Heartening to see growth of Chinese opera here

With strong support from the Government, several performances by local and overseas groups have been held in venues like the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre, attracting young and old alike.
With strong support from the Government, several performances by local and overseas groups have been held in venues like the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre, attracting young and old alike.PHOTO: ST FILE

The past decade has seen the growth of Chinese traditional arts in Singapore, with both local and foreign arts groups given opportunities to further their skills thanks to growing appreciation of the community.

Local arts groups, like the Traditional Arts Centre (Singapore) (TAC) and the Chinese Opera and Drama Society, Singapore (Cods), along with the various arts associations, have been staging performing events almost on a par with professional opera groups in China.

It is heartening to see a growing interest and desire among primary school pupils to learn the basic knowledge and performing skills of traditional Chinese opera.

Parents are enrolling their children in classes organised by the TAC and Cods, and official classes by certified professional instructors are being organised as part of co-curricular activities.

Gone are the days when street opera would manifest only during temple festivals and the Hungry Ghost Festival, to be performed solely to the elderly in the heartland.

With strong support from the Government, several performances by local and overseas groups have been held in venues like the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre, attracting young and old alike.

In attending these performances, I have been impressed by the professional skill level shown by some of these amateur groups.

And judging by audience members' expressions and thunderous applause, I am not alone in thinking this.

Dawn Chen Wenhui

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 11, 2019, with the headline 'Heartening to see growth of Chinese opera here'. Print Edition | Subscribe