POTD: Phantoms at the Opera – or Hungry Ghost Festival Getai

The Phantom of the Opera is playing in town at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. But in many places in the heartlands, special front row seats have been specially reserved for the “real” hungry phantoms from Hell.

Special front row seats for some very special guests. All photos taken with a Nikon D5200 with AF-S NIKKOR 18-55mm DX f/3.5-5.6G VR kit lens. All the photos (except the one above which was taken at ISO 5000)  were taken at ISO 6400. Photo credit: John Tan.

Special front row seats for some very special guests. All photos taken with a Nikon D5200 with AF-S NIKKOR 18-55mm DX f/3.5-5.6G VR kit lens. All the photos (except the one above which was taken at ISO 5000) were taken at ISO 6400. Photo credit: John Tan.

So I was driving back from the Lenovo launch in town, and thinking of the Phantom of the Opera musical that the family was going to watch the next day.

The MC for the night is this fancifully dressed lady. Does she remind you of Liu Ling Ling in the local award-winning movie 881? That’s because it is Liu Ling Ling!

The MC for the night is this fancifully dressed lady. Does she remind you of Liu Ling Ling in the local award-winning movie 881? That’s because it is Liu Ling Ling!

Another performer for the night. Each singer performs a few songs, which may include requests from the audience and the residing deity of the temple organising the Getai.

Another performer for the night. Each singer performs a few songs, which may include requests from the audience and the residing deity of the temple organising the Getai.

Along the way, I noticed a huge marquee that had been set up to celebrate the Hungry Ghost festival, so I pulled over to catch a live Getai performance.
If the previous photo have you thinking the audience is sparse, this is what the audience sitting behind those front row seats look like.

If the previous photo have you thinking the audience is sparse, this is what the audience sitting behind those front row seats look like.

There must have been like a few hundred crammed into the Marquee, watching gaudily dressed singers belting out song after song in Mandarin and the Hokkien dialect.

Here’s a male performer who the MC introduces as being capable of outputting dual sound. Any guesses what that means? Dual dialects?

Here’s a male performer who the MC introduces as being capable of outputting dual sound. Any guesses what that means? Dual dialects?

Most of the performers at Getai’s are female though. Apparently, this young songstress also appeared in the movie 881.

Most of the performers at Getai’s are female though. Apparently, this young songstress also appeared in the movie 881.

Right in front of the stage, as is customary for a Hungry Ghost Getai – were seven seats reserved for visiting hungry ghosts to enjoy the show.

The entire atmosphere was electric and it was obvious the audience totally enjoyed the show.

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