Bangsawan is a form of Malay opera that is now considered a rarity in the Asian region. Like most western plays, bangsawan performances often depict classic tales of love and treachery. The most traditional types of bangsawan however, surround Malay myths.
Other popular children’s tales that inspire bangsawan plots include Bawang Putih Bawang Merah and Sang Nila Utama. Sang Nila Utama is a popular character from local history books, known for his discovery of the lion on the island of Temasek (Singapore’s original name before it was christened by Sir Stamford Raffles).
Bangsawan performances in Singapore are now typically performed on televised variety shows by the Sri Warisan dance troupe as well as during traditional Malay weddings that are held in the heartlands of Singapore.