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January 13, 2018

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Happy birthday, Kunqu Opera

THE Shanghai Kunqu Opera Company will stage a series of performances next month to celebrate its 40th anniversary.

On February 23, a special gala will raise the curtain on the weeklong celebration. The gala will look back on the development and evolution of the company over the decades through Kunqu Opera excerpts, recitations and singing.

It will be hosted by Pu Cunxin, president of the China Theater Association.

Artists from the country’s other major Kunqu Opera troupes will also join local performers in two shows of classic excerpts from well-known Kunqu Opera plays.

The Shanghai Peking Opera Company will collaborate with the local Kunqu company on a special martial arts performance. Visually stunning fight scenes from “Legend of the White Snake” and “The Hu’s Village” will be presented.

The popular newly polished version of the Kunqu classic “The Palace of Eternal Youth” will also be staged.

Kunqu Opera masters Cai Zhenren and Zhang Jingxian will perform with talented young performers to tell the tragic love story between Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907) Emperor Li Longji and his concubine Yang Yuhuan.

A special performance of “The Peony Pavilion” will conclude the celebration on February 28. In this version, male performers will play female characters and vice versa.

Since its establishment in 1978, the Shanghai Kunqu Opera Company has preserved around 300 traditional excerpts and 60 complete plays.

Many classics have been revised for modern audiences, and the company has nurtured talent in acting, scriptwriting, directing, music and stage art.

It also hosts regular performances for students, white-collar workers and community residents to promote Kunqu Opera.


Date: February 23-28, 7:15pm

Venue: Shanghai Grand Theater, 300 People’s Ave

Tickets: 80-580 yuan


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