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Understanding CantonRethinking Popular Culture in the Republican Period$
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Virgil Ho

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199282715

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2006

DOI: 10.1093/0199282714.001.0001

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Cantonese Opera as a Mirror of Society

Cantonese Opera as a Mirror of Society

(p.301) 6 Cantonese Opera as a Mirror of Society
Understanding Canton

Virgil K.Y. Ho

Oxford University Press

The commercial success of Cantonese opera was attributed to the industry’s eagerness and ability to ‘modernize’ the stage. These changes did not necessarily represent a total distancing from its operatic traditions, but tradition and change were ambiguously and awkwardly mixed. This period also witnessed the rise of many legendary opera stars, an unprecedented socio-cultural phenomenon that reflected the increasing importance of the masses in influencing the course of social change in the city, independent of the so-called ‘high culture’.

Keywords:   Westernization, commercialization, sensationalization, mass audience, taste, opera, morality

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