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You might watch Cannes Palme d'Or winner Farewell My Concubine before you decide to take in a Beijing Opera show. This venue is special in that it gives newcomers an introduction to Beijing Opera which can be a total shock if you've not been acclimated to the high-pitched vocals, extremely stylized movements, stereotyped characters that are immediately recognized by a Chinese audience, and so-on. Translations into English are given..at lightening speed, but that can't be helped on overhead monitors, and the one hour performance consists of four or five excerpts from some of the funniest or most impressive routines from the Beijing Opera repertoire. Still, on the night I went, at least five different tour groups of 30 people were in the audience and two of these groups filed in 10 minutes late, interrupting the show. 5-10 minutes later, 90 of these clowns had stood up and filed out of the theater, presumably because they were bored or unimpressed. If you think Peking Opera might really appeal to you, be prepared for this reaction from the uninitiated audience or better yet just attend a performance at one of the opera venues that does not try to introduce the genre to clueless foreign tourists.
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