIJ St. Nicholas Girls' School will be performing together with 2 Yue Opera stars, Hua Yi-Qing & Huang Hui who will fly in all the way from Shanghai for our 2 nights’ charity shows. As for the music, the SAF MDC Chinese Instrumental Ensemble will be a perfect accompaniment to both our evenings at Victoria Theatre. The conductor of this orchestra is MAJ Tay Soon Huat. To help appreciate this traditional art form, we will provide line-by-line English translations of the scripts.




晚会特别邀请了上海越剧院著名小生黄慧、花旦华怡青担任主要演出项目 现场乐队 : 新加坡武装部队华乐团 指挥: 郑顺发少校

Food from the Heart (FFTH) has chosen this event as it wants to encourage the better understanding of a Chinese culture and language. The funds raised through this event will go towards the 7 community programmes run by Food from the Heart. To find out more, please contact Ms. Ain at 62597176 (ext 5) or email to

Friday, March 10, 2006

Book: Ritual is Theatre, Theatre is Ritual

Street wayangs or street operas in Singapore are in most cases dependent on temple celebrations. More so for the Hokkien and Teochew operas. The symbiotic relationship between the street operas and the Chinese temples must have gone back centuries. In the days when most people are illiterate, the street opera is a very powerful medium of education and knowledge transfer.

Our grandparents and even parents learnt much about Chinese history through the operas. In many ways, so were our knowledge of Deities in the Chinese temples. Interestingly, when a spirit medium go into trance, representing a Deity, somehow we might try to relate to the same character we saw at the opera. The only difference is that now the temple ground is a stage, and all of us, devotees and onlookers become part of that stage.

Margaret Chan's book: Ritual is Theatre, Theatre is Ritual: Tang-ki: Chinese Spirit Medium Worshop, is a timely piece of book and information for us to better understand rituals and their powerful relationship with theatre, and vice versa. Many questions that we have but have yet to find the answers, could well have the answers in this book. (^^) A very valuable guide for local Chinese temple and sintua observers and even devotees.

The details of the book:

Ritual is Theatre, Theatre is Ritual
Tang-ki: The Chinese Spirit Medium Worship
By Margaret Chan

Published by
Wee Kim Wee Centre
Singapore Management University
& SNP International

ISBN : 981-248-115-X

Bookshop Price: S$39.90