I’m not one who usually goes to the opera, but as part of our visit to Chengdu we had the option of attending the Sichuan Opera, more precisely called the Fu Rong Guo Cui – Legend of Face Changing. Our guide highly recommended the show and spoke of how the performers can change faces, right before your eyes, in an instant. The guide challenged us to figure out how they change faces. Plus the guide said there would be some martial arts. So we decided to culture ourselves and go. We’re not sure exactly what the opera was about. The English subtitles were often comical in their translation from Chinese. The opera featured a mix of traditional music, costumes, acrobatics, hand shadow puppets, laser lights and of course the changing faces. We had a front-row balcony view of the entire proceedings. At one point, one of the performers actually came up into the balcony and performed the face changing right in front of me and Alex. Sure enough, it was impossible to tell how the performer changed faces so quick. The technique, known as Bian Lian, is a closely-guarded secret and is associated with the Chengdu area. I’m guessing they use layered silk masks that can be pulled down into the costume quickly. As each one is pulled off, a different-colored silk mask is revealed. It was a very interesting evening to say the least. The following videos and photos were taken with the iPhone 6.

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