Great China Stage: Experience Beauty of Kunqu Opera


On April 24, a special Kunqu Opera show for the youth, one of the Great China Stage series of activities, was held on Minghang Campus. The performers from Shanghai Kunqu Opera Troupe received great applause from over 600 students and teachers with their beautiful singing, elegant lyrics and witty performance.


Performers demonstrate features of various roles in Kunqu Opera. 


An actor teaches ECNU students baisc gestures of Kunqu Opera.   


The show was composed of three parts: introduction of basic knowledge of Kunqu Opera, demonstrative performance, and interaction with the audience.


 An actor demonstrates the process of puting on costumes with the help of his colleagues.


An actor helps a student audience to experience the face painting. 

 A student tries on costumes.

A student interacts with the actors.


Ji Yunfeng, a national class-B artist and a Wusheng (an actor playing a martial role in Chinese operas), hosted the show. With his introduction, the performers demonstrated the features of various roles in Kunqu Opera: Sheng (a common name of male characters ), Dan (the general name for female characters), Jing (painted face often refers to male characters with unique appearance or personality), Mo (roles of middle and old aged men), and Cho (a comic role ).


During the show, the actors/actresses gave marvelous performances of several sections of famous Kunshan Opera repertoires such as “Crossroads”, “The Peony Pavilion”, and “The Legend of the White Snake”, which won high praise from the audience. 


A section of Crossroads. 

A section of The Peony Pavilion.

A section of The Legend of the White Snake.

A section of Princess Baihua Sends Sword to Her Lover.


The show also has an interaction section in which several students were invited on stage to interact with the performers. With the guidance and help of the performers, these students learned some basic movements, tries on costumes, put on facial paintings, and sang a few lines of Kunqu Opera.


The prolonged clapping and enthusiastic cheers echoed lastingly in the concert at the end of the entire show. Many audiences said that all the singing, dance and exquisite costumes were so impressive and attracting that they were completely indulged in the two-hour show. 




A special Kunqu Opera show for the youth is held on Minghang Campus. 


Kunqu Opera, famed as “the ancestor of Chinese operas”, is one of the oldest extant forms of Chinese opera. It evolved from the Kunshan melody, and dominated the Chinese theatre from the 16th to the 18th centuries. The style originated in the Wu cultural area. It consists of singing, speaking, acting, acrobatic fighting and dancing, and it’s famous for its refinement music, poetic lyrics and graceful gestures. It is listed as one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO since 2001.




Written by: Shi Yangyang


Edited by: Liu Jinyu






East China Normal University