kunqu

Definition

Theater

  • A Chinese theatrical form, which developed from an earliermusical style of the same name. In the 16th century Wei Liangfu andothers created a more complex style from traditional kunqumusic by combining a variety of local musical forms. This new stylewas adopted by the writer Liang Chenyu for his musical plays. It becameimmensely popular and soon became a genre in its own right, influencingthe direction of the Chinese theater. Kunqu dramas usuallyconcern tales of young love and its attendant problems.

    The genre began to decline during the late 18th century, whenit was overshadowed by the more energetic form of the Beijing Opera.However, in 1961 students from the Shanghai School of Dramatic Artstaged a kunqu play after eight years of training under YuZhenfei. Although the Cultural Revolution temporarily halted its revival,kunqu is now undergoing a minor renaissance.

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