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Kunqu Opera: Visible Representative of China Elite Culture

still of peony pavilion
The classic still of Peony Pavilion, the ancient representative of Kunqu Opera created by Tang Xianzu, known as the Legend of Chinese Love. Mudanting or Peony Pavilion perhaps is the most outstanding masterpiece of Kunqu opera. Its romantic story, poetic words, gentleman-like dialogue, aesthetic expression, classical gesture, rhythmical charm, fabulous costumes, dreamlike performance,elaborative stage background as well as the mythical result impress the audience deeply and widely. Du Liniang and Liu Mengmei's love story satisfies many people, because it is closely and rootedly associated with the core of Chinese tradition and Chinese culture. Distinguished from Liangzhu love story, This is much more understandable and welcome in public for its best result and best wishes. May all the people falling in love have the best marriage. Currently Bai Xianyong's latest edition of Peony Pavilion has been tremendously spread in China. It re-displays the great charm of Chinese classical culture and literature.

Kunqu Opera, born in Suzhou and domestically known as Suzhou Kunqu Opera, belongs to the first batch of intangible culture sites of China written into UNESCO World Intangible Culture Heritage List and is specially attractive and sophisticated in the aspect of displaying Chinese elite culture. It deserves the protection and spread in the name of UNESCO. Boasting the Forerunner of Chinese Traditional Operas, Kunqu is most influential and widely accepted by Chinese elite culture though it perhaps is not the oldest one in Chinese opera history in accordance with some professionals think Nuo Opera is the living fossil or the oldest opera in Chinese opera history. But it is really the oldest opera based on Chinese elite culture and exquisite classic literature. In other words, we definitely say It is the oldest elite's opera about Chinese culture.

Video of Peony Pavilion

Kunqu Opera still keeps it superior value for elites at present, though the traditional operas including Peking Opera are threatened by the exotic culture and gradually decentralized or marginalized. This is a time full of crisis to the further development of traditional culture. But, modern Chinese people never forget the charm and power of traditional culture, and some time, the tradition accidentally brings modern people a big surprise or amazement. Kunqu Opera is always the pioneer. As the youth-version of Peony Pavilion firstly performed in Peking University, a huge movement to rejuvenate the tradition also kicks off. So why does it begin with Kunqu Opera? It is necessary to have a discussion in details. Originally, Kunqu Opera was only created by the elites like Tang Xianzu, Shen Jing, Xu Wei, and so on. It highly reflects the quintessence of Chinese elite culture, though somewhere opposite to the orthodox.

Kunqu Opera generally is themed with the legend of love between a talented and handsome intellectual of society and a beautiful and well-educated young lady, and always illustrates the touching stories of the circle of elites. Furthermore, the stories reedited by the playwrights were mostly from the real life of the elites, so they used to be naturally widely famous among the elites. The classics of the Kunqu Opera can go through the efflux of time to deeply influence today’s audience. The Youth Edition of Peony Pavilion currently is still widely welcomed on campus. The power of love really can cross the time and space to impact everyone with a tiny connection with tradition. Kunqu Opera will not die away unless the tradition is destroyed for always. Ahd we also believe Kunqu Opera will be enjoyed by people of the world as Chinese traditional culture spreads globally

More Related Reading: The History of China Kunqu Opera

Writer: David from Seeraa International
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