Kunqu Opera, considered by many as the origin of all traditional Chinese operas, has a close relation with Wuju Opera, a regional art form of Jinhua in Zhejiang Province.
From December 15 to 18, a series of performances will be presented to explore the artistic characteristics of the two operas.
Originated in Kunshan, Jiangsu Province, more than 600 years ago, Kunqu was listed as a “Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage” by UNESCO.
Kunqu’s vocal and performance style, as well as some traditional repertoires, are shared by Wuju Opera. Also, a few acrobatic stunts of Wuju Opera have recently been included in Kunqu Opera.
The series is a collaboration between Shanghai Kunqu Opera Troupe and Zhejiang Wuju Opera Troupe. Well-known excerpts of both operas will be staged, including “Hidden Boat” and “The Broken Bridge.”
All of the acts, based on ancient Chinese legends and folklore, demonstrate the blending and interaction of the two art forms. Some Wuju excerpts also display the magical skills of face-changing and spitting fire.
The Kunqu Opera work “Hidden Boat,” known for sweet vocals and beautiful melodies, vividly depicts a romantic scene of a fisherman’s daughter who gets to know a man of nobility on a small boat.
The Wuju Opera excerpt “The Broken Bridge” is adapted from “Legend of the White Snake” and tells a story of how the young scholar Xu Xian falls in love with Lady White Snake, a kind snake spirit.
Compared with other versions of the legend, the episode features more compelling dance moves and martial arts stunts to portray the charm and elegance of Lady White Snake.
The performances are presented by well-known artists Cai Zhengren, Yue Meidi, Liang Guyin and Lou Sheng. Officials from Shanghai Kunqu Opera Troupe says that the performance series will also launch a three-year partnership and academic exchanges between the two troupes.