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Sichuan Opera

Sichuan Opera is one of the oldest and most popular styles among more than 1,000 local varieties exist in China. Mostly seen in Sichuan, Yunnan and Guizhou provinces, Sichuan Opera is the most influential opera form the South west of China. The performances today are of a more modern style and more relaxed than the Beijing opera, the performance being more like a play. Sichuan Opera features vivid, humorous narration, singing, and acrobatics. It also boasts 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.
Face changing is the highlight of Sichuan Opera. It is said that ancient people painted their faces to drive away wild animals. Sichuan Opera absorbs this ancient skill and perfects it into an art. "Face changing" is a rare skill, possessed by only a few masters, but remains one of the most important and interesting facets of Sichuan Opera. This skill allows actors to change their masks with an almost supernatural swiftness, much to the delight of the audience, and can be a potent form of expression. Sichuan Opera is also characterized by its solo singing performances, fine comedians, percussion, mask changing and fire spitting. Opera troupes operate throughout the region with the most prestigious and artistic to be found in Chengdu.

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