Fall for Kunqu, a Classic, Elegant Form of Traditional Chinese Theatre, on Nov. 18


On Saturday, November 18, Flushing Town Hall presents “Fall for Kunqu,” fusing together poetry, music, and story in a mesmerizing live performance. Carefully curated by the Kunqu Society, the program showcases a colorful and entertaining selection of music, singing, and dramatic pieces from the Kunqu repertoire to celebrate the season of fall.

Kunqu stands as the oldest extant genre of Chinese theatre and has had far-reaching influences on Chinese literature, stage performance, music, and dance. In 2001, UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) proclaimed kunqu, along with 18 other forms of cultural genres, as a masterpiece of “the oral and intangible heritage of humanity.”

The presentation will take place on Saturday, November 18 at 1:30 PM. Admission is $16/$10 Members and Students. The event is open to all ages. Tickets are available at http://www.flushingtownhall.org/ or by calling (718) 463-7700 x222. English translations will be provided.

The program will consist of three segments: sentiments, farewell and merriment – introduced and bridged by a host – that showcase the variety of  kunqu music and plays, from lone solitude to sad farewell to joyful merrymaking, all set in the fall. Performers, including resident artists and members of the Kunqu Society, are: Ms. Jiehua Shi, Mr. Dezhang Wu, Ms. Juguang Xu, Mr. Fulin Wen, Ms. Anna Chen Wu, and Ms. Yurong Xin.

Founded in 1988 and incorporated in 1989, the Kunqu Society is a non-profit corporation with the mission of studying, preserving, and promoting kunqu.

Kunqu took shape in the mid-16th century in the lower Yangtze region of China and gained nationwide popularity in the following three hundred years. The scripts of kunqu are known for their refined, lyrical beauty; works such as Tang Xianzu’s The Peony Pavilion (1598) and Hong Sheng’s The Palace of Eternal Youth (1688) are regarded as masterpieces of Chinese literature and poetry.

In performance, singing, recitation, movement, and martial arts techniques are fused into a single dynamic, flowing, and harmonious performance. These well-integrated stage actions not only bring the audience sensory enjoyment but also add depth to the characters and convey the dramatic themes.

Kunqu has developed into a profound performing tradition and has provided literature, training, and inspiration for later genres of Chinese theatre. It is both a critical landmark and living tradition of Chinese performing arts and culture.

This season, Flushing Town Hall is opening its doors to teenagers – for FREE. Under the new “Teen Access Program”, all 13- to 19-year-old boys and girls (whether a member or not) will be welcomed to attend any performance for free. The program is designed to appeal to students and help foster a greater love in the arts and culture.

Flushing Town Hall is accessible by car, bus, train and foot – located a short distance from the 7 train – at 137-35 Northern Blvd., in Flushing, Queens.

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