Public talks hope to preserve ancient art

A public talk series on the basics of Kunqu Opera, in both Chinese and English, will be held at the Dayin Culture Center, starting on Friday next week.

Ruan Chuanju / Ti Gong

Bangu is the most significant musical instrument in Kunqu Opera, known as the “pace-keeper” of a performance.

One of the oldest existing forms of traditional Chinese theater, a 600-year-old genre called Kunqu, is facing enormous challenges to survive.

Due to the dramatic changes in the lifestyles of Chinese people over the decades, the art form is losing appeal.

In a bid to preserve the ancient tradition, Gwendoline Cho-ning Kam, an ethnomusicologist from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, has initiated a public talk series on the basics of Kunqu Opera. 

The talks will be held in both Chinese and English at Shanghai Dayin Culture Center, starting on Friday next week.

Accompanied by a small ensemble of percussion, wind and string instruments, a traditional Kunqu performance features actors who employ gestures, pantomime, mock combat and acrobatics, as well as stylized dancing and singing.

Lin Feng, a veteran musician from the Shanghai Kunqu Opera Troupe who specializes in bangu (literally “clapper and drum”), will be the first lecturer to give a talk on how percussion music shapes the genre.

After Lin, renowned Kunqu flautist Qian Yin and artists Li An and Luo Chenxue will hold the next three talks on Kunqu music and performance. 

Those who are interested can scan the QR code below or follow WeChat ID (dysj1834) for registration and updated information about the coming lectures.

Event details

Date: April 13, 7-8:30pm
Venue: Dayin Culture Center
Address: 308 Chongqing Rd S.



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