Da Xi, is a Chinese phrase (大戲) which means Chinese Opera. Having originated from China, it is a popular form of drama and musical theatre with roots going back to the early periods of China. For more details, please refer to this link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_opera.
Every March in the Chinese Lunar Calendar (or around April to May), Da Xi or Chinese Opera show in my hometown, Tanjong Sepat, Malaysia, is held. The main purpose of the Da Xi show is to thank and celebrate a god’s birthday.
Usually, the shows last for about 3 to 4 weeks depending on the sponsors. Because most of the people in my hometown are Teochew and Hokkien people (Teochew and Hokkien are Chinese dialect), the Chinese Opera shows are only run in those two dialects. Generally, Teochew Chinese Opera shows last for 14 days and Hokkien Chinese Operas last for 9 days.
I recently saw a shorter version of the Chinese Opera that was held to celebrate the birthday of the Zhong Yi Temple god.
The photo above shows the ZhongYi Temple god.
These were the dragon-shaped incense (龍香-Long Xiang) used to pray to the god. Normal incense sticks are very thin and small. However, locals believe that using dragon-shaped incense do not only make prayers more effective, they will also bring luck.
This is the stage for the Teochew Chinese Opera.
I visited the backstage before the show started.
The actors were very busy putting their makeup on. They also put headdresses and decorations on their head and body.
The costumes they were intricate. The clothing itself looked very heavy and thick.
The show also involved musical pieces. Here’s a photo of the musical directors of the opera.
The show has started.
The plot of Chinese Opera usually revolves around ancient stories in China.
Together with one of the most experienced opera actors.
After watching the show, I felt amazed and admired the spirit of the Chinese Opera actors. They always feel proud and eager to perform the show even though the younger generation nowadays are not really interested in watching their performance. I sincerely wish the Chinese Opera will continue to be practiced so that our next generation will still be able to know what Chinese Opera is.
Thank you for reading
By Zyn Ann Tiow, ASEAN Correspondent from Malaysia