Happy birthday, Kunqu Opera

The Shanghai Kunqu Opera Company will celebrate its 40th birthday with a week of special performances from February 23 to 28.
Ti Gong

Gu Haohao (fifth from left), director of the Shanghai Kunqu Opera Company, with some of the celebrated Kunqu artists

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 plays.

The Shanghai Peking Opera Company will collaborate with the 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 Zhengren 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.

Performance details

Date: February 23-28, 7:15pm

Tickets: 80-580 yuan

Tel: 6386-8686

Venue: Shanghai Grand Theater

Address: 300 People’s Ave

Ti Gong

Gu Haohao, director of the Shanghai Kunqu Opera Company, will perform martial arts excerpts from “Legend of the White Snake.” 

Ti Gong

Kunqu Opera classic "The Palace of Eternal Youth” will star masters Cai Zhengren and Zhang Jingxian.

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