Arts & Events

AROUND AND ABOUT MUSIC AND THEATER: Unusual Recital of Kunqu Chinese Opera on UC Campus

Ken Bullock
Friday February 17, 2017 - 10:50:00 AM

Kunqu--or just Kun or Wu--opera is one of the oldest forms of Chinese Opera, a great influence on the more famous Jingju or "Peking" Opera, famous for its melodic form ... 

There will be an unusual recital of Kunqu Opera by Peng Xu, postdoctoral felliw at the Center for ChInese Studies at UC, accompanied by Daniel C. F. Chan (flute), Tal-Yen Pao (drum), with Lindy Li Mark as host, performing "The Ballad," a scene from poet Hong Sheng's play, 'Tge Palace of Lasting Life' (1688), 4-6 pm Wednesday, February 22 at 180 Doe Library on the UC campus. Admission is free. 

The recital will be of 10 solos by the character Li Guinan, formerly a leading musician with the Pear Garden Academy of the Tang court (685-762), reduced to singing ballads on the street after the An Lushan Rebellion in the 38th scene of the opera, the songs portraying the tragic affair of the Tang emperor and his favorite, Lady Yang, hardening back to the 11th scene, when Lady Yang hears her famous composition, "Rainbow Skirts," during a dream voyage to the moon, writing it out by memory when she awakes and teaching it to Li and the other Academy musicians. 

The last solo is of a reunion between the two noble refugees, and the prediction--which was fulfilled--that "Rainbow Skirts" would be passed down through the generations. 

(News of this recital brings back a happy memory of another Kunqu program, actors-singers and musicians on tour from China two years ago this Spring at Santa Clara University--and the wonderful hospitality of the presenters from Chinese Ticket Box (.com), who continue to bring unusual cultural events to Northern California.)