Kunqu Opera Attracts Worldwide Attention

To help China draw a ten-year plan for protecting and revitalizing Kunqu Opera, Sevastian Veg, a senior counselor for the United Nations Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (UNESCO), came to Beijing Friday.

Filled with brilliant cultural characteristics, Kunqu reflects the creativity of oriental artists and the diversity of the culture, he said.

Kunqu Opera is worthy of the title of the "masterpiece of the oral and intangible heritage of human beings," he said.

Sevastian is only one of many foreign Kunqu Opera fans.

The UNESCO proclaimed 19 masterpieces with this title on May 18, 2001. Kunqu Opera is one of the few masterpieces to be honored unanimously.

Kunqu Opera originated in the Kunshan in east China's Jiangsu province over 600 years ago. After generations of development, it has established a complete system of acting as well as its own distinct tunes, which had significant influence on other traditional Chinese operatic forms, including Peking Opera. It is therefore dubbed the "mother of traditional Chinese operas."

However, Kunqu opera lost its appeal to audiences over the past century and was even on the verge of extinction.

It is with mixed feelings that Kungqu Opera is placed on UNESCO 's list, Sun Jiazheng, Chinese Minister of Culture said at a recent seminar.

"We're glad that it is attracting more worldwide attention, but still worry about its present situation," Sun said.

Sun said the Chinese government will increase investment in Kunqu Opera to better protect and revitalize it.

(People’s Daily 07/28/2001)

In This Series



Web Link