Literally translating as the “face-changing” performance, Bian Lian is one of the most interesting and notable aspects of the famous Sichuan Opera which has been in existence for hundreds of years. The unique style of opera in China is a must-see in cities like Beijing and Chengdu.
The main part of the performance involves bright-colored masks, which are worn by the various opera performers, being switched in one quick motion, either using a wave, a head turn or a fan swipe.Â Some of the style changes include: Beard Manipulation, Blowing Dust, Face Dragging and Pull Down Masks.
This branch of Sichuan Opera was seldom performed or seen outside of China until just over a decade ago. It has recently come to be more internationally performed and renowned. One of the best places to see a Bian Lian performance is at the Shufeng Yayun Tea House in the Chengdu Culture Park. This tea house is divided into two sections; the old and the new tea house and holds around 800 and 80 seats respectively.
Nightly performances of Sichuan Opera and the Bian Lian show are usually held at 8 p.m in the park.