Kunqu Opera fans were treated to performance of “The Peony Pavilion”
November 12 was a lucky day for Kunqu Opera lovers. That Tuesday evening, the Shanghai Kunqu Opera Troupe performed “The Peony Pavilion” at the China Cultural Center in Brussels for 140 guests. The event was jointly organized by the Shanghai Municipal Administration of Culture and Tourism, the China Cultural Center in Brussels and the Shanghai Kunqu Opera Troupe.
Special guests who attended the performance were Ms. YU Xiufen, General Director of the Shanghai Municipal Administration of Culture and Tourism; Mr. CHE Weimin, Minister-Counselor of the Chinese Mission to the EU; Mr. XIANG Shihai, Counselor of Culture of the Chinese Embassy in Belgium; and Ms. FENG Yuanjun, Vice-Director of the Shanghai Kunqu Opera Troupe.
Ms. Yu Ms. Feng
Before the performance, Ms. Feng, Vice-Director of the Shanghai Kunqu Opera Troupe, highlighted Kunqu Opera’s long history of more than 600 years. A performance art that combines singing, acting, dancing and martial arts, Kunqu Opera has become a cherished Chinese opera genre with a profound literary style. “In 2001, UNESCO has proclaimed Kunqu Opera as a masterpiece of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity,” Ms. Feng said.
When Ms. Yu, General Director of the Shanghai Municipal Administration of Culture and Tourism, took the floor, she compared the importance of “The Peony Pavilion” to William SHAKESPEARE’s play “Hamlet”. For this finale of the series in celebration of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, she wished that the Kunqu Opera performance resonated with viewers who are used to Shakespeare’s works.
Ms. Yu also called for more cultural exchanges between China and Belgium, citing Shanghai and the China Cultural Center in Brussels as examples. Shanghai is a culturally diverse city, focusing on strengthening cooperation with Europe and other places. The China Cultural Center in Brussels uses its platform to organize various cultural events to promote Chinese art and culture.
“The Peony Pavilion” is the most classic play in the repertoire of Kunqu Opera. It was written by TANG Xianzu, a Ming Dynasty playwright, nicknamed “Shakespeare of the East”. The play can be compared to Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”, as both are immortalized masterpieces about the tragedy of love. The story of “The Peony Pavilion” was brought to life by award-winning actors Ms. YU Bin, Mr. WEI Li and Ms. TAO Siyu, members of the talented cast of the Shanghai Kunqu Opera Troupe.
The Shanghai Kunqu Opera Troupe, established in 1978, is a professional art performance group with the mission to preserve and pass down the art of Kunqu Opera. Devoted to both inheriting tradition and creating new productions, the troupe has revived and performed many Kunqu Opera plays. In its artistic pursuit, the troupe introduces its excellent productions and performances around the country and abroad, gaining recognition on a global scale. This is the second time the Center has hosted the Shanghai Kunqu Opera Troupe, after their first performance in 2016.
The wonderful performance at the China Cultural Center in Brussels captivated the Belgian audience. The unique and beautiful vocals of Kunqu Opera were followed by a warm round of applause.
Before the performance, General Director Yu visited “The Master and His Ten Pilgrimages to Huangshan – Exhibition of the collection of the Liu Haisu Art Museum” and enjoyed the landscape paintings by Liu Haisu.