Today’s music lesson: Sichuan opera

Apart from pandas and hot pot, another big reason to come to Chengudu is the Sichuan opera. It did not disappoint!

Sichuan opera is a type of Chinese opera that’s been around since the 1700s. It combines five different types of opera in the region, and our performance highlighted each style.

We watched the show in a popular restaurant in a very touristy area of Chengdu known as Kuan Zhai Alley. We were still the only foreigners in the audience, so everyone laughed, smiled and took pictures of us when the host started speaking English!

Even though we couldn’t understand the words, the costumes, music and dancing were all amazing. At one point an actor yelled, “Oh my god!” which naturally made the four of us laugh. Did we really hear that?

Sichuan opera face changers

Face changers at the Sichuan opera

The finale of the show was the face changers. The colourful characters change their masks seemingly without touching their faces.

At the end of the show a face changer came down to the floor and everyone clamoured for a picture with him. He then approached our table, shook my hand, and then put Claire’s hand up to his face. He seemed to change his mask while Claire was still touching it, but she said he pulled her hand away just before he made the change.

Part magician, part actor!


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