At the end of my November trip to China's Sichuan Province, we spent several days in Chengdu, a city of about 10 million people who pride them selves not only being modern and relaxed, but also the center of the distinct art form called Sichuan Opera.
"Dear Kathy, in Chengdu tonight very funny henpecked husband character at Sichuan Opera a hoot, and secretive face changers amazing. Traditional musical instruments great, beer even better. Tom "
I was expecting the stiff and formal opera style often associated with Beijing Opera, notably a lot of loud screeching. I was quite surprised with the program at the Shufen Ya Yun Tea House, which in addition to the opera performance featured amazing musicians and shadow puppeteers.
Wikipedia describes it much better than I - "...Overall the art form is well known for its singing, which is less constrained than that of the more popular Beijing opera form. Sichuan opera is more like a play than other forms of Chinese opera, and the acting is highly polished..."
The show wrapped with two secretive face-changing artists, who whipped multiple masks off their faces in a blink of the eye. We were told the skill is a highly guarded secret.
I can't say I did any fancy audio engineering to capture the sound bed for my second Talking Picture Postcard ... I simply left my recorder near the orchestra pit and let it run, leaving both hands free for either a camera or a cold beer.
Here's a link to more multimedia photography Talking Picture Postcards.