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When Kunqu Opera becomes a hobby

07-07-2012 11:51 BJT

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College students are easily drawn-in by new trends and fashions, but today some are finding passion in older traditions. CCTV reporter Song Yaotian has met such young people in East China's Jiangsu Province, who are truly dedicated fans of ancient Chinese opera.

Zhu Ling is studying for her PHD at Suzhou University. She wants to translate Kunqu opera classics into English. She says Kunqu opera has a tremendous amount of artistic and literary value, so it's a pity that not many of the works have been introduced to other countries.

Zhu Ling, student of Suzhou University,said, "We have 102 full-length Kunqu operas, but only some 20 works have been translated into English. And most are translation of excerpts, not the whole work. Suzhou University is good at translating ancient classics. Our professor Wang Rongpei has translated all of the "four dreams" penned by Tang Xianzu. The first he completed was "Peony Pavilion." The course of exchanges between east and west has brought an input of western cultures to China at a much higher rate than the output of Chinese culture into western countries. Kunqu maintains the highest artistry of all ancient operas, and should be introduced to more people in western countries."

Zhu Ling is studying for her PHD at Suzhou University. She wants to translate Kunqu opera
classics into English.

Zhu Ling is a member of the Kunqu fan club at Suzhou University. The club now has around twenty members who gather around once a month to sing the songs and practice the art.

Zhu says it was a youth-oriented version of Kunqu opera classic Peony Pavilion, directed by famous Taiwan writer Pai Hsien-Yung, that really drew her to the world of Kunqu. The show toured numerous colleges in 2005 - and it turned out to be a sensation - pulling in many younger people into Kunqu's fanbase.

Zhu began to study the opera's singing from a professional in 2009. And two years of dance training and four years learning Chinese lute helped her develop her repertoire.

Zhu began to study the opera's singing from a professional in 2009.

Zhu and her fellow club-mates performed for a big gathering of Kunqu fans during Suzhou's Kunqu opera festival. Hundreds of amateur Kunqu singers attended the event.

This boy isn't yet out of middle school, but that hasn't restrained his tastes. He says he also became a Kunqu fan because of the youth-oriented version of Peony Pavilion.

A Kunqu Opera fan said, "I'm a fan of ancient Chinese literature - ancient poems in particular. Kunqu is a very exquisite art. It combines music, dance, costume, literature, and is China's most exquisite art."

It seems the art really is attracting people from all walks of life. This woman singing and dancing is a retired chef.

A Kunqu Opera fan said, "The lyrics of Kunqu opera are so beautiful. There is also beauty seen in the eyes of the performers."

Like Zhu Ling, Kunqu has become etched indelibly into their lives. And its that passion that's safeguarding the tradition.

These avid Kunqu learners have given the age old art form a new lease on life. While the world intangible heritage also gives an injection of culture and elegance to their lives.

Editor:Zhang Ning |Source: CNTV

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