Chinese opera is an all-round type of entertainment, combining music, dancing, acrobatics and fake combat into a show. Formerly very popular, it has since been replaced by sub-par imports such as Cantopop. Chinese opera is now in serious decline, only of interest to die-hard retiree fans and young people who have an appreciation for their native culture.

The opera does not focus only on musical aspects, it has heavy doses of martial arts as well. The plots are usually old epics, performed by highly customed performers, all male (for some odd reason, women were not allowed to perform). It is kind of like West Side Story in some ways, the chereographed fights are all done in a dancing manner, held to a strict beat provided by classic Chinese musical instruments.

Words are spoken in a sing-song tone. The best parts of a Chinese opera are the acrobatics, which are usually complicated. The Chinese drums pick up in tempo, the actors twist and leap higher, until it all culminates in a final epic battle between good and evil. Usual drill, but it is definitely better entertainment than say, pseudo-music peformed by some Korean pop kiddies.

Chinese opera is all but dead, but several famous Asian actors were trained in their style, including Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, and Sammo Hung. That explains why Jackie Chan is also a famous singer with several successful records in this part of the world. Now, he doesn't have to wear that weird makeup that is needed in Chinese opera, but he still supports the industry, despite the fact that he is participating in the dismantling of it. Western entertainment is a dominating factor in the downfall of Chinese opera. Oh well, c'est la vie.