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Behind the Singing Masks

Behind the Singing Masks

Foreword by: Wang Jiren / Translated by: Yawtsong Lee
A family of Chinese opera performers struggles to remain true to each other and their art as they are buffeted by political turmoil and personal drama.

The eventful lives of three generations of outstanding Chinese opera performers form the framework of Behind the Singing Masks, a story of turmoil and resolution, both personal and political.

Xie Yingge, a celebrated dan actor of Yue Ju (also known as Shaoxing Opera), grew up and thrived in an environment alive with music. But just as she and her art form were at their zenith in the 1960s, the Cultural Revolution arrived to tear them down. After the decade-long turmoil, as Xie Yingge was poised to revive her career, a stroke forced her to leave the stage for good. To perpetuate the stage persona she had devoted her life to creating, she directed, with the complicity of her younger sister and her stage partner, a play of masks that lasted sixteen years.

Was it life imitating art or art imitating life? This engaging story of human frailties, magnified by political movements, is marked by betrayal but also dedication, both to loved ones and to art.
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  • Shanghai Press | 
  • 300 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781602202474 | 
  • October 2014
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