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World-renowned Chinese Performers Present an Evening of Traditional Music and Ancient Kunqu Opera

April 21, 2014

World-renowned Chinese actors and musicians will present a not-to-be-missed evening of traditional music and ancient Chinese Kunqu opera on Saturday, April 26 at 8 p.m. in the Carleton College Concert Hall. The performance will feature superstar Kunqu opera actress Shen Yi-Li from Shanghai, accompanied by top professional performers of Chinese traditional instruments: Chen Tao (Dizi), Liu Li (Guqin), Xia Wenjie (Erhu), Gao Hong (Pipa), and Huang Shirong (Drum). This very special event is free and open to the public.

“It is such a rare opportunity to see Kunqu performed in Northfield,” says Gao Hong, world-class pipa player and director of Carleton’s acclaimed Chinese music ensemble. “I really hope people attend this amazing event.”

Kunqu [kwun-chu] is one of the oldest and most refined styles of traditional Chinese theater performed today. It not only incorporates drama, opera, ballet, poetry, and music, but also draws on earlier forms of Chinese theatrical performance such as mime, farce, acrobatics, ballad recital, and medley.

The program will include “Passing Through Time,” a work that combines Chinese traditional music with ancient Kunqu Opera, in which a talented young woman named Qiao Xiao-Qin reads the story of “The Peony Pavilion” on a cold, rainy night. Fantasizing about being in the story herself, she soon finds herself passing back through time and becoming the main character in the ancient story – Du Li-Niang. The first half of the performance includes live music accompanying the application of makeup that transforms the actress into Du Li-Niang. This provides the audience a rare opportunity to observe this amazing makeup process that is an integral part of Chinese Traditional Opera.

For more information about this event, including disability accommodations, contact the Carleton College Department of Music at (507) 222-4475. The Concert Hall is located on First Street between Nevada and Winona Streets in Northfield, MN.