On Hollywood Road

Back Stage at the Shek-O Chinese Opera

Posted in Uncategorized by Alex Daye on November 12, 2010

Shek-O, the little beach suburb of Hong Kong we used to call home, is a funny place. It’s home to both some of the scruffiest as well as the poshest residences in the territory. The ultra-exclusive Shek-O golf course is separated by a rickety old chain link fence from the Back Beach Bar, a fun but decidedly low rent watering hole looking out onto the far from pristine back beach of Shek-O. The village, which is total bobo, sits in the shadow of some of the most expensive real estate in Hong Kong, the owners of which are chauffered in and out and have likely never set foot in the Fook Lee Store. But for a few nights every year, the whole town chips in, is in fact, required to chip in, to throw a big Chinese Opera. Everyone, from the Swires and Jardines to the Holyoaks and the Hickmans and the Wongs writes a check, a giant bamboo structure is thrown up, seemingly over night, the candy makers and knick knack peddlers take over the municipal parking lot, and all come together to celebrate this ancient Chinese art form. For those not familiar, Chinese opera is probably going to be an acquired taste. For one thing, it lasts forever! Audiences stream in and out, eat and chat, so paying close attention is a struggle. The opera itself can sound a bit discordant to Western ears. But in spite of it all, the Chinese Opera is super fun! The costumes are incredible, the vibe is the complete opposite of stuffy with a lovely sea breeze blowing through the opera house, and perhaps most thrillingly, back stage is open to the public. Though we are no longer Shek-O residents ourselves, we’re always up for a little Chinese opera, and this year we took our dear friend Sue for a back of the house tour. The following little photo essay, I think, speaks for itself…



2 Responses

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  1. duriandave said, on November 12, 2010 at 8:19 am

    Wow… great pics! Wish I could have been there. I’ve been meaning to see Cantonese opera in HK. And this looks a very fun venue. Does the Shek-O performance happen the same time every year?

    • jadaye said, on November 12, 2010 at 8:24 am

      Thanks Duriandave !
      Yes, it is the same time every year and if you can be in Hong Kong at this time , I think you would really enjoy it.
      Thanks for visiting.

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