A vibrant Kunqu Opera performance brightened the evening for guests at the Center.
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.
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.
Ms. Yu, General Director of the Shanghai Municipal Administration of Culture and Tourism, took the floor next. She wished “The Peony Pavilion” could charm the audience in Brussels, as it has done for centuries in China. 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. Likewise, the China Cultural Center in Brussels uses its platform to organize various cultural events that present 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 William 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 percussion and flute music accompanying the play made the artistic experience even richer.
After the Center had hosted the Shanghai Kunqu Opera Troupe for the first time in 2016, the troupe showcased the art of Kunqu Opera once again. The wonderful performance at the Center captivated the audience. The unique and beautiful vocals of Kunqu Opera were followed by a warm round of applause.
Before and after the performance, some guests took the opportunity to have a look at the current exhibition at the Center, titled “The Master and His Ten Pilgrimages to Huangshan – Exhibition of the collection of the Liu Haisu Art Museum”. General Director Yu visited the exhibition as well and enjoyed the landscape paintings by Liu Haisu.