Customization of Performance: Cantonese Operatic Song Groups at Temple Street of Hong Kong in 1990s

  • Wing Cheong Lam
Part of the Landscapes: the Arts, Aesthetics, and Education book series (LAAE, volume 24)


There is no clear source to determine when Cantonese operatic singing activities first emerged as urban street performance in Hong Kong. From 1940s to the end of 1960s, many ambulatory song groups existed in eight urban locations. In the late twentieth century, Temple Street was the only location that six Cantonese operatic song groups were enjoying their stable period there. Among song groups, Dai Zung Kuk Ngai Se (大眾曲藝社) was the dominant one that got majority of audience at Temple Street in early 90s. Ten years later, Discovery Channel produced an half hour programme about this song group right before its decline, as well as the decline of Cantonese operatic singing activities at Temple Street. This paper examines the procedures and methods used by street performers to alter or modify Cantonese operatic song performances in response to contextual changes. These procedures and methods were examined in the diachronic and synchronic contextual dimensions, as well as its spatial, temporal, extrinsic, and intrinsic aspects. Focus is placed on the purposes of customization used by performers, the factors that have caused the need for customization, and the audience reaction to it.


Street performance Temple Street Cantonese operatic song Performing context Hong Kong Song Group Dai Zung 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wing Cheong Lam
    • 1
  1. 1.The Chinese University of Hong KongHong KongChina

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