The Peking Opera in Algarve

There is a special treat for music lovers on 23 September when the Beijing (Peking) Opera company visits Portugal and presents four excerpts from traditional Chinese Opera, particularly the Myths and Legends of China: The Flying Dragon and the Dancing Phoenix; Goodbye My Love; The Heavenly Maidens Spreading Flowers and the Battle of Mu Guiying in Hong Zhou. Performances by this opera company (formed in 1962 in Nanking) are rare outside China and Portugal’s Algarve is very honoured to be hosting this spectacular event. Chinese opera is a colourful spectacle, involving amazing costumes and props – you don’t have to be able to understand either the language or the music of the country to enjoy what will be an incredible evening’s entertainment.

How to get there

Portugal, and in particular the Algarve, is a very popular tourist destination from the UK and flights are frequent from most airports. As the most southerly of the Portuguese cities and the centre of the region, Faro, which is the venue for the Beijing Opera performance, has good transport infrastructure so is easy to reach from Lisbon or Seville in Spain. The Algarve, though popular, is still rarely crowded and for a quiet holiday towards the end of the season it is hard to beat. Whether a one-stop holiday or part of a tour, Faro is a lovely place to visit and Portugal is currently a cheap destination, so a long weekend to take in the opera would be a great treat to make the English winter seem a little shorter and less grey. Looking for a last minute deal? Check out what deals First Choice have on offer.

Catch a previous Peking Opera performance

 

In between operas

Faro itself is a pretty place, not too big and so easy to look around on foot. The streets are tiled and meandering and there are plenty of bars, restaurants and coffee shops to while away the time. For bird lovers or anyone interested in ecology, the Ria Formosa Lagoon is only about four miles outside the city and is a wonderful place to visit over and over again. It has literally thousands of birds visiting as part of their migratory path and so late September is a wonderful time to be there. The temperatures can be high at midday (often touching one hundred degrees Fahrenheit even in September) but there is little rain and so the humidity is comfortable. The whole area is full of lagoons and sand dunes so there is always something to see for anyone who likes nature which has not been ‘tamed’.

More affordable than you may think

Since the Euro zone crisis, Portugal is quite cheap and there are many bargains to be had in hotels and also restaurants. Portuguese cuisine is very interesting and not at all typical of some of the other Mediterranean styles. Although there are lots of salads and seafood of course, the Lisbon Pastes de Nata (custard tarts made with puff pastry and orange zest) are available throughout the country and are delicious served warm with coffee out in a shady square.

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