Well it’s a something.
Those were the words spoken by Dave after we bought our tickets for the Chinese Opera.
But before that statement was made, let us give a brief look into our trek to the theater.
Walking in our “Sunday Best” we made our way through the busy streets of Hangzhou. We had been given some directions on how to get to the opera house, and we estimated about a half hour walk…. One hour later walking down the street, we asked some directions on how to get to the theater. We knew we were in the right locality, but we couldn’t find the place! And when you are asking for directions, the don’t say “Turn right down this street, walk a block, then take a left…”. Instead the make the general “around the corner” motion with their hand.
Eventually we did find the opera! It was located in a KTV (karaoke) building that we had passed, ohhh, only once… maybe twice.
After purchasing our tickets, we realized that we weren’t quite sure WHAT we would be seeing, causing Dave to say “Well it’s a something.”
It DEFINITELY was.
The opera house had regular theatre seats situated in the back rows and along the balcony, while the front of the audience had nice, comfy red chairs with a table to chair, along with tea and some little packages. After a couple people consumed what was in those packets, we came to the possibility that it was actually a block of tea that would seep, and bloom the “tea flowers” that were in our drinks. What was also on the tables were hand clappers, the ones where you’d hold the end and make a quick, side-to-side motion with your arm, hence “clapping.” Photography and video were being taken everywhere! Normally in the states it would be rude to make loud noises, or flash photography. Those two things did not matter in this opera house.
The opera was the “History of West Lake,” and began by part of the stage to rise and reveal a sextet Chinese orchestra. Some of the instruments included an “erhu,” which is a type of violin, a “yangqin”, and a “pipa,” which is a pear-shaped lute. After a few numbers, they left stage and the show began.
It was simply amazing! From the first moment our mouths literally dropped to the floor. It was more of a Cirque du Soleil than an Italian opera one might think of. Acrobats, sword fighting, some singing, flying (yes, they were flying) warriors, trapeze acrobats, tea dancing, people who would use long scarves attached to the rafters and pull themselves up to perform… there was a lot to process. One of the feats that stunned us all was when the “trapeze” artists used one-another to fully support their partner.. by a small piece of rotating block that they would hold only by their mouths, while the female acrobat would spin around and around. The whole opera was breathtaking and words won’t be able to describe it’s.. well… awesomeness. The opera lasted a little over an hour, but was none stop the whole way through. Quite the cultural experience. It was definitely a something, an amazing something.