Sichuan Opera features vivid, humorous narration, singing, and acrobatics. It also boasts a system of stylized movements and its acting is both exquisite and lively. Sichuan Opera performances are always full of wit, humor, lively dialogues, and pronounced local flavors. To portray special characters, the opera incorporates a series of stunts, including the famous "face-changing." In Chinese opera, facial makeup is usually painted, but in Sichuan Opera, the performer can change his or her facial makeup in the snap of a finger right on stage.
Sichuan opera remains one of the most popular forms of opera in China. The home of Sichuan opera is Chengdu and has a history that dates back to the 200AD. One of the highlights of the Sichuan opera is face changing. Face changing occurs when the actor needs to change expressions and in Sichuan opera there are three forms of face changing: wiping mask, pulling mask and blowing mask. Each form of face changing requires great skill and technique and can be done flawlessly at the click of a finger.
Pulling mask is perhaps the most commonly seen in Sichuan opera and how the face changes are carried out are a closely guarded secret. The thinly cut masks are painted to match the emotion and each mask is tied with silk thread to a part of the costume. The performer wears all the masks, pasted to his/ her face. The threads are sewn to their costumes. So, they have to use physical movement to disguise how they’re switching masks.
Apart from face changing there is also other features of the Sichuan opera such as acrobatics, fire blowing and sword hiding.?
Best Places to See Sichuan Opera
Sichuan Opera Theatre: 20 Zhuangyuan Street, Chengdu, Sichuan, China
Jingjiang Stage: 54 Huaxingzheng Street, Chengdu, Sichuan, China
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