Teochew opera: Family takes centre stage

Teochew opera: Family takes centre stage

SINGAPORE - Vibrant colours in a small corner of a dark carpark draw the eye.

A smattering of red plastic chairs stand before banners and a backcloth with bright yellow, blue and red designs. Not all seats are taken.

Behind the cloth, the air is filled with chatter in fluent Teochew and the frantic energy of rapid costume changes.

Behind this makeshift stage tucked away near a heartland temple, a traditional Teochew opera troupe is preparing for its show.

As the singers of Xing Ye Li Heng Opera Troupe paint their faces and change into their outfits, troupe leader Tina Quek, 44, makes sure everything is in place so that the show can start on time.

For Madam Quek, the opera is a family affair.

Her husband, Mr Ang Chee Bok, 52, helps to shift stage props.

Noticing her daughter, Christine Ang, 15, at the make-up table, Madam Quek barks in Teochew: "Ah Hao and Ah Li, go get changed!"

She is referring to her sons, Ang Wei Hao, 12, and Ang Wei Li, nine. All her children are set to perform.

In the world of Teochew opera, where many of the singers are now senior citizens with years of experience, Madam Quek's three children are a rare sight.

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