Keep Chinese opera alive by setting up academy

I am saddened to learn that Hokkien opera troupe Xiao Kee Lin will not be performing anymore (Hokkien opera troupe takes its final bow; July 22).

Chinese opera together with Greek tragicomedy and Indian Sanskrit opera are considered the three oldest dramatic art forms.

Traditional Chinese opera, or xiqu, blends Chinese legends, music, song and dance, martial arts, acrobatics and drama.

Since the 1950s, branches of traditional Chinese opera have enriched the diversity of our local culture. These include Cantonese opera, Teochew opera, Hokkien opera and Beijing opera.

The relevant authorities should motivate, mobilise and lead the Chinese community to set up a Chinese opera academy, which will be able to house, integrate, organise and manage these various branches of Chinese opera.

The academy could then organise opera performances regularly for schools, institutions of higher learning, tourists and local residents.

These opera performances could be effectively narrated or have surtitles in English or other languages, to help keen spectators appreciate them more.

The academy's officials or educators could also use such opportunities to educate the audience on Chinese culture, social customs and traditions, as well as the Chinese language.

Teo Kueh Liang

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 29, 2018, with the headline 'Keep Chinese opera alive by setting up academy'. Print Edition | Subscribe