Author : Susanna Goho-Quek Illustrator : Susanna Goho-Quek Publisher's Review : Peter Duke
What a wonderful story of a night that Susanna went to the opera with her siblings and cousins. Yes this story really happened! Her mother was the manager of a Chinese opera troupe. The main characters include, Susanna herself as a child, Susanna’s grandmother, Por Por, who took the troupe of children to the opera and her elder brother who was the star. The story is told in both English and Chinese and brings back to life a much loved art form that is seldom seen these days.
Susanna has captured the behaviour, the fun and the antics of children living in a large family. The story starts in the garden of her house watching her older brother Ah Khor practice for his performance at the opera that night.
Then what fun when grandma announces that she is going to take them to the opera to watch Ah Khor perform. There is much to do before they can go. Of course they have to dress in their best clothes but before that they have to help wash the car. Looks as if there is more soap and water on Susanna’s brothers and sisters and cousins than the car.
When they are scrubbed and dressed they pack into the car and set off for the opera. Once there they make their way to their seats and sit with Por Por waiting for the show. But they began to get impatient.
Of course they are up to mischief! There are some lovely pictures of the children back stage with Ah Khor and other stars. They try on make up, they dress in opera clothes and they cavort around pretending they are in the chorus.
The opera begins and the children sit mesmerised as they watch the actors and listen to the music and singing. Then Ah Khor appears to thunderous applause. What a star! He looks wonderful in his costume and delights the audience with his performance.
Once the performance is over it’s off home and sleep as Por Por sings them a lullaby.
At the end of the story Susanna has included a picture of her mother and father with all the children. Can you spot Susanna in the picture?
At the end of the book, the reader is invited back stage with several photos of real performers getting ready for a show.