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Sichuan opera

5 minutes

The extraordinary physical and mental demands of performing Sichuan opera

With origins deep in southern China’s folk storytelling and music customs, Sichuan opera is characterised by traditional instrumentation, a distinctive singing style, elaborate, colourful costumes, changing masks that reflect characters’ emotional states, and daring stunts including martial arts, acrobatics and fire-breathing. Part of a video series on work in modern China by the US filmmaker Noah Sheldon, this short documentary profiles the Chongqing-based Sichuan opera singer Zhou Xing Yu as she prepares for her next show, reflecting on her abiding love of performing despite the intensity and pain of many years of training.

Director: Noah Sheldon

Producer: Jean Liu

Composer: Nick Zinner

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