Pursuing the Verdant Dream

Afternoon performances of Chinese Opera

Saturday, August 6, 2011 - 5:00pm

The Velaslavasay Panorama is pleased to present "Pursuing the Verdant Dream: Two Afternoons of Kwun & Yueju Opera" directed by Professor Zhao Gan Li. Kwun and Yueju are two distinct theatrical styles, each originating in different provinces in mainland China, and each afternoon will present a different and exceptionally unique program representing the best of both styles. There will be English and Chinese translation of all dialogue.

On Saturday, August 6th, we welcome the Chinese Kwun Opera Society, which will present selections from the story of The Peony Pavilion accompanied by live musicians. Kwun Opera is considered by some to be the oldest form of Chinese theatre and is the inspiration for dozens of provincial theatre forms. Established in China's southern provinces at the beginning of the Ming Dynasty (14th-17th centuries), Kwun style integrates performance, literature, poetry, music and dance. Displaying an intricate language of expression and movement, recitation is interspersed with arias sung to traditional melodies, with each word or phrase accompanied by a stylized gesture or motion and governed by strict rules of style and execution. Performed with elaborate costumes and spare sets, Kwun Opera remains the most refined and literary of all forms of Chinese theatre. There will be a sign language interpreter present in addition to the English and Chinese translations available.

Kwun Opera Program for Saturday August 6th

Kwun Opera Introduction & Demonstration of Operatic Gestures
The Palace of Eternal Youth -----The Intimate Banquet
The Story of the Jade Hairpin -----Flirting with Strings
The Peony Pavilion -----A Stroll in the Garden -- An Interrupted Dream

Qiaoer Zheng will perform in The Peony Pavilion. She won the Outstanding Youth Performer Award from the Shanghai Kwun Performing Arts Center and is currently studying for her master's degree in performing arts at University of Hawaii. Ms. Zheng will be joined by Li-Yung Hou and Justina Lee, who are outstanding performers and rising stars of Kwun Opera. Musicians from the Kwun Opera Society will also be performing on traditional Chinese instruments. 

On Sunday, August 7th the California Yueju Opera Center will perform selections from four different opera stories in the Yueju canon, including The Dream of the Red Chamber and The Jade Hairpin. Yueju Opera is a style rivaled in popularity only by the well-known Peking Opera, and is noteworthy in that both male and female roles are played by female actresses. In the context of traditional opera, Yueju has developed into a cohesive art form more recently, becoming formalized for the stage just in the past 100 years.
Yueju Opera Program for Sunday August 7th

The Dream of the Red Chamber-----Duet of Baoyu and Daiyu
The Jade Hairpin----- Persuading the Daughter-In-Law
Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai----- Meeting in Zhu Yingtai's Parlor
The Fragrant Fan-----The Reunion
The Carp Fairy----- Moonlit Meeting in the Study

Sophie Wu and Zhiping Dong will play the lead roles in Liang Shanbo & Zhu Yingtai and other Yueju stories. They will be joined by other professional Yueju Opera performers, including Zhiping Dong and Jane Zhou, who is the president of The California Yueju Opera Center. Professor Zhao Gan Li, director of the series, currently serves as a primary Art Director and teacher of Chinese Opera techniques with the Chinese Kwun Opera Society and the California Yueju Opera Center. She has worked as a theory researcher, writer and critic at the Chinese Opera Institute in Beijing, and came to the United States in 1994 as a visiting artist.

"Pursuing the Verdant Dream: Two Afternoons of Kwun and Yueju Opera" has been organized by Guan Rong and Sara Velas in coordination with live performance director Professor Zhao Gan Li, the Chinese Kwun Opera Society and the California Yueju Opera Center. The project has been funded in part by The National Endowment for the Arts, The Department of Cultural Affairs of the City of Los Angeles and The Velaslavasay Panorama Enthusiast Society.