西式的舞台剧和传统歌剧倒是看过不少，但这是我们第一次体验歌仔戏 。朋友， 你看过歌仔戏吗？很难想像我们这个年龄层的人会去看歌仔戏是吗？其实，就因为从没看过， 所以想对这具有台湾特色与风格的民俗艺术有所认识。
歌仔戏是台湾土生土长的戏剧，也是一种福建艺术。但身为福建人的老公和我， 却不能完全的了解剧中的对话和歌词（惭愧！）。 所以有些时候都要靠设有的中、英文字幕来了解剧情。虽然如此， 我们却被整场表演给吸引了。对于初尝歌仔戏的我们， 每一幕戏， 每一个细节，都是那么的新鲜、有趣。除了生动的剧情、强大且经验老道的演员阵容， 还有令我们耳目一新的舞台设计、灯光和音乐， 再加上“空中飞人”的特技。演员们华丽的服饰也是一个特点吧。 谢幕礼也挺讲究的。我想用“视觉与听觉上的享受”这一句话来形容这一场表演， 应该是不夸张的。
蓬莱大仙的三位主角。 Three key roles of The Immortal of Penglai.
Have you watched a Taiwanese Opera before? DS and I had our first experience watching one last Sunday, at the Esplanade.
The Immortal of Peng Lai by Ming Hua Yuan Culture and Arts Group from Taiwan.
The Immortal of Peng Lai made its debut in Taiwan in 1987. It is not only the classic of Ming Hua Yuan but also the most popular play in Taiwan. Ming Hua Yuan celebrates its 80th anniversary next year!
This being our first encounter with a Taiwanese Opera, I went with much excitement and curiosity! Although both DS and I are from Hokkien dialect group, we had to rely on the subtitles shown on the LCD screens from time to time, in order to better understand this Hokkien Opera. Nevertheless, it turned out that it was a superb performance that we thoroughly enjoyed!!
We were so impressed and fascinated by almost everything about this performance – costumes, props, lighting and stage set-up, music and every bit of the performers’ movements! The story was also captivating. I felt that it was a very sincere and professional performance by Ming Hua Yuan where every detail was well taken care of, including producing very big and impressive, bilingual (English/Chinese) programme booklets for the audience at no cost! Quoting the producer, Chen Sheng Fu from the programme booklet “I, as the producer of the play is especially happy since Singapore is not only famous as a beautiful garden city with a huge Chinese community, but also a country that enjoys high living standard and culture standing. Therefore, we are extremely cautious and conscientious about the performance in Singapore”.
Programme Booklets : Left : by Esplanade, Right : by Ming Hua Yuan
Unlike many Western musicals or operas that we have attended, there was a special arrangement after the performance for the interested audience to greet and shake-hand with the key performers. I am sure this was a well-appreciated gesture. Of course, DS and I did not miss this opportunity and I even had a photo taken with them! 😀
Above : Enthusiastic fans busy taking photos during the greet-the-audience session
Below : See the long queue waiting to meet the performers!
Key performers at the greet-the-audience session. This first man on the left is Chen Jin-Shin who played The Most Exalted Lord Lao. Born in a Taiwanese Opera family, Chen is not old at all but only 35 years old!
The audience-packed theatre was an indication of the popularity of this opera. As DS and I had expected, majority of the audience was senior citizens and women. We spotted a few familiar faces like Saw Paik Hwa, President and CEO of SMRT, movie director Royston Tan and J Team artiste Nick Shen (who also performs Teochew Opera). We also saw a few westerners amongst the audience.
We were a little unfortunate to be surrounded by audience (beside, behind and in front of us) who did not seem to stop talking and at times rather loud, during the performance. I wonder if it was due to their lack of experience in watching such opera in a theatre. They even ignored my signal requesting them to quiet down. The night would have been more pleasant if not for such an annoyance!
Nevertheless, we were very glad that we have watched this opera. We have brought home some beautiful memories about the performance, and more so, appreciated this new experience on Taiwanese Opera. Comparing with Turandot by Singapore Lyric Opera a week ago which turned out to be a great disappointment, The Immortal of Peng Lai was certainly a lot more memorable, entertaining and delightful and worth our time.
We will be interested to watch Taiwanese Opera again! 🙂