According to Southern Weekly, Kunqu is the new fun thing to do after dinner. But actually, Kunqu is very old. It is one of the oldest Chinese traditional operas with a history of 600 years. Some call it the father of Peking Opera.
The Southern Weekly (In Chinese) on August 16, 2007 reported on Beijing's highly priced Kunqu Show with the producer's comments. This article captured yet another sign of the new Chinese elite trying to bring Chinese traditional culture back in fashion when China is busy "importing" cool things to do from the West.
Since the beginning of May, the Kunqu opera performance takes place every weekend at the red-carpeted "NO.17 Warehouse" space in Nanxincang International Plaza. The ticket price ranges from RMB580-1980 and there are 3 boxes of 8 people priced at RMB12,000 (1,600USD). Targeted at the "New Elite Traditionalists in Beijing", the show has been the same one so far -- Mudanting (Peony Pavilion), the most classic Kunqu show. Only it has been cut shorter and shorter so the audience won't fall asleep. To the producing team's satisfaction, averagely 60%-70% seats are sold every week.
Wang Xiang, the producer, describes his target audience like this: they don't know what Kunqu is; they don't know what "Peony Pavilion" is or who wrote it; they just want to be (or bring their guests-to-impress to be) near something pretty looking and supposedly with taste. The director admits that the show is priced out of common people's reach.
Wang observed that laowai always buys the cheapest ticket available while the chinese always the most expensive ones. "When you had enough of LV, Armani and luxury cuban cigars, traditional chinese culture is a nice change," concluded Wang.
Many celebrities are reported to have seen the show, including the Nobel Prize for Physics winner Yang Zhenning.
The show also caters to tourists groups. As the most classic show of Kunqu, "Peony Pavilion" was brought on stage by many famous directors like Bai Xianyong ("the youth version" at Renyi Theatre) and Chen Shizhong (Lincoln Center NY)
Key words: Kunqu, Mudanting, Baixianyong, new traditionalism, China, yuppie, elite, peking opera
Mia @ 16:44 | .(387) |
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