Cantonese Opera in Hong Kong
Chinese opera is an old part of Chinese culture. Hong Kong historically sat in southern China, where the predominant form is Cantonese opera. This is still the leading opera form in Hong Kong today.
Cantonese opera is a spectacle, with elaborate costumes and makeup, skilled singing and stories which in some cases are ancient. A performance can last for three or four hours, so while it is an interesting part of Hong Kong culture to get to see, not all visitors would necessarily want to sit through an entire performance.
If you would like to learn a bit more about Cantonese opera, there is currently an informative free exhibition landside in terminal two at Hong Kong airport. There are photos, videos and explanations about the art. There are also some short free performances scheduled as follows. They are from 2 to 2.30 and 3 to 3.30 on alternative Saturdays, finishing on 26th November.
If you have interest in seeing a full length Cantonese opera there are a number of options. There are some venues which are famous, such as the renowned Sunbeam Theatre in North Point – you can look into their schedule. Alternatively, you can see what’s upcoming across the city’s arts venues from an online ticketing website or the Leisure and Cultural Services Department’s website or by stopping into one of the venue ticket offices. The one at City Hall, for example, is located close to Central and has a lot of leaflets about upcoming Cantonese opera shows.
Some villages also host their own Cantonese opera as part of a village festival, for example at the festival for the sea goddess Tin Hau on Lamma Island each year, an opera is performed nightly. Tickets can be bought but promenaders can also stop by for free, for however long they want. Like at other such festivals, that opera takes place in a specially constructed bamboo theatre which in itself is a sight to see. The details of performances such as these may be harder to come by, although contacting the tourist board may help and they are sometimes advertised in the local press.
Be aware that most Cantonese opera performances will not be subtitled or surtitled in a foreign language and they tend to be fairly long.