2nd NCPA “Kunqu Opera Festival” kicks off

NCPA March/04/2019
The 2nd NCPA “Kunqu Opera Festival” kicked off on March 1st and will end on the 16th. This year’s week-long festivities aims to excavate the humanistic connotations of the time-honoured Kunqu Opera and show audiences the charms of the Chinese traditional art. Three famous Kunqu Opera troupes, including The Northern Kunqu Opera Theatre, Suzhou Kunqu Opera Theatre of Jiangsu Province and Shanghai Kunqu Opera Troupe, will altogether gives eight performances of classic Kunqu Opera work A Dream of Red Mansions and Returning Home on a Snowy Night. These work have been adapted from literary classics in order to show new charms of masterpieces.


NCPA “Kunqu Opera Festival” written by Chinese Kunqu Artist HOU Shaokui.

On March 1st, the “Kunqu Opera Festival” kicked off with the Northern Kunqu Opera Theatre’s performance A Dream of Red Mansions. After the publication of novel A Dream of Red Mansions, some people hoped to stage the story in the Kunqu Opera scenes. Not until 2011 was a first full-length A Dream of Red Mansions brought out by the Northern Kunqu Opera Theatre as the first real full version of the Chinese classical novel in its history. Polished by the theatre for a few years, the whole opera is fired with a spirit of the original, highlighting the profound grandeur of the work hidden in tragic colours. Moreover, the modern element made it popular with a wider audience which include the young people.

The melodious tunes sound simple but still graceful, containing an infinitely charming sense of dance beauty, making an amazing combination of the literary work A Dream of Red Mansions with Kunqu Opera art cheerful and pleasing to the eye. It is about a touching love between Baoyu and Daiyu, as well as the rise and decline of the RONG Mansion. The performances lasted from March 1st to 2nd.

Still of NCPA debut A Dream of Red Mansions by Northern Kunqu Opera Theatre.
Photo by WANG Xiaojing

On March 12th-13th, the Suzhou Kunqu Opera Theatre of Jiangsu Province will appear at “Kunqu Opera Festival” with its production Returning Home on a Snowy Night, which tells a tale about WEI Liansheng, a famous actor in the Republic of China, going through the ups and downs of life. In 2012, the NCPA dramatized and staged Returning Home on a Snowy Night, winning high praise from the audience. The work was also adapted to Peking Opera, Ping Opera and Cantonese Opera, but it was never put on the Kunqu Opera stage before. Directed by WANG Shiyu in cooperation with CAI Zhengren as the advisor, YAN Quanyi as librettist and ZHOU Xuehua as music designer, Returning Home on a Snowy Night is made into Kunqu Opera by the Suzhou Kunqu Opera Theatre for a contemporary expression of this work.

Still of NCPA debut A Dream of Red Mansions by Northern Kunqu Opera Theatre.
Photo by WANG Xiaojing

On March 15th-16th, the Shanghai Kunqu Opera Troupe will perform two classic masterpieces—PEI Shaojun and LI Qianjun and The Lion’s Roar. Kunqu Opera PEI Shaojun And LI Qianjun, adapted from a poetic drama of the same title by BAI Pu, a dramatist in the Yuan Dynasty, consists of nine scenes, meticulously depicting the personalities of characters including LI Qianjun, PEI Shaojun, PEI Xingjian and PEI Fu in a strong comedic style.The Lion’s Roar was written by WANG Tingne, a dramatist writer in the Ming Dynasty. It tells a story about CHEN Jichang, a scholar in the Song Dynasty, and his “grumpy wife” Lady LIU. Kunqu Opera artists in all previous ages consciously ignores the feudalism, and highlights about humorous stories happen in the boudoir, which is advanced at the era. The Shanghai Kunqu Opera Troupe will perform this comedy rarely seen on the Kunqu Opera stage.
RELATED PERFORMANCE

Kunqu Opera A Dream of Red Mansions

Kunqu Opera A Dream of Red Mansions

Kunqu Opera Returning Home on a Snowy Night

Kunqu Opera Returning Home on a Snowy Night

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