Sichuan Opera Experience for the 1st Time

Authors: Joseph Graham


Our encounter with Sichuan Opera has made our studying abroad one of the most worthwhile experiences in life so far.
The Sichuan Opera is one of the most enjoyable experience for any student or tourist to visit during their time in Chengdu. No matter if you know the language or not, you will find no other place where you can see both living history and comedy, ranging from face changing and acrobatics, to the music you will be entertained, and complacent with the show that evolves around you.
In the first half, we watched a classic opera unfold telling the stories of emperors and warriors, which breaks into skillful musicians, playing a multiple of instruments while showing off their skills, with fast and complex music. After that, we moved to a skillful use of hand puppetry where the artist creates shapes, and characters that puzzle the mind. Following was a skillful use of puppetry, of a gentle lady, where the music, and artistry will create an awe inspiring display, and story.
In the second half, we opened with an older couple, as they argued. The wife disgruntled with her husband who places an oil lamp and makes him preform tasks. This was far most one of the best parts of the show, and one which I found the funniest. The final act of the show contained an opera where the famous Sichuan Opera face changing performance took place. As the actors walked through the crowd, they changed their faces so fast, I still don't know how they preformed it even after a week of pondering. This was by far the most impressive performance of the show, with a masterful use of slight of hand.
The show ended with a final short opera, and a bow. This is one of the most enjoyable G-MEO trips of the year so far. And if any of the other trips this semester come close to what I experienced at the opera. I believe that this will be one of the most worthwhile study abroad experience so far.

About the author: Joseph Graham, from Norwich University, is a student at the Chengdu American Center for Study Abroad (CACSA), which is the first innovative program for studying abroad in China. CACSA was co-established by the Chengdu Municipal Government and Global Maximum Educational Opportunities Inc. (G-MEO) in 2012. The former provides the center, inside the SCU's Huaxi Campus, with part of the facilities, teaching equipment and devices, policy support as well as special scholarships for students.

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