The Visual and Material Culture of Cantonese Opera
MUSIC / Genres & Styles / Opera
Jan 07, 2019
10.44 x 12.31 x 1.03 in
Figure 1 Publishing
For more than 100 years, Vancouver has been home to a vibrant and thriving Cantonese opera scene. As a performance art carried out by transient troupes, it is an ephemeral medium that rarely leaves a trace in the historic records. However, an extraordinary treasure trove of early 20th-century Cantonese opera costumes, props, and stage dressings made its way to the Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver, BC. In the first book-length study of this little known collection, April Liu retraces the arduous journeys of early Cantonese opera troupes who began arriving along the west coast of North America during the mid-19th century. A close examination of the costumes and props reveal the moving songs, stories, performances, and ritual practices of early Chinese migrant communities who struggled to make a home in a foreign and often hostile land.