China's Sichuan Opera moves LA audience, not just for face-changing

GOSSIP

2018-05-17

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LOS ANGELES, Feb. 27 (Xinhua) -- "I felt the U.S. audience understood Sichuan Opera, as they shared sad and happy feelings along with Chinese audience," Chen Qiaoru, an award-winning performer, told Xinhua Tuesday.

"The most impressive thing is that audiences sitting in theaters were touched by soul of the plays, by the artistry, literary and diverse of Sichuan Opera," said Chen, referring to her performance in the famed Huntington Library and Museum of Los Angeles Sunday.

Her performance aimed to create a new idea for foreigners that Sichuan Opera, one of the renowned opera schools of Chinese opera, is not just about face-changing technique, said the dynamic and creative Chinese artist who won the Plum Blossom Award -- China's highest theatrical honor -- for two times.

Described by its practitioners as "hot and spicy," Sichuan Opera includes some unique features such as a cappella song style, an off-stage chorus, and the face-changing technique, whereby actors rapidly alter their makeup to stunning dramatic effect.

"We do have these skill shows, you can see it even in restaurants, but for art lovers, they deserved to know more," Chen said.

She said she was moved noticing that some audience could not hold back their tears at the moment of sadness when she played Striking the Gods, a story about love and betrayal.

"Maybe they don't know Chinese language, but they do know human's life. That is a real culture exchange," said Chen, who have toured widely in Europe and Asia.

Presented in partnership with the UCLA Confucius Institute, Chen, who is from Chengdu, capital city of southwest China's Sichuan Province, performed in the Hammer Museum and the Huntington for a week.

She will lead other artists to start a road show to Seattle in the U.S. state of Washington Tuesday with a rousing program of excerpts from classic Sichuan Opera plays, including Releasing Pei, Striking the Gods and Gold Mountain Temple.

Philip Bloom, the new Curator of the Chinese Garden at the Huntington, told reporters that the performance is very impressive.

"I really like Striking the Gods. The characters in the play are all expressed vividly and full of deep going connotation," he said of the play.