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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

Chapter:
(p.301) 6 Cantonese Opera as a Mirror of Society
Source:
Understanding Canton
Author(s):

Virgil K.Y. Ho

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0199282714.003.0007

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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