Hungry Ghost Festival 2010: Chinese Opera Delight
Chinese opera (戏曲/戲曲) , a popular form of drama and musical theatre is said to have its roots going back to as far as the third century CE in China. A make-shift stage had been erected for a Chinese opera performance in Padang Brown. A troupe from Fujian, China had been engaged to perform. An ever-popular play on Magistrate Bao was on the board and of course, since the troupe was from Fujian and the Chinese population in Penang are mostly Hokkien, the opera was in Hokkien ( 福建话) which, by the way, is a dialect of Min Nan Chinese spoken in southern Fujian, Taiwan and by many overseas Chinese throughout South East Asia. The language is also known by other terms such as Minnanyu and being vernacular Chinese, I suppose you could not get to see this form of opera prior to the Yuan Dynasty since during that period, no plays were performed in vernacular Chinese. Anyway too, the opera is just one of the activities that is carried out during the festival to create goodwill in order that the ghosts do not cause any disturbance and both spirits and living beings could live in harmony. No wonder, there is a report that there is no rise in the death toll in Singapore during the Hungry Ghost Festival!
Opera delights! Can you spot Magistrate Bao?