Chinese Opera

The Actor’s Craft


Siu Wang-Ngai with Peter Lovrick

ISBN : 978-988-8208-26-5

Film, Media, Fine Arts

December 2013

228 pages, 10″ x 10″, 227 color illus.

  • HK$350.00

Chinese opera embraces over 360 different styles of theatre that make one of the richest performance arts in the world. It combines music, speech, poetry, mime, acrobatics, stage fighting, vivid face-painting and exquisite costumes. First experiences of Chinese opera can be baffling because its vocabulary of stagecraft is familiar only to the seasoned aficionado. Chinese Opera: The Actor’s Craft makes the experience more accessible for everyone. This book uses breath-taking images of Chinese opera in performance by Hong Kong photographer Siu Wang-Ngai to illustrate and explain Chinese opera stage technique. The book explores costumes, gestures, mime, acrobatics, props and stage techniques. Each explanation is accompanied by an example of its use in an opera and is illustrated by in-performance photographs. Chinese Opera: The Actor’s Craft provides the reader with a basic grammar for understanding uniquely Chinese solutions to staging drama.

Siu Wang-Ngai is a fellow of the Royal Photographic Society. He is co-author with Peter Lovrick of Chinese Opera: Images and Stories, and author of The Hong Kong Ballet. Peter Lovrick is a professor of homiletics at St. Augustine’s Seminary at the Toronto School of Theology, University of Toronto, and a professor of English at George Brown College.

“This book makes a genuine contribution to the field of Chinese operas as it not only covers Beijing opera, but also a great number of other local or regional operas. Most importantly, it is superbly illustrated by over 200 photos of these operatic performances, which are the biggest source of fascination and interest to the readers.” —Min Tian, author of Mei Lanfang and the Twentieth-Century International Stage: Chinese Theatre Placed and Displaced and The Poetics of Difference and Displacement: Twentieth-Century Chinese-Western Intercultural Theatre