Prince Kung's Palace Museum

“Moments of Beauty: 2019 Intangible Culture Heritage Theater Season” Comes to a Successful Ending

On June 3, as the last zither tune Ainai for “The Famous Zithers Concert: Let the Withered Wood Zithers Awaken” was concluded with the final note, “Moments of Beauty: 2019 Intangible Culture Heritage Theater Season” came to its successful ending. Since the first Intangible Culture Heritage Theater Season of Prince Kung’s Palace Museum was started in 2009, Mei Lanfang Troupe of Jingju Theater Beijing, North China Kungqu Opera House and many other old zither artists stepped on the stage to give wonderful performances in the Grand Opera Hall of Prince Kung's Palace Museum.

From 2013 to present, Prince Kung’s Palace Museum again worked with China Kunqu Opera Old Zither Association to use its authoritative academic platform. On different occasions, the joint performances were held by inviting Zhejiang Kunqu Opera Troupe, Yongjia Kunqu Opera Troupe, Shanghai Kunqu Opera Troupe, Hunan Kunqu Opera Troupe, North China Kunqu Opera Theatre, North China Kunqu Opera Research Institute, Jiangsu Performing Arts Group Kun Theatre, Chengdu Chuan Theatre, Chongqing Chuan Theatre, Suzhou Kunqu Opera Studio and other Chinese Kunqu troupes; Wu Zhao, Li Xiangting, Gong Yi, Ding Chengyun, Chen Changlin, Yao Gongbai and many other zither masters; and Hong Kong artists like Xie Junren, Liu Chuhua and Su Sidi. In 2015, a gorgeous “stage dialogue” between old zither and Nanyin tune was carried out in the Intangible Culture Heritage Theater Season, both having a history of one thousand year as non-tangible heritage music. In 2019, the 12th Intangible Culture Heritage Theater Season was held to intensively demonstrate the classical glamor of these two oldest forms of art, bringing many episodes of elegant art performance to the audiences.

Speech by Tian Qing, president of China Kunqu Opera Old Zither Association


Speech by Feng Zhuohui, deputy researcher of Music Institute, China Art Research Institute

 The Old Zither Concert fell into three parts: a keynote speech by Tian Qing, president of China Kunqu Opera Old Zither Association, speeches by scholars, and demonstrative zither playing by artists. In the keynote speech, Tian Qing talked about the great value and cultural attribute of the old zither art, stressing the vital significance of “The Famous Zithers Concert: Let the Withered Wood Zithers Awaken (Withered Wood and Dragon Soaring)”. Afterwards, Feng Zhuohui, deputy researcher of Music Institute, China Art Research Institute, introduced the science and feasibility of the idea “Let the Withered Wood Zithers Awaken”, as evidenced by scientific methods. In the end, five famous zither artists (Dai Xiaolian, Lin Chen, Yang Chunwei, Wu Na and Huang Mei) used the Tang style zither “Withered Wood and Dragon Soaring”, the Song style zither “The Calling Phoenix”, the late Yuan and early Ming style zither “True Pleasure”, the Ming style zither “Little Cascading Bell”, and the nameless banana leaf type zither respectively, to play out famous pieces such as Yangguan Three Folds, The Generosity of Godly Person, The Phoenix Tree Leaves and the Dancing Autumn Wind, and Plum Blossom Melody. The audiences were greatly amused by the music and many were not willing to leave even when the concert was over.

Dai Xiaolian

Lin Chen

Huang Mei


Yang Chunwei

Wu Na

The Kunqu Performance of the season includes the archaic Kunqu opera The Legends of Red Mansion Story and the Zhezixi (opera highlights or selected scenes of opera) by the famous Kunqu artists. The Legends of Red Mansion Dream by the Suzhou Kunqu Opera Institute was the adaption from Faded Flowers and Listening to Rain in The Legends of Red Mansion by Zhong Zhenkui, and Burning the Manuscript and Grumbling in The Santao Set of Red Mansion Dream by Wu Hao. The four parts of performance are collectively called The Legends of Red Mansion Dream. The Zhong-style opera The Legends of Red Mansion Dream was once popular and frequently sung in the Qing dynasty stages, but it faded away in the Republic of China period, disappearing out of the audiences’ sight. At this time, it was again put into stage in order to give the most traditional and native performance of Kunqu opera, which was much loved by the audiences. The famous Zhezixi artists show had put together excellent youth Kunqu artists Yu Jiulin, Gu Weiying, Qian Yuting, You Lei and Wang Jieyu and so on, all of whom presented the plays including Zither Pluck and Stealing Poetry from The Story of Jade Hairpin, Garden Tour from The Peony Pavilion, Borrowing the Fan and one episode of Hujiazhuang from The Monkey King. The fascinating Zhezixi performance resumes its presence to fully showcase the classical glamor of Kunqu art.


The Peony Pavilion: Garden Tour

The Story of Jade Hairpin: Zither Pluck

The Story of Jade Hairpin: Stealing Poetry

The Monkey King: Borrowing the Fan

Faded Flowers

Listening to Rain

Burning the Manuscript


After four days of performance, “Moments of Beauty: 2019 Intangible Culture Heritage Theater Season” came to a successful ending. This season’s performance was live broadcast in sync with the internet media, which attracted totally 2,445,918 views within the four days, to further expand the audience coverage. As a national first grade museum and a national key projected cultural site, Prince Kung’s Palace Museum will make fuller use of the museum as a platform, exploring more beneficial practices for better spread and promotion of the famed traditional Chinese cultures.

 (By the Exhibition and Activity Department)


Prince Kung's Palace Museum

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