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Kunqu class opens at Peking University

2010-03-13 16:06 BJT


The exquisite art of Kunqu Opera is attracting an academic following in Beijing, where the first Kunqu class opened on Thursday at Peking University. More than 300 university students attended the class to learn more about China's oldest form of opera.

Peking University's largest lecture hall was filled with students sitting in aisles and standing in the back and at the entrance.

All were in attendance to see Pai Hsien Yung, the renowned Taiwan writer who in recent years has established his reputation as an ardent promoter of Kunqu opera.

Pai was at the Beijing university to deliver his first lecture of a newly-opened course called, "Classic Kunqu Appreciation".

Pai Hsien Yung, Kunqu Promoter, said, "Kunqu epitomizes the highest achievement in Chinese aesthetics. This course aims to introduce the opera form to students, endear them to our traditional culture and carry on the valuable heritage art form. "

The optional course covers all aspects of Kunqu Opera and starts in April. It spans three months, with a weekly lecture from famous Kunqu opera performers, theorists and producers.

Thursday night's lecture focused on Pai's popular Ming Dynasty love story, "Peony Pavilion", with a live demonstration by performers of the stage show. Having twice performed at Peking University, the show has earned a loyal following since its premiere in 2005.

The Kunqu course had an initial quota of 120 students, but this increased to 200 because of popular demand.