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Registered: 02-2004
Location: Porter Ranch, California
Posts: 13779
Re: Cantonese Opera

This is a link of Cantonese opera. For those who don't know, Cantonese is a dialect of Chinese which is quite different from the Mandarin dialect spoken in and around Beijing and Tianjin and also on Taiwan Island in the areas of the Chinese Republic. Cantonese is spoken in Guangzhou, Xianggang (Hong Kong) and Macao. It is similar to Vietnamese - sometimes some of the words sound like spoken Vietnamese. Therefore, if you think you know Chinese, and you don't know Cantonese, you will probably have a harder time understanding this. For those of you who don't know Chinese at all, like myself, it may sound pointless to listen, but there the melodies are quite nice.

Cantonese opera is similar to Beijing opera - except it is in Cantonese. This piece was recorded in Xianggang (Hong Kong) in the late 1950s. It is called "Dreadful History of the Tang Chambers" and is about what occured between Emperor Ming and Concubine Yang during an age of civil strife which eventually overthrew the dynasty. The recording isn't too grand, but for something of this age, it is quite good.

Here is the information available at the website.


[size=3]While not as well known as the closely related Beijing opera, Cantonese opera is still a vibrant artform wherever Cantonese speakers live. The performance here was recorded in the late 1950s and sold as an album of three 33 1/3 records on the Golden Star label. The back cover is available here as a high-resolution image for those who read Chinese. These files were encoded from a scratchy record album. I used 96 KBPS mono encoding.

The play is "Tang Kung Han Si," or Dreadful History in the Tang Chambers. The story is the well known tragedy of Emperor Ming (Tang Ming Wong) and Concubine Yang (Yang Quai Fei). Emperor Ming, while in mournng for his wife the Empress, is entranced by one of his 3,000 concubines. He falls so much in love with Concubine Yang that the affairs of state deteriorate. A rebellion begins led by the rebel On Luk San. In the midst of warfare, the Emperror's generals demand that Concubine Yang be put to death before they will pledge loyalty to him. At the end, he bids farewell and she is killed.

The performance is by the Hong Kong Golden Voices ensemble. The performers include Ma Yok Ling (Concubine Yang), Tsung Wan San (Emperor Ming), Lei Kam Chung (Go Lek Si), Leung Kam Ko (On Luk San) and Lo Lai (Concubine Mui). The arranger and music director is Chue Kong.

For those unfamiliar with Cantonese opera, any one of the following 15-minute files will give you a taste. I offer the entire recording here primarily for fans of Cantonese opera.[/size]

Well, here's the link.

Cantonese Opera: Tang Kung Han Si: Dreadful History of the Tang Chambers

Enjoy! emoticon
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