Sunday, August 30, 2015

Accidental Tourist of Singapore - 2015- - Lao Sai Tao Yuan Teochew Opera Performance of 六国封相 at Pulau Ubin 28 August 2015

Lao Sai Tao Yuan Teochew Opera Shoot at Pulau Ubin 28 August 2015

I did something totally out of the norm for a 'leave-hungry city-gal' - I took leave and went with a few photography friends of Singapore Shutterjourney to Pulau Ubin to capture an Opera show. Not just any Opera show, it is performed by Lao Sai Tao Yuan, the oldest surviving Teochew Opera troupe in Singapore having been around since 19th century.  Through modern Facebook, I managed to keep track of their performance dates and this performance in particular, caught my eye as it is held at far flung Pulau Ubin. For those unfamiliar with Pulau Ubin, some 10mins by bumboat from mainland Singapore, it is best described as what one would expect from Singapore in the early 1950s-1960s. Peppered with traditional houses and roaming dogs, the island eludes a rustic authentic vibe no long felt in my urbanised and modern city. 

After a hearty breakfast at Changi Village, we hopped on a bumboat at Changi Jetty for S$2.50 to Ubin. The troupe members were already there and in the midst of getting ready. This is my first morning shoot of an opera show. Growing up, I am more familiar with opera shows done in the evenings. It slowly became clear that opera is not only a showcase of Chinese culture and traditional, it was also an art form requiring loads of teamwork and coordination.... all the way from the make-up to dressing and costume changes in-between.  

Kudos to the performers, many belong to the pioneer generation all of whom have a wealth of experience both in terms of skill, expertise and precision in executing the opera moves while burdened with heavy costumes....all with poise and grace of true professionals under tropical 35 degree Celsius heat.

What warmed me was that all the troupe members of Lao Sai Tao Yuan were not only patient but also welcoming to us photographers. 八爷(班主) and Carine took time off their busyness to speak with us and were extremely accommodating to us taking photos of them throughout the whole morning all the way from makeup, costumes dressing to disrobing. It was truly an experience that I will not forget for the rest of my life.

I hope you enjoy looking at these photos as much as I did taking the photos.

I have also done a slideshow of selected photos taken of that day...uploaded on YouTube

My other blog post of an earlier visit involving Chinese Opera (with another troupe) are:

Till the next time, onto the world and beyond!  

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