At the concert hall of the Zizhu International Education Park at ECNU’s Minhang Campus, an audience gathered to experience the ancient, romantic charms of “The Peony Pavilion”. It was performed by the actors of the Shanghai Kunqu Opera Troupe live on the evening of April 26.
“The Peony Pavilion” - a play written by Tang Xianzu during the Ming Dynasty - is one of China’s most beloved and cherished opera classics. This enchanting tale, a love story that transcends both time and space, takes place in a garden setting where the characters encounter both dreams and supernatural elements. The heroine of the story, Du Liniang, is the daughter of the Nan’an Prefecture’s chief governor Du Bao. One day, Du Liniang falls asleep in the family garden of the governor palace, she has a vivid dream of falling in love with a handsome young scholar named Liu Mengmei. Although it has traditionally been performed as a Kunqu opera, today all Kunqu theater troupes include it in their repertoire of opera performances.
The drama on the ECNU stage was starred by young actors of the Shanghai Kunqu Opera Troupe - Zhang Li, Ni Xuhao and Lei Siqi - who displayed a heroic and sensational performance; the audience was most impressed with their soft voices and peculiar movements in their manifestations of the story.
The Shanghai Kunqu Opera Troupe was invited by the Daxia Stage to give this particular performance. As the solid leader and organizer of ECNU’s cultural activities since 2012, Daxia Stage is widley popular among ECNU teachers and students as a sponsor of fantastic Chinese cultural events ECNU’s life-force entertainment.
Kunqu Opera is one of the oldest forms of classical-Chinese opera style. It evolved from the Kunshan melody that dominated the Chinese theatre performances from the 16th to the 18th century. This style of opera originated in the Wu cultural area of eastern China’s Jiangsu Province. Since 2001, UNESCO has listed the Kunqu Opera as one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.