Kunqu Workshop at Georgetown University
Faculty Coordinator: Philip Kafalas
"Was there ever a love like the love Du Liniang?" With these words Tang Xiangzu begins one of the most beloved plays in the Kunqu canon and one of the most beautiful love stories of all time.
is based on the folk story "Zhu Maichen Divorces his Wife,"
which takes place during the Han Dynasty (206 B.C. to 221 AD). The author
of the Kunqu libretto is unknown, but the play was probably written during
the first half of the seventeenth century toward the end of the Ming
dynasty or beginning of the Qing dynasty. The literary value of the
libretto is not as highly regarded as those of many other Kunqu plays.
However, the author appears to have possessed a thorough knowledge of the
rules of Chinese Xiqu. The vivid depiction of the interaction of its
central characters, Cui Shi and Zhu Maichen, has won the hearts of its
acts of the play "Forcing the Divorce," "Regret the
Marriage," "The Maddening Dream," and "Water
Splashed" have been passed down and are consistently performed today.
Tonight’s performance will present the first, third and fourth of these
is one of the premiere
performers in Chinese classical theater. A winner of the prestigious Plum
Blossom Award, Ms. Zhang is renown for her exceptional vocal technique.
She is generally recognized as the "Peony" of
Kunqu theatre for her powerful performances of the heroine Du Liniang in The
Peony Pavilion. Her portrayal of
Cui Shi, her most famous role, in tonight’s performance of The
Rotten-Helve Mountain marks her first appearance in the United States.
Ms. Zhang is a member of Kunqu Troupe of Jiangsu.
is best known for his performances of the old
man role, Lao Sheng. Among others, he has received wide acclaim for
his performances in The Rotten Helve Mountain and Fifteen
Strings of Copper. This performance of Lan Ke Shan will be his
first appearance in the United States. Mr. Yao is a member of the Kunqu
Troupe of Jiangsu.
Xiaoping is the conductor and
lead drummer of the orchestra in the Shanghai Kunqu Troupe. He graduated
from the Shanghai Chinese Opera Academy majoring the kunqu music. He has
received numerous awards for his mastery of Kunqu music, including the
official title First-rate Musician from the Chinese government. In recent years, he has performed in the U.S., U.K.,
Japan, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.
Zhou Ming is a master of the dizi, the Chinese bamboo flute. A graduate of the Shanghai Chinese Opera Academy, he received a BA degree in Dizi from Shanghai Conservatory of Music in 1989 and is currently completing his MA degree in Career Management in Art and Culture in the Shanghai Jiaotong University. Mr. Zhou has performed as the lead musician for over twenty-five major Kunqu plays, including the Lincoln Center production of The Peony Pavilion in July, 1999. He holds the title First-rate Musician from the official ranking system in China.
Huang Chenlin is proficient not only in all major wen-chen (wind and string) instruments but also several wu-chen (percussion) instruments. Mr. Huang is a popular musician in both Kunqu Theater and Beijing Opera. As a member of Chinese traditional music orchestra of The Peony Pavilion at the Lincoln Center's 1999 Festival in New York, he has toured to Australia, France, and Italy.
a master of several popular string instruments. He was a resident musician
and taught San-hsian in Shanghai Yueju Company.
Mr. Wang is a member
of Ensemble of the Peony Pavilion, which performed at the 1999 Lincoln
Center Festival and later in Australia, France, and Italy.
Chinese Kunqu Theater by Tong-Ching Chang