Thursday, April 11, 2013

Sichuan Opera

After viewing the Giant Buddah, we tucked into some local cuisine and spent the remainder of our evening at the Sichuan Opera. If you want to view a traditional opera, this isn't going to be your cup of tea. But if you want to watch shadow puppets, contortionists, acts of incredible strength, and some cheesy dancing, you've come to the right place. 




My favorite part of the night was the changing of the masks, a staple of the Sichuan Opera. Called biàn liǎn (which literally means face changing), the changing of the masks is an ancient Chinese art in which performers wear brightly colored costumes and masks which they change from one face to another almost instantaneously with the swipe of a fan, a movement of the head, or wave of the hand.

The secret for how to accomplish this quick face change is a closely guarded secret among performers which is passed down from one generation to the next within families.



Is the show touristy? Absolutely. But I still enjoyed myself and was pleasantly surprised to understand more of the language than I would have expected. I guess all my Chinese lessons are paying off! But don't let the language barrier stop you from seeing this over the top spectacle if you find yourself with a free night in Leshan.


  1. Ooooh I've actually always wanted to see this!

    1. It's super cheesy but worth checking out. I really enjoyed it.

  2. Ohh, I would like to see this. :D Took some great photos. :)

    1. You can see the opera all over Sichuan province, Chengdu also has nightly performances. I'm sure you'll find yourself there at some point during your stay in China.

  3. Kristin! I nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award :-) Check it out here: - Cheers!!!

  4. Beautiful shot of the girl on the pink flower! Touristy or not, I'd love to go to a show!

    - Steph (CAPA)

  5. I watched a SUPER CHEESY version of the mask changing opera at a conference once in Beijing. It was.... interesting. :)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...