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The course “Classic Kunqu Opera Appreciation” upgraded

MAR . 27 2012

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Peking University, Mar. 20, 2012: On March 1, 2012, the popular course “Classic Kunqu Opera Appreciation” began its first lecture in Room 109, No.2 Teaching Building, Peking University (PKU). The classroom was filled to the capacity of 250 an hour earlier just as it had been in the last 2 years. Even the aisles were filled with students who would have to stand to listen.


Since this semester, the so-called “the most popular public optional course in PKU history” was upgraded to the category of general education courses for all the undergraduate students. It’s quite a significant event for this young course.


Associate Professor Xiang Yong, who is in charge of the Promotion Plan of Kunqu Opera at PKU, explained that this change was made for the purpose to enable  students to know more about Kunqu and to offer guidance in the fostering senses of aesthetics. It is required that all the undergraduates of PKU must choose at least 4 credits on courses of literature, linguistics or arts.


He then pointed out the two new features in the 2012 upgraded course. Firstly, the content was optimized. Based on the teaching experience in the last two years, they will adopt modular teaching this semester and divide the course into three parts. In part one, learned scholars from both the Mainland China and Taiwan will be invited to introduce the history, aesthetics and culture of Kunqu. In part two, some top artists in Kunqu such as Wang Shiyu, Zhang Jiqing, Cai Zhengren will share with students their knowledge of the performing art of Kunqu. In the last part, there will be a case study of a classic Kunqu opera “The Peony Pavilion”. What’s more, they have prepared selected materials on Kunqu theories, scripts and performing art this year for students’ extensive reading after class. Secondly, those artists will not only lecture but also give live performances in the class. Some of them will attend Kunqu workshops after class to share their experience with the students.


Newly compiled textbook for the course

The Promotion Plan of Kunqu Opera at PKU will even provide two shows of Kunqu opera by Suzhou Kunqu Opera Theatre for the students who registered the course. Through the four-month course, the PKU students will be fully exposed to the beauty of the classic Qunqu from all dimensions.



Written by: Bai Bing
Edited by: Chen Long
Source: PKU News (Chinese)