Cantonese Opera Make-up Class

One of the things a good opera actor/actress has to know is how to apply opera makeup for their roles. Whether you are a Hua Dan (lead actress), Xiao Sheng (lead actor), Lao Dan (elderly actress) or Chou Sheng (comedian actor), you have your own unique type of makeup. For me, I am a Hua Dan. So, I have to learn how to makeup a face of a Hua Dan. Each of us is unique as our facial features and shape of the face is different. In opera makeup, you have to know your face structure well in order to enhance the assets of your features and play down those less blessed areas. The class is held at Kolam Ayer Community Club every friday evening. Our teacher Miss Qi Chao Qun is very dedicated in teaching us the techniques of opera makeup. Being a professional opera actress herself for almost 30 years, she is very knowledgeable in this field. Most of us in class are opera enthusiasts. Some of my classmates are what I called “part-time professional” which means they are as good as the professionals but they do opera as a hobby basis and don’t rely on it as a job. All of us enjoy the makeup class. Especially some of them who are executives in corporate firms. After a day of hard work and at the end of the week, they come here to dabble with paints and colours, applying leisurely on their face… Janny, my friend even finds it therapeutic! Although it is quite a hassle to remove it lateron (sometimes we would find it a waste, especially if the makeup is beautiful that day), but we all enjoy it very much.

Chinese Cantonese opera makeup lesson in Singapore
I look very different in opera makeup, don’t I? That itself is an art. Hmm…personally, I think it could be even better. I took 2hrs to do this makeup. For this class, we learn just the makeup. The hairstyling technique will come later as that area is another different art form we have yet to learn.
Ye Ruoshi in her opera makeup
Another day of practise. This time, I prefer the look of my left eye and my lips.


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