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Sichuan Opera

Sichuan Opera

    As a renowned local opera mainly prevailing in Southwestern China'sSichuan,YunnanandGuizhou, Sichuan Opera is characterized by unique solos, refined acting, rich percussion and talented comedians, whose skills are unparalleled in the world. The opera's application to be enlisted as an Intangible World Heritage is currently underway.

    Sichuan Opera features vivid, humorous narration, singing andacrobatics. It also builds a system of stylized movements and its acting is both exquisite and lively. Sichuan Opera performances are always full of wit, humor, lively dialogues and pronounced local flavors. To portray special characters, the opera incorporates a series of stunts, including the famous 'face-changing.' In Chinese opera,facial makeupis usually painted, but in Sichuan opera, the performer can change his or her facial makeup in the snap of a finger right on stage.

'Changing Faces'

    One of the most fascinating, artistic charms of Sichuan Opera is 'face-changing', which is achieved by quickly tearing off, rubbing, or blowing away a mask to reveal another.

    The performer prepares many special masks in advance made of gauze and elastic materials, such as sheep embryo membranes and rubber. After the masks are painted with different designs and assembled with a special transparent thread, they are pasted onto the performer's face.

    The special masks for 'changing faces' must be made to fit the performer's face to ensure that they are pasted as close as possible to the skin. Previously, the masks were discarded after a performance, but today they can be recycled with some minor repairs.

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