A cross-cultural combined arts prototype arising from cancer and remembering Cantonese opera

Ho, Wai-On (2016) A cross-cultural combined arts prototype arising from cancer and remembering Cantonese opera. Doctoral thesis, Anglia Ruskin University.

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This is a practice-led, creative, autobiographical PhD. I am a composer, and a creator/director of cross-cultural combined arts work/projects. I was trained at the Royal Academy of Music (London) according to Western principles. The music I love and know best is Western Classical, but my creative and directing practice has been influenced by my childhood impressions of Cantonese opera in Hong Kong. The process of surviving cancer three times alerted me to the possible demise of Cantonese opera. I have no training in Cantonese opera. My PhD constitutes an attempt to retain its characteristics in a new format that can be understood by Westerners and enjoyed by the general public, in the same way that Cantonese opera was enjoyed by even the lowest strata of society – I lived amongst these people as a child. My thesis discusses publications, on-line Cantonese opera performances and the works of other practitioners in cross-cultural combined arts. A specific online forum was created to collate information worldwide and to gather others’ memories of Cantonese opera performances. Cantonese opera was not well documented. My experience and memories contribute to the knowledge of what was happening at the time, adding a piece to the whole picture. The Cantonese opera that I remember was collaborative, adapting existing materials freely, and allowing recycling and modification by others. The basis of ‘Big Drama’ (as Cantonese opera is designated) is a Quben 曲本 (quasi libretto cum script). In the same way I have created a twelve-act humorous Quben called Song and Dance of a 3-Time Cancer Survivor that can be adapted freely by others. The text, music, production ideas and complementary materials for each act draw on memories of Cantonese opera. All these can be used in sections or in their entirety. The elements provided in the prototype are like pieces in a kaleidoscope, the possibilities are endless. Starting from a personal experience, this research offers a new prototype for creation and performance, combining Western and Cantonese concepts, which I hope will be accessible to many people.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Keywords: prototype for re-creation & multi-venue performance, autobiographical PhD, Anglo-Chinese & Hong Kong Cantonese culture, music composition & performing arts, Western classical music
Faculty: Theses from Anglia Ruskin University
Depositing User: Melissa Campey
Date Deposited: 23 Apr 2018 09:34
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2021 19:00
URI: https://arro.anglia.ac.uk/id/eprint/702945

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