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Classic event showcases Chinese culture with Kunqu Opera and the guqin

Updated: Jun 21, 2024


From June 7 to 12, the 16th “Echoes of Classics – Prince Kung’s Palace Museum Intangible Cultural Heritage Performance Season” made its anticipated return and was successfully held at the museum’s Grand Theatre, which coincided with 2024 Cultural and Natural Heritage Day (June 8).


Jointly hosted by the museum and the China Kunqu Opera and Guqin Research Association, this year’s performance season highlighted the theme of inheritance, featuring three guqin concerts and three Kunqu Opera performances. It brought together renowned guqin and Kunqu artists, along with university student performers, to present a captivating series of cultural performances to the audience.


During the guqin concerts, professor Wang Jianxin from the Tianjin Conservatory of Music was responsible for introducing the repertoire. Noted guqin artists such as Wu Zhao, Chen Xicheng, Ding Chengyun, Yu Qinqin, Zhao Jiazhen, Wang Peng, Li Fengyun, Lin Chen, Wu Na, Ren Jing, and Huang Mei performed famous guqin pieces like Delightful Night Melody (Liaoxiao Yin), Crying at Night (Wuye Ti), and Guangling Cessation (Guangling San). The diverse performance forms, including guqin melodies complemented by songs, guqin and xiao ensembles, and guqin and se duets, were well received by the audience.


The Kunqu Opera concerts saw performers from the Kunshan Contemporary Kunqu Opera Theatre present classic scenes from Peony Pavilion (Mudan Ting), Tiger Pouch Catapult (Hunang Dan) and The Red Pear (Hongli Ji). Children from Kunshan Shipai Central Primary School and the Qinfeng Junior Kunqu Opera Troupe in Kunshan’s Qiandeng town performed alongside professional actors and actresses, showcasing the charm and inheritance of Kunqu Opera through their exceptional performance skills. The Northern Kunqu Opera Theatre also performed the whole The Lion's Roar (Shihou Ji) on Dragon Boat Festival (June 10). Meanwhile, it was notable that there was a special university edition of Peony Pavilion (Mudan Ting), performed by students from the Peking University Kunqu Inheritance and Research Center. The university’s efforts in the inheritance and development of Kunqu Opera infuse new vitality into traditional Chinese culture.

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On June 7, Feng Nai’en, director and Party Secretary of Prince Kung's Palace Museum, and Hu Yan, deputy director of the Intangible Cultural Heritage Department of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, respectively addressed the opening ceremony of the event. Feng emphasized the museum's mission and responsibility in presenting more high-quality cultural performances to the public to preserve and promote Chinese cultural heritage. Hu affirmed the significance of this consecutively-held event in the preservation of the two intangible cultural heritage items — Kunqu Opera and guqin art, as well as meeting the growing spiritual and cultural needs of the public.



This year's performance season has received widespread acclaim from all sectors of society. Its simultaneous online livestreaming attracted a total of 4.73 million views over the six days. Both online and offline audiences expressed that the performances were rich in content, diverse in form, and of high quality, allowing them to deeply appreciate the charm and value of traditional culture.




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