Monday, February 26, 2007

Alas, to be a modern woman.....

The Hong Kong Arts Festival has begun and it has started off with a bang. I love the arts, in any form, whether it is a canvas on a stark wall, or in yesterday's case, in the form of Kun Qu, the oldest form of Chinese opera. It was my first ever experience with Chinese opera and I was wholly hooked. I was fortunate enough to see one of the most famous operas, The Peach Blossom Fan, which was written in 1699 by a descendant of Confucius. How is this related to fashion, you ask? Very simply, the costumes were stunning. Sitting in the fifth row of the auditorium, I could see the amazing quality of the embroidery on each costume. Apparently, 1000 embroiderers from Suzhou were hired to work on the costumes. The costumes were art forms of their own. For a moment, I wondered what it would be like to be a woman in the Qing dynasty.



It is not very visible in the picture, but the attention to detail was astounding. Sitting in the fifth row of the auditorium, I noticed that the white sleeves of each garment were embroidered with white flowers.



This was the wedding scene between the two main characters the poet, Hou Fang Yu and the courtesan, Li Xiang Jun.



This is my favorite scene and costumes. The color contrasts in the scene is modern and sophisticated. Notice the amazing cranes on Li Xiang Jun's cape.

During the intermission (it was a 3-and-a-half hours opera), I got to see the costumes up close and personal. Of course, out came the camera.





Its comforting to know that this type of handiwork still exists in the world.......

If there is an interest in what the opera was like, some wonderful person filmed it and put it on youtube.com. Check it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y0MM1zzAMuE&mode=related&search=
and
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HGAz8Df3jgM&mode=related&search=

1 comment:

Serena said...

How did you get to see the costumes up close?!?! Very cool very cool. Must hear more about this.