Workshop on Kunqu Opera

08 August 2014

Friday August 15th, 1:30pm, Confucius Institute for Scotland. Entrance Free (RSVP)

2As the inaugural event of the Chinese Opera Association of Scotland 苏格兰戏曲社, we are delighted to host (at short notice), in partnership with the Confucius Institute for Scotland and the University of London Chinese Opera Network, a lecture demonstration and workshop on the performance of the female (dan) role-types in Kunqu opera* with Bi Yuting 毕玉亭, a rising young star in Shanghi.

Bi Yuting is a member of the fifth generation of actors (Kun Wu Ban) to be trained since Yu Zhenfei launched the Shanghai School of Theatrical Arts in 1953. Her primary teacher, Liang Guying 梁谷音 , is part of the first generation (Kun Da Ban) and one of the most prominent and admired Kunqu actresses of the modern era, whose creative renditions of certain roles are now seen as definitive within the Kunqu repertoire.

1At the age of the 13, Bi Yuting won the prestigious Junior Plum Blossom Award for her performance of the frustrated nun Se Kong in the playlet  Si Fan ("Yearnings for an Ordinary Life"). She made her premiere on the Shanghai Yifutai stage in 2010 and is now in the final year of her formal training at the Shanghai Theatre Academy. Yuting specialises in the young female role-types, guimen dan (boudoir or "fifth dan") and lively tie dan (or "sixth dan"), and will be demonstrating the different performance conventions of these and others.

She will give non-costumed performances of scenes from The Peony Pavilion and Romance of the Western Chamber (with subtitles), and at the end of the session will teach movements to one excerpt for anyone who would like to participate and learn.

The event will be hosted by Kim Hunter Gordon a Chinese theatre scholar and amateur Kunqu performer from Royal Holloway, University of London, and will take place in the ground floor mirror room at the Confucius Institute for Scotland, Abden House, 1 Marchhall Crescent, Edinburgh, EH16 5HP, 0131 662 2180.

  • 13:30 - 15:00    Lecture demonstration and Q&A
  • 15:00 - 15:30    Dan movements workshop (please bring a fan if you have one)

We will do our best to accommodate everyone, but please RSVP to ScotlandXiqu@gmail.com if you are defenitely or possibly coming to give us an rough idea of how many chairs to arrange.
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* Kunqu is a highly choreographed form of sung theatre that developed from a set of melodies and a literary genre in the Jiangnan region of China from the mid-Ming dynasty. It became the favoured theatre of the literati class on a national level and is now known as the oldest and most complex of China's operatic styles, proclaimed as China's first Masterpiece of Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO in 2001.

Kunqu had a profound influence of the development of later genres on the popular stage such as Peking Opera (jingju), and attracts increasing public attention in modern China with its nuanced vocal techniques and choreographic routines that continue to be refined over numerous generations.