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Photographer's Note

I had a hard time deciding how to crop this one. I resorted to my usual center-the-subject, but I've been seeing so many wonderful off center photos on TE lately I'm thinking he should be over to the left, showing more of the staff he's carrying. However, I liked the background dragon and didn't want to lose that. Any thoughts? I'll upload the uncropped as a WS.

Description from my other Opera photo:
While in Beijing, we went to see the Beijing Opera. It was an interesting experience. For our Western ears, the sound was a little hard to take. I could appreciate the talent and the training that the singers must have to produce these sounds and music. But, 1 hour was enough!

Sadly though, it's a dying art form, as the audience is more and more comprised of tourists and the much older generation who grew up listening to this (instead of the latest pop sensation with more looks than talent).

From Wikipedia:
Beijing Opera is a kind of Chinese Opera which arose in the mid-19th century and was extremely popular in the Qing dynasty court. It is widely regarded as the highest expression of the Chinese culture.

There are four main roles

* Sheng (生, Male role)
* Dan (旦, Female role)
* Jing (净, Painted face male role)
* Chou (丑, Clown role)

Except for the second role, the other three roles represent male characters.

There is an explanation about why the roles take the names above. It is said that they were chosen to mean oppositely. Sheng in Chinese may mean "strange" or "rare", but the chief male role is a character of well known. Dan, which means "morning" or "masculine", is the contrary of the feminine nature of the characters. Jing means "clean". But in fact, the paintings on face make the characters look like unclean but colorful. And Chou in Chinese sometime represents the animal "ox", which, in some senses, is slow and silent in contrast to Chou characters who are usually quick and talkative.

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Additional Photos by Ian Sewell (IanSewell) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 96 W: 11 N: 103] (579)
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