Advice for Attending the Cantonese Opera
Posted October 02, 2013
1. Don't go dressed like this.
At least not to the Hong Kong Cultural Centre on a Wednesday night. All of the people in jeans and shorts will look at you funny. While it can be reassuring to know you're the best dressed people in the place, it can also be frustrating to have used up over a third of your backpack on a suit and dress you didn't actually need. (Raj is holding his jacket out of view. He's not wearing it for the walk there because Hong Kong was unseasonably warm even for Hong Kong in September when we were there: roughly 1000°F most of the time. Plus humid.)
2. Do not go to the Cantonese Opera. It's awful. I hate to speak against an entire art form and I suppose it's possible we just caught a bad one. But I don't think so. I'm sure the lyrics in Cantonese are really quite lovely, but the English translation lacked any artistry whatsoever. Lots of "I'm the queen so everybody has to do what I say." sort of stuff. And dischordant music, plus cymbal crashes. And drum crashes. (If you must go, make sure you sit far, far away from the orchestra pit.) The one we went to had very little action, apart from people having arguments, with each statement punctuated by a loud percussive crash.
We're fans of Western-style opera. But this one...we left at intermission. I think Raj would have stuck it out, but I couldn't take any more. We had such a short time in Hong Kong, it seemed a crime to waste another hour and a half stuck watching more of the same, so I suggested we bail.
We walked along the harbor for the view of the Hong Kong Island side.
Then we were feeling peckish. We'd had a big lunch so we'd skipped dinner. We decided to stop into the very swanky Peninsula Hotel (sort of the Plaza Hotel of Hong Kong, as we understand it) for drinks and a snack.
We split a sandwich, which we agree is pretty much the best sandwich we've ever had. And had some delightful cocktails. Fun fact: several of the cocktails in the Peninsula Hotel's lobby bar menu are "inspired by" shops also located in the Peninsula Hotel. The Proposal, inspired by Tiffany engagement rings. The Traveler, inspired by whatever the luggage store is there. And so on. I didn't have any of the sponsored drinks though, as the drinks of the bubbly persuasion were on a different page. You know me and bubbly, Internet. I like my drinks like I like my men: tall, effervescent, and within arms' reach.
And I like my opera like I like my prosecco: Italian.