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15 Kunqu greats on one stage


08:09, March 07, 2013

(Xinhua Photo)

Fifteen of China's most acclaimed Kunqu Opera artists from around the country will come together for two rare collaborative performances of classics.

On the afternoon of March 23, they will stage a performance of well-known Kunqu Opera songs without any instrumental accompaniment.

The artists include Ji Zhenhua, Wang Zhiquan, Zhang Jingxian, Yue Meidi, Liang Guyin and Cai Zhengren. They represent most of the Kunqu Opera roles and schools, such as lao sheng (old man), hua dan (vivacious young woman) and chou (clown).

This is the first cooperation among the country's major Kunqu Opera troupes. Some performers are in their 80s and have not performed in Shanghai for more than a decade.

Singing without instrumental accompaniment is a test of performers' vocal ranges and timbre. Stage sound effects will maximize their strengths, while not shielding their weakness.

In the evening, a show of excerpts will be staged with accompaniment.

Zhang Jiqing from the Jiangsu Kunqu Opera House and Yue Meidi from the Shanghai Kunqu Opera House will perform "Dream in the Deserted Garden," a famous episode from the classic "The Peony Pavilion."

Hou Shaokui, a 74-year-old Kunqu Opera martial arts performer from the Northern Kunqu Opera Theater, will collaborate with local artist Zhang Jingxian in an excerpt from "Escorting Jingniang Thousands of Miles."

Excerpts from "Madam White Snake" and "The Story of the Story Besides," excerpts from the legendary ancient Chinese work "White Snake" and the romantic piece "The Story of the Thorn Hairpin" will also be performed.

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