Hong Kong Chinese opera in the time of COVID-19 : Major events 2000

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2020, Hong Kong Chinese opera’s year of mischance (for that matter, same to all performing arts and other arts fields). Since early 2020, COVID-19 quickly turned a global pandemic causing lockdowns of almost everything. A year back, 2019, Hong Kong Chinese opera enjoyed a blossoming year beginning with the January grand opening of the magnificent West Kowloon Cultural District Xiqu Centre. Stepping into January 2020, the industry was like being thrown into an apocalyptic dystopia of contagion. New productions, large scale shows, ritual drama performances, overseas and non-local troupes’ visits, educational and promotional activities were all drastically shrunk, rescheduled, relocated to virtual space, or simply cancelled-COVID-19 cancelled culture, in a sense, amongst other things in everyday life. The Chinese opera practitioners in Hong Kong have been syncretic, flexible, and enduring in face of the devastating pandemic. Some turned more to social media platforms, some grabbed any chance of face-to-face meeting live audiences whenever circumstances allowed, and some strived for raising fund to help sustain the industry that was virtually thrown into ice age. A mainstream cultural tradition in Chinese opera for 800 years (counting from the maturation of traditional Chinese theatre in the Mongolian dynasty from the 13th century) is that, unlike European drama that has privileged tragedy since the ancient Greeks, there is necessarily, almost always a happy ending. Even when occasionally there emerged a play with a sad ending in which good people suffered and got unjustly killed in tragic sublime, the dejected ending will be altered and replaced by a comic resolution in later adaptations with a full happy reunion. Thus lived Hong Kong Chinese opera.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHong Kong Xiqu Overview 2020
EditorsSiu Leung LI, Siu Wah YU
Place of PublicationHong Kong
PublisherCentre for Cultural Research and Development, Lingnan University
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)9789887602552
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022


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