Suzhou has showcased one of its premier art forms at a special Kunqu Opera event at the Garden Museum.
Named an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2001, the opera is more than 600 years old and is known as the mother of Chinese operas.
It is famous for its refined flute music and exquisite movements timed to every word.
Kathy Hall, founder of the London Chinese Opera Studio, performed ‘In Pursuit of the Dream,’ a scene from the Peony Pavilion – a romantic tragedy/comedy play written by dramatist Tang Xianzu in 1598 during the Ming dynasty.
The piece is considered one of the most popular in traditional Chinese theatre.
It depicts a love story between Du Liniang and Liu Mengmei that overcomes all difficulties, transcending time and space, life and death; until the pair unite at the end.
“Kunqu Opera is one of Suzhou’s most unique cultural treasures that all visitors must experience,” said Rudong Wang, head of the international communication and cooperation department at the Suzhou bureau of culture, radio, television and tourism.
“Visitors to Suzhou can immerse themselves in the art form at the Suzhou Museum of Opera & Theatre where ancient artifacts are on view and performances are held on its teahouse stage.”
The Kunqu Opera showcase is part of ‘Suzhou, the City of Culture & Arts,’ a year-long integrated marketing campaign designed to bring the fascinating cultural heritage of the destination to life for English-speaking travellers in Europe and North America.
Exclusive campaign content exploring some of the most fascinating aspects of Suzhou including silk making, classical Chinese gardens, Pingtan storytelling, and more can be accessed using the hashtag #SecretsOfSuzhou.
Travellers who have visited the destination are encouraged to share their Suzhou travel tips using the same hashtag for the chance to be featured.
For more than 2,500 years, Suzhou has been known as a centre of arts and culture.
Intellectuals, artists, and high-profile public figures have long been drawn to the romantic canals and stunning classical gardens of the city, nine of which have been designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Performing arts including the Kunqu Opera and Pingtan storytelling originated in Suzhou, and the city is also important to the design and fashion worlds as a centre for silk making and embroidery.
For more information visit the official website.
Images: Maria Korelina