The Scholar and Feminist Online
Published by The Barnard Center for Research on Women

Issue 2.1 - Public Sentiments - Summer 2003

Can You Hear Me?: The Female Voice and Cantonese Opera in the San Francisco Bay Area
by Daphne Lei

I would like to express my gratitude to Ms. Laura Ma, Stacey Fong and Nancy Wong, who agreed to interviews for this article. Special thanks also go to Elaine and Samuel Wong, Master Pak Chiu Hung and Madam Lam Siu Kwan, Madam Liang Jing, and Master Wong Chi-Ming for their support for my work and for Cantonese opera.

"Where are the women?" A visitor to San Francisco's Chinatown in the 1850s might ask such a question after seeing an ocean of Chinese men in blue denim garb and long queues on the dusty streets. "Go to the theatre!" That would be one of the obvious answers, as the scarcity of women was "corrected" on stage, where Cantonese opera would offer what appeared to be a gender-balanced depiction of Chinese life. However, a closer look at theatrical conventions in the nineteenth century exposes the falsehood of such a claim: women were generally barred from the stage, and all the female parts were played by men! The first Cantonese opera in California was essentially a male art. However, during the past century and a half, social, cultural, political, and economic factors have all contributed to the transformation of Cantonese opera in the Bay Area. Cantonese opera, a "dying" art by many people's reckoning, is surviving in the Bay Area mainly due to the effort of a small group of women. In contrast to their marginalized role in early immigrant history, women today play a very important part in sustaining, preserving, practicing, and disseminating traditional Chinese opera in the Bay Area. The metamorphosis from a male art (all-male cast playing for an essentially all-male audience) in the nineteenth century to a largely female art today is a fascinating process. This essay will focus on the significance of this transformation, and especially on the contribution of contemporary women in the Bay Area.

The 1906 earthquake and fire wiped out San Francisco's Chinatown. Besides the historical documents that were lost, also erased was the Chinese voice, especially the utterances of Chinese women. When historians try to reconstruct the history of early Chinese immigrants, they will have to rely on writings in English, which generally fall into two categories: ethnographic reports and guidebooks. Such sources, written largely by authors ignorant of Chinese culture and language, present enormous challenges to the historian. Can we recover the buried history from amid all the confusions, stereotypes, mistranslations, and misunderstandings? In addition to trying to decipher the English documents and locating Chinese documents in archives outside of the Bay Area, such as southern California and Hong Kong, I also try to listen to the voices of contemporary Chinese women, through interviewing them, participating in their rehearsals, and attending their performances. Listen carefully: Chinese women are singing. Chinese women are heard again. Chinese women are actually taking the spotlight!

The Early History of Chinese Immigrants and Chinese Immigrant Theatre

The first major wave of Chinese immigration coincided with the Gold Rush. Most of the early immigrants came from areas near Canton (Guangzhou), a southern coastal city located on the Pearl River Delta. As one of southern China's major seaports, Canton was also capital of Guangdong province. The need for cheap and good labor in California provided a valid reason to import Chinese workers, and the political and economic climate in China and the invasion of Western imperial powers also encouraged such migration. Local Cantonese newspapers from this era were full of "wanted" advertisements for labor in "Gold Mountain" (the nickname of San Francisco). Experiences in Gold Mountain form the collective memory of the first wave of Chinese immigrants in the U.S.

The early Chinese immigrants were speakers of Cantonese, one of the major southern Chinese dialects. Cantonese was probably the first Chinese language introduced to the New World and has remained the language spoken in Chinatowns. Cantonese opera, the local dramatic form from the Canton region, sung and spoken in Cantonese dialect, followed the first wave of Chinese immigrants and became the representative "Chinese theatre" in nineteenth century California.

The first documented Cantonese opera performance was at the American Theatre on Sansome Street in San Francisco on October 18, 1852. Tong Hook Tong[1], a company of 123 members, operated on a grand scale: they brought their own costumes and orchestra, as well as their own theatre building! This prefabricated theatre building was to be erected two months after their arrival. On their first night at the American Theatre, Hong Hook Tong performed a number of spectacular and dramatic pieces, including traditional opening numbers such as "The Eight Genii" and "Too Tsin made High Minister by the Six States" (Alta California, October 16, 1852). Apparently, the "splendid performance" was a "great success" (Alta California, October 20, 1852).

A steady record of performance indicates that Cantonese opera performance had become a norm in San Francisco. For instance, in the late fall of 1855, another Chinese company, the Shanghai Theatre, opened in an existing two-story building on Dupont Street, the present-day Grant Avenue (San Francisco Chronicle, December 13, 1855). A year later, a Chinese troupe performed at Aldelphi Theatre (Bulletin, December 6, 1856). In 1860, the performance of "a celebrated company of Chinese actors" was also recorded (Bulletin, March 5, 1860). Cantonese opera, which retold familiar stories in the mother tongue, eased the lonely immigrants' nostalgia; on the other hand, with the development of tourism, Cantonese opera also became one of the must-sees for non-Chinese visitors to Chinatown. Unexpectedly, then, Cantonese opera found a space for survival in the ghettoized Chinatown in the nineteenth century.

Gendered Performance for a Gendered Audience

The need for labor in the Wild West, first in the gold mines and later in constructing the transcontinental railroad, brought mostly male Chinese immigrants into the U.S., while Chinese women remained at home taking care of the family. The first wave of Chinese immigration included virtually no women. As figures from 1909 show, only 16 Chinese women had immigrated by 1851, as compared to thousands of men (Coolidge 498, 502). The U.S. Census in the nineteenth century shows women generally accounted for a very low percentage of Chinese immigrants. In 1860, the ratio between Chinese men and women was about 18:1; in 1870, 13:1; in 1880, 21:1; in 1890, 27:1; and in 1900, 19:1 (Yung 293).

However, when Chinese women wanted to join their husbands or fathers in the New World, they faced nearly insurmountable challenges. After the gold was exhausted and the transcontinental railroad completed (1869), the West faced a serious surplus labor problem. Chinese immigrants, once valued for their docile attitudes and willingness to accept low wages, became an easy target in the West. A series of movements were thus organized to expel the Chinese from the U.S. These culminated in the 1882 "Chinese Exclusion Act," the first and only immigration law in American history to target a specific nationality.

But Chinese women became the target even before the whole Chinese "race." The Page Law (1875), originally designed to regulate prostitution, was subsequently used to discourage the immigration of Chinese women in general. Prostitution had been a problem in the west, as many adventurers-turned-laborers, like the Chinese, did not - or could not - bring their families along. The large male population provided another kind of gold mine for many women opportunists. The red light district was sizable, and, as Herbert Ashbury states, "there was no country in the world that was not represented in San Francisco by at least one prostitute" (34). In the case of Chinese prostitution, unfortunately, many young women were forced into the situation: some were sold by their fathers or relatives, and some were even abducted. Many of them had dreamed of marriage, work, or independence in the New World, and many of them came to this country to join their families. However, the general anti-Chinese sentiment treated all Chinese women as potential prostitutes. They had to prove themselves as "moral" women before they could enter the country. As Judy Yung points out, bound feet became one moral standard for Chinese women at the checkpoint (24). But this standard was actually misleading, as many "moral" women from certain regions did not practice foot-binding, whereas prostitutes probably bound their feet to heighten their sexual allure to potential clients. Under these circumstances, the sojourners' Chinatown was turned into a bachelor society.

This bachelor society coincided with the "all-male" performance in Cantonese opera. In Chinese theatrical traditions, impersonation by the opposite sex is rather common. Almost from the very beginning of Chinese theatre history, men and women shared the stage and impersonated each other. However, in the nineteenth century, more and more regional theatres adopted the convention of a "single-sex" troupe, which basically meant "all-male" troupes. Cantonese opera in the nineteenth century was essentially an all-male art. Cantonese opera flourished in the Pearl River region, and troupes usually traveled by boat. The boat carried all the costumes and props as well as all the members of the company. Except when they were actually on stage, troupe members spent almost all their time on the boat. The boat itself was the theatre company, complete with hierarchy and division of labor. Single-sex troupes certainly made traveling by boat more convenient.

The all-male theatre company on the boat, the all-male cast on stage, and the bachelor society in San Francisco Chinatown all reflect a significant synchronic social and cultural phenomenon.[2] Though performed by male actors, the world presented on stage was nevertheless a gender-balanced one. While women were scarce in reality, romantic love, marriage, and even childbirth (apparently a popular theme) in theatre nevertheless helped audiences live out their family dreams virtually. Traveling troupes from home brought familiar stories and spectacles, but unfortunately, they did not bring real women! In nineteenth-century San Francisco's Chinatown, real women had a difficult time competing with fake women on stage.

Women Then - On and Off Stage

Although Cantonese opera was primarily a male art in nineteenth-century Chinatown, a number of documented incidents indicate a very limited degree of women's involvement in theatre. According to Lois Rather, in 1881, the "first" woman player, Chow Chi, wife of the actor Ah Hong, appeared on the San Francisco stage when she was about 30 years old. She was highly respected by her fellow players, and when there was a disturbance from the male audience, her male actor friends "chivalrously interfered." A few more actresses were introduced in the following years, including the "four genuine girls" in the production Che Young Kwong at the Jackson Street Theatre in 1884 (Rather 84-86). A playbill in Figaro (November 14, 1878) advertised "Dramatic, Acrobatic and Gymnastic Company, from the Imperial Theatre, Canton (China), comprising the largest and most Wonderful Company of first-class male and female Artists that ever left THE FLOWERY KINGDOM." As most contemporary American theatre participants were probably not aware of the casting conventions in Cantonese opera, one has cause to doubt the validity of such a statement. Were the "female" artists really female? Or were they male actors specializing in "female roles" (female impersonators)?

In the auditorium, the sight of women always seemed like a spectacle. Many visitors write about the separate seating for Chinese women. From newspaper and journal accounts in this period, I find that "Chinese prostitutes" became, without any supporting evidence, a near-synonym for Chinese women. Gertrude Atherton describes the costly brocades and jewels, black well-greased hair, and delicately painted face of the "prostitutes of Chinatown." The gallery of women in Chinese theatre stood out against the background of Chinese men whose expressionless faces turned them into "rows of recently opened clams" (Atherton 55). These women, both real (actresses) and fake (male impersonators), along with the assumed prostitutes in their separate gallery, at least presented the illusion of gender-balance in the theatre. Theatres and brothels are the only places where women are usually mentioned in discussions of nineteenth-century Chinatown.

Women Now - On and Off Stage

The 1906 earthquake virtually eliminated San Francisco Chinatown. A Chinese community was established in Oakland before a new Chinatown was rebuilt in San Francisco. Today's Chinese communities spread across the East Bay and the Peninsula. With the boom in the Silicon Valley, new Chinese wealth has usually gathered outside of San Francisco, as many newcomers prefer to reside in the suburbs. San Francisco's Chinatown, continuously visited by tourists, has actually become a token Chinatown, both for Chinese and non-Chinese.

Although Chinese immigration to the Bay Area has continued for over a century, the recent major influx of Cantonese opera artists started in the 1980s, after China's promulgation of its Open Door Policy. Master Pak Chiu Hung (Bai Qiuhong) and Madam Lam Siu Kwan (Lin Xiaoqun, Pak's wife), Madam Liang Jing, and Master Wong Chi-Ming (Huang Zhiming) are the major senior figures, the master teachers, the sifu (shifu) in the Bay Area Cantonese opera circle. Once glittering stars, these retirees now devote their time to educating local people, hoping to perpetuate this old theatrical tradition. Most of them have established their own theatre organizations, teach Cantonese opera classes on weekends, assist students in productions, and occasionally perform themselves.

At first glance, the three schools (Pak and Lam, Liang, Wong) are gender-balanced, but a closer look at the people who are actually involved (whether in the classroom or in productions) reveals that women play a much more significant role than men in today's Cantonese opera circle. In general, three generations of people are involved in this art: on the most senior level are the sifu masters, most of them now in their sixties or even seventies. The youngest generation is the so-called ABC (American-born Chinese) generation, for whom English is a native language. But the major power in preserving Cantonese opera today comes from the middle generation, which consists mostly of middle-class, middle-aged women. Most of them came to this country when they were young children and grew up listening to Cantonese opera songs, which were "pop music" for their parents or grandparents. For many of them, the familiar sound of Cantonese opera is the only memory of their Chinese home. Many find themselves revisiting their childhood memories of Cantonese opera after they are socio-economically established, and taking on the transmission of the traditional art in a rather non-traditional way.

Although casual gatherings for Cantonese opera karaoke-singing take place fairly often, the practice of amateur Cantonese opera in the Bay Area is more often production-oriented. Performers start taking weekend singing and movement lessons from the sifu-masters months before the performance. Cantonese opera productions in the Bay Area today are very costly for a few reasons: there is not enough local technical and musical support, so set, costume, and musicians have to be imported; the lack of rehearsal and performance space increases the expense significantly; the lack of professional actors and the short runs (usually one performance) make it impossible for box office receipts to cover production costs. Therefore, fund-raising becomes the most important aspect of a production. Wealthy patrons are essential, and very often, these patrons are performers themselves.

The middle generation is crucial for the survival of Cantonese opera in the Bay Area. Nancy Wong, a registered nurse by profession and a major "player" in Cantonese opera (both on and off stage), identifies two kinds of women from the middle generation. The first are professionals, mothers, and housewives who pursue Cantonese opera as a pastime outside of their busy schedule. This group consists of performers and volunteers who donate time, energy, and money collectively. The second category is women from affluent families who have the means to hire professional stars from Hong Kong or China and stage big shows. Very often, they star in one or two scenes themselves. Without this kind of generous support, audiences would not have a chance to see "pros" in the Bay Area. After a typical period of "drifting away from Chinatown" in her youth, Ms. Wong "revisited" Cantonese opera in 1985: "[I] just happened to be in Chinatown one day, and saw a poster of an opera troupe from Mainland China, and that got me started all over again. Now a "Cantonese opera nut," she sings and supports her friends by donating hours or purchasing tickets. She even traveled to Hong Kong to see her favorite actors perform (interview, February 11, 2003).

Laura Ma, another important player from the middle generation, was the producer of a Tri-Valley charity performance in 2001 (July 8, 2001). Although she calls herself a non-active member because of her status as a "full-time mother, worker, and housewife," she managed to perform in two scenes (Taming of the Royal Princess, Parts I and II) and raised money for two charity organizations and three hundred tickets for senior home residents (interview, February 11, 2003). At the rehearsal I attended, she proudly showed me the headpiece she had just acquired from China at a cost of $400. She pointed out the "expensiveness" of being in a production: performers are responsible for their own costume and headpieces, singing lessons, and sometimes tickets for friends and charity donation (interview, June 23, 2001). Ms. Ma will also star in a full-length play The Lioness Roars in July, 2003.

Less than a century ago, Cantonese opera was still a men's art, but now the survival of the art relies heavily on women in the Bay Area. What has happened? Why did this transformation take place? Nancy Wong thinks that the "more romantic and passionate species" really fall for the theatricality and romanticism of Cantonese opera, whereas men are "too macho for this type of the art" (interview, February 11, 2003). It is difficult for these women to believe Cantonese opera will ever become a gender-balanced art at the amateur level. According to Laura Ma, Cantonese opera is an art that requires a lot of "patience, pressure, learning effort, money and time," which seems an impossible task for a man (interview, February 11, 2003). But is it really some intrinsically feminine quality of the art that attracts women?

To answer this question, I consider it illuminating to look at two aspects from the opposite sides of the Pacific Ocean: the immigrant mentality (which resembles the "frontier spirit" in certain respects) and the Confucius value system. Both systems reinforce patriarchy: men should be at the forefront to support the family financially, to participate in society, and to be responsible for the family's reputation. Women, on the other hand, should stay in the domestic realm and act as supporters for the frontier-builders. Man and woman work together as a family. This belief is still strong, and even established women I have talked to often express their success in subordination to their husbands. A wife in a family business often considers herself as a person "merely helping out" rather than an equal business partner. Participation in Cantonese opera can be viewed in this light. On the surface, it appears that women enjoy Cantonese opera because they are attracted to this "feminine" art; their husbands do not object because this is a "healthy" pastime for "wealthy" wives. Men, on the other hand, will not devote their time and energy to this art because they have to concentrate on "making it" - for themselves and for the family. At a different level, women's participation in Cantonese opera also provides a social, economic, and political connection to the Chinese community, which also benefits husbands and families. The performance program provides space for advertisement for a husband's or family's business while donations to charities secure prestige and social status for the family. The performance thus weaves an interconnected web for the Chinese community: in addition to enjoying themselves in singing and preserving a dying art, the women participants also contribute a great deal to the consolidation of their community. The domestic supporters in the family now have become the public supporters for the community. In this public arena of Cantonese opera, women are no longer "wives" or "mothers," they are legendary beauties, princesses and goddesses; sometimes they are even "men" who dominate - scholars, officials, or princes.

The Feminine Performance and the Future of Cantonese Opera

The female emphasis expresses itself both on and off stage. A number of people (again, mostly women) take weekend singing lessons regularly, but most of the classes are created for performance - students usually start their classes a few months prior to the performance, whether to learn a new song or to review an old piece. In general, traditional Chinese plays can be divided into civil and martial plays according to their performance style. Civil plays emphasize singing, speaking, miming and light dancing, while martial plays foreground acrobatic skills. Actors usually begin their training at a very young age, and the basic training covers both vocal and physical techniques. Since most amateur performers did not start practicing the art until age thirty or even later, the training usually focuses on singing skills rather than acrobatic movements. As a result, the general performance style leans toward civil rather than military modes. An amateur performance usually includes mostly singing and light dancing (sometimes as a group spectacle done by youngsters), rather than serious acrobatic movements. When fighting scenes are staged, the fighting appears more moderate because the masters are well on in years and the amateurs are not trained in serious martial roles.

Cantonese opera is not only an art practiced mostly by women, it is also seen as a feminine art because of the popular female-oriented themes of the plays. Popular plays include The Red Chamber (a love story), The Sword Revenge (a woman's suicide), Emperor Han Meets Madam Wei (a love story), Dream of Sui Palace (a story about a princess), Li Huiniang (a female ghost's story), Flower Princess (a story about a princess), and Western Beauty (a story of a legendary beauty). Most of them have women as the leading characters, and their male counterparts are usually also played by women. Traditionally, impersonation by the opposite sex has not been seen as a limitation in performance style, as good actors can transcend gender to portray the opposite sex as well as or better than non-gender-benders. However, without an established training system, these women performers largely remain "women" on stage. Linda Lee (Lin Caihua), with her low voice and imposing stature, is the rare woman who is seen as a perfect male impersonator.

The dominance of women is an important factor in determining the repertoire. It is worth noting how much the content and performance style have changed since the first performance of Cantonese opera in the U.S. in 1852. The play bill of Tong Hook Tong's first performance consisted of four numbers: the opening piece Eight Genii was a spectacle with both male and female characters, the second and third pieces were plays about male heroes, and the fourth piece, The Defeated Revenge, is unidentifiable. Although at least two pieces were about male heroes, they were still performed in the civil style. However, two nights later, the ticket price dropped significantly, and an advertisement emphasized the company's "feats of skill, vaulting, tumbling and dramatic performance" (Alta California, October 20, 1852). Since Chinese singing was considered unbearable, the Chinese language unrecognizable, and Chinese stories unconvincing, fantastic acrobatics and gorgeous costume seemed to be the only attraction in Cantonese opera for non-Chinese in the early period. The aforementioned advertisement in Figaro (November 14, 1878) was for a "Dramatic, Acrobatic and Gymnastic Company." Spectacles and acrobatics have been the traditional way to reach non-Chinese audiences since the nineteenth century, whereas the "drama" is probably reserved for Chinese only. Without acrobatics and gymnastics, one might wonder if Cantonese opera would still be attractive to the contemporary U.S. general audience, tourists, or even ABCs.

Samuel Wong, a CPA, opera-lover, and regular patron of Cantonese opera performances, believes that new plays, performance spaces, and English translations are necessary for transmitting the traditional art to the next generation. Both he and his wife Elaine Wong are the main force behind the "Saving the Great Star Theater" campaign.[3] He dreams of renovating the old theatre to include rehearsal and training space, as well as rooms to house visiting artists. Opera themes and stories, he argues, should be "modernized." The new bills, both in English and Chinese, should attract audiences both from inside and outside of the Chinese community (interview, July 8, 2001).

Stacy Fong, a major participant from the third generation, launched a website for the Bay Area Cantonese Opera artists in 2002. As the daughter of Emma Fong, an important figure from the middle generation, she has been "performing" small parts since childhood, but her more serious involvement started in 2000. Artistic (dance and piano), athletic (martial arts and figure skating), and multi-lingual (in English, Chinese, Spanish and Russian), Miss Fong is now pursuing a graduate degree in Business Administration. She thinks it is highly possible to make Cantonese opera as accessible to non-Chinese as Italian opera is. "The key is in driving Cantonese opera into the proper publicity channels and promoting it in the proper manner to the right audiences." That is the main reason she built the website, to "serve as a connection between the old tradition and the modern day, between the Chinese culture and the American culture." Although she is clearly the most active member of the third generation, she insists that she only does it "for fun and to relieve stress" (Interview, January 27, 2003). Who, then, is in a position to lead Cantonese opera to a brighter future?

As the population of Chinatown seems likely always to be renewed by new immigrants, one can imagine seeing the repetition of the three-generation pattern: the retired masters, the active second generation, and a small third generation. The first generation (Chinese speakers) passes on their professional art to the second generation (who read and speak both English and Chinese), but it is difficult to transmit the art to the third generation, as most of them will not even learn to read Chinese. Literacy (in Chinese) is important as all the songs are written in an archaic, poetic language. Even the vernacular dialogue is in an elevated style. Much of the meaning will be lost through the process of transmission (from Chinese-speaking, to bi-lingual, to English-speaking generation). The same observations apply to play appreciation among the audience. Unless there is a major influx of young professional actors from Hong Kong or China, Cantonese opera in the Bay Area has to rely on the middle generation and remain amateur. The amateur status reflects the Chinese American dilemma: it is essential for Cantonese opera to remain amateur for its survival, but will this status also mark the perpetual immigrant status for this art in the New World? Will Cantonese opera in the Bay Area always be seen as non-established and peripheral, as Chinese Americans, no matter how many generations later, are still seen as transient sojourners?


The transformation of an all-male art for the laborer class to today's Cantonese opera is significant. As Chinese immigrants became more affluent and established, they moved out of Chinatown and moved into American middle-class suburbia. Cantonese opera has taken up a new meaning for many "successful" Chinese Americans. It is a connection to home, a cultural heritage, and an expression of wealth and status. The new "rebirth" of Cantonese opera happened in the 1980s, as some retired master performers moved to the Bay Area and started teaching local people. It is an expensive art to practice and most participants are amateurs. Even as most traditional arts are "dying" without proper education and without government support, Cantonese opera is surprisingly "alive" in the Bay Area. It is the traditionally voiceless women who have taken on a man's job to transmit the art, to help strengthen the community, and most significantly, to project their female voice.

The curtains have risen and a woman is in the spotlight. The audience gradually quiets down. "Can you hear me?" She asks. Yes, absolutely. Pay attention! The show is starting. A woman is singing.


1. Tong Hook Tong is one of several forms given for the company's name in contemporary newspaper articles. Other variations include Hong Hook Tong, Hook Took Tong, Hong Took Tong and others. This is one example of the obstacles that one encounters in researching early Chinese immigrant history. The romanization of the Chinese name is almost never consistent, not to mention accurate. In the first advertisement for this company in Alta California (October 16, 1852), the theatre was called both Tong Hook Tong and Took Hook Tong. [Return to text]

2. The homosocial and homosexual situation, both in Cantonese opera companies and in Chinatown bachelor society, are topics that merit detailed discussion. The effeminization of Chinese men - as many early laborers took on "womanly" professions such as domestic workers, laundry operators and cooks - is also a large topic one cannot escape when discussing gender problems in Chinese immigration in particular and in Asian ethnicity in general. However, in this article, women and their contribution in Cantonese opera are my focus. [Return to text]

3. The Great Star Theater, located on Jackson Street, is the oldest existing Cantonese opera playhouse. It was built in 1925. However, for various reasons, the theatre has in recent years rarely hosted Cantonese opera performance and will probably be torn down. The "Save the Great Star Theater" campaign started in 2000. [Return to text]

Works Cited

Alta California, October 16, 1852.

Alta California, October 20, 1852.

Ashbury, Herbert. The Barbary Coast: An Informal History of the San Francisco Underground. New York: Alfred A Knopf, 1933.

Atherton, Gertrude. My San Francisco: A Wayward Biography. New York: Bobbs Merrill Co., 1946.

Bulletin, December 6, 1856.

Bulletin, March 5, 1860.

Coolidge, Mary Roberts. Chinese Immigration. New York: Henry Holt, 1909.

Figaro, November 14, 1878.

Fong, Stacey. "Bay Area Cantonese Opera." Available at:

Herald, October 8, 1852.

Lei, Daphne Pi-Wei. Interview with Stacey Fong (January 27, 2003).

--. Interviews with Laura Ma (June 23, 2001 and February 11, 2003).

--. Interview with Nancy Wong (February 11, 2003).

--. Interview with Samuel Wong (July 8, 2001).

--. "The Production and Consumption of Chinese Theatre in Nineteenth-Century California." Theatre Research International 28.3 (October 2003).

Riddle, Donald. Flying Dragons, Flowing Streams: Music in the Life of San Francisco's Chinese. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1983.

Rather, Lois. Chinese Theatres in America. Unpublished manuscript. 1943.

San Francisco Chronicle, December 13, 1855.

Yung, Judy. Unbound Feet: A Social History of Chinese Women in San Francisco. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995.

Return to Top      Return to Online Article      Issue 2.1 Homepage