I have to admit, I decided to go watch a Beijing Opera show just because it’s something you have to do at least once if you live in China. Words like “ear-splitting screeching”, “high pitched moaning bitch” and other colorful descriptive attributes were the ones used by all my friends who chose, unsuspecting, to attend a performance.
Needless to say I was expecting to have to get drunk to enjoy it, and it is exactly the mindset I had when I arrived in the hotel-restaurant (!!!) where the show would be performed. Thanks to Theatre Beijing we managed to get heavily discounted tickets for the show, so we ended up with a VIP table, right in fromt of the stage.
Regarding the show itself, it was three little scenes, in what I guess is a version adapted for tourists and foreigners:
Two fighters, possibly blind or fighting through a very thick fog (maybe a take on what KungFu would look like if Beijing Air doesn’t improve?). I’m making that assumption since they were looking for each other, even though they were standing merely a meter from each other. Then again, I might not have the needed abstract mind to correctly grasp the codes of this particular type of art.
An enamored young lady chasing her lover and bartering her way down the river with a jolly old rower. She was indeed a “high-pitched moaning bitch” :-)
A monarch and his queen, entranched in their castle, surrounded by enemies and hearing the gloomy news of defeat after defeat, until eventually they have to flee, and the queen sacrifices herself to help (and maybe finally be over with) him.
All in all, it was a very pleasant night, and I didn’t even have to get drunk! I’ll definitely have to try a “regular” show though. I heard there’s having representations of the Farewell My Concubine spectacle, it might be worth seeing this one.