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Chinese Opera

Going for a Chinese opera is an experience to remember by all. The opera theater is filled with lavishly embroidered settings, colorful faces, awesome stunts by the performers, and the loud clanging of gongs and drums. This form of entertainment has long been a popular heritage enjoyed by all walks of life.

Themes for the operas are both tragic and comical, interspersed with singing, dancing, and poetic narration to dramatize historical and legendary events. Another style of performance is dialog performed in language similar to everyday speech.

The characters of an opera are categorized on the basis of sex, age, and personality. Four main characters are 'sheng', 'tan', 'ching', and 'ch'ou'. The male characters are the 'sheng', 'ching', and 'ch'ou', while the 'tan' refers to a female character. Each character is unique in nature and temper.

Opera costumes are colorful and exquisite. Costumes are based on the Ming era about four centuries ago. Flowing sleeves, pennants worn by military officers, and pheasant feathers used in headwear add intensity to the performance. Facial make-up also reveals much about a character while appealing to the audience at the same time.

Traditionally, Chinese opera was a theater for professional actors who were well-versed enough to give unrehearsed performances. However, modern Chinese opera is now equipped with a proper stage, a director system, stage design, and professional lighting. These new extras enlighten the performance and viewing experience, while still adhering to customary practices of traditional opera.

There are various opera troupes around Taiwan, presenting extreme opera talents from around the island. Taiwan's television stations also air prerecorded or live opera performances, bringing high quality Chinese opera into the population's living room. By doing that, it keeps the art indispensable and popular.

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