I came across a beautiful set of portraits that Chia Aik Beng made of the Teochew Opera troupe, Lao Sai Tao Yuan recently. I have returned to this series a number of times, compelled by the intimacy of his portraits, and this facet of Singapore I’ve had no contact with.
Then chance stepped in. After some hours wandering around the Ramadan bazaar in Geyland Serai the other night, Flemming and I found ourselves in front of a big red and white striped tent with a performance by the very same troupe in full swing.
We sat down a while to take it all in. This was my first time watching a Teochew opera. I didn’t understand the language, nuance behind the make up, gestures and various stage elements. But its story was universal enough for the gist of the tale to come through (or so I imagined). Elaborate costumes, cymbals and piercing song, resplendent.
Fuji X-T10, 23mm f1.4