Wed, Jan 03, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Kun opera group to stage complete ‘Four Dreams’

‘DEEP BOND’:Gu Haohao said the troupe’s performers always take shows in Taiwan especially seriously because of the local audience’s love and knowledge of the genre

By Ann Maxon  /  Staff reporter

To mark its 40th anniversary, the Shanghai Kun Opera Troupe (上海崑劇團) is to perform Four Dreams of Linchuan (臨川四夢) — four classic plays by Ming Dynasty playwright Tang Xianzu (湯顯祖), including the famous The Peony Pavilion (牡丹亭) — at the National Theater in Taipei from tomorrow to Sunday.

It is to be the first time the four pieces are performed together in full in Taiwan, the company said.

Tang, known as China’s Shakespeare, is best known for The Peony Pavilion, which tells the love story between a poor scholar and the daughter of a government official.

Four Dreams of Linchuan consists of four plays by Tang that share the motif of dreams: The Peony Pavilion, The Tale of Handan (邯鄲記), The Governor of Nanke (南柯記) and The Purple Hairpin (紫釵記). The four pieces have rarely been performed together in full.

“It is a dream come true for us to be able to perform Four Dreams of Linchuan in Taiwan,” company head Gu Haohao (谷好好) said at a media preview yesterday, adding that the troupe’s performers always take their shows in Taiwan especially seriously, knowing that many Taiwanese love and know kunqu opera very well.

The company first performed in Taiwan in 1992 and this is to be the 10th time it has performed in the nation, Gu said.

It has developed a “deep bond” with the Taiwanese audience, Gu said, adding: “This is an important event for cross-strait exchanges.”

Shih Hsin University Department of Chinese Literature chair professor Tseng Yung-Yi (曾永義) said the rendition of Four Dreams of Linchuan would be one of the most important art events in the nation this year.

“The Shanghai Kunqu Troupe is the most celebrated kunqu company in the world, and Tang is the most celebrated playwright,” he said.

In addition to award-winning kunqu performers Cai Zhengren (蔡正仁), Ji Zhenhua (計鎮華), Yue Meiti (岳美緹), Liang Guyin (梁谷音) and Zhang Jingxian (張靜嫻), the company’s young rising stars, such as Wei Li (衛立) and Jiang Ke (蔣珂), are also to perform.

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