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Yue opera was a let-down

Last Friday's Yue Opera Couple Wings by the Shanghai Yue Opera House was a major disappointment.

The script was tedious and the stage was bare - plain white walls with two twigs as props.

Chinese opera is supposed to be pure escapism and the stage is supposed to transport the audience to another time and place.

That said, I have watched minimalist operas, but in this case, the white cube did nothing for me.

The script did not stretch the abilities of the two main performers, who are National Grade One performers, an elite grade in China.

They seemed to be going through the motions and struggled with the repetitive words and themes. The musicians were fabulous, but there was only so much they could do.

It is unrealistic to expect every show to be spellbinding. But last Friday's show took the cake for plain tediousness.

I think the lesson to draw is that as the venue partner, Esplanade should carefully preview the opera, and not allow the opera house to dictate its offerings.

Chia Buk Chua

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 17, 2016, with the headline 'Yue opera was a let-down'. Print Edition | Subscribe