A Night of Discovering the Beauty of Kun Opera


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Co-organized by the Office of Student Affairs and the Chien Kuo Foundation for the Arts and Culture, an on-campus Kun Opera performance by the Kun Art Platform delivered a wonderful afternoon and evening to every attendee, at the end of 2022. The event featured two excerpts from Kun operas plus in-depth explanations by Dr. Shih-Pe Wang, then Vice President for Student Affairs and the actors, allowing the NTU faculty members and students in attendance to appreciate the special charm and features of Kun opera.

In the first excerpt, “The Oil Vendor and the Courtesan,” Han-Ru Yang played the oil vendor Chin Chong. He portrayed how a simple man treats people with sincerity, the wonder of seeing West Lake, and deep affection for the love of his life. Yuan-Hong Chen of the GuoGuang Opera Company played the bartender who is a little greedy but funny, trying to get the most out of life without taking it too seriously. The second excerpt was “The Peony Pavilion,” a classic gem. Ting-Yu Lin of the GuoGuang Opera Company presented the desire and struggle of Du Liniang who suffers from lovesickness, complementing the nimble movement of water sleeves with her clear singing voice. Liu Mengmei, the main male character played by Han-Ru Yang, successfully portrayed the charm of a learned man as well as the tender loving care he has for Liniang. Prof. Shih-Pe Wang warmly shared background information about the two excerpts and spotlighted details for the audience to notice and better relate to the characters.

To deepen the audience’s appreciation of Kun opera, two musical instruments often used in Kun opera were also introduced: the Chinese bamboo flute and the Chinese single-skin drum. The actors demonstrated how to play these instruments. To the audience’s delight, Yuan-Hong Chen also demonstrated how to play Chou (the comic role) by showing the basic movements and exaggerated mannerisms. Han-Ru Yang discussed the characters Liu Mengmei, a Jin Sheng (an elegant scholar), and Chin Chung, a combination of Jin Sheng and Poor Sheng (an unsuccessful intellectual). Yang also read the well-known lines of Liu Mengmei in the style of Chin Chung to show the differences between the two characters. Ting-Yu Lin demonstrated the posture of Dan (female role), showing the audience how to read the famous “So sleepy” line in “The Peony Pavilion” while using the hands-rubbing gestures to show how Dan takes a nap elegantly in the opera performance. Last but not least, Yuan-Hong Chen reminded newcomers to Kun opera to clap and applaud generously. He immediately improvised a series of eye-opening postures, making the audience shout “Bravo!” in unison.

Kun opera combines the beauty of literature, music, dance, and the fine arts. After centuries of dedicated efforts by countless talents, it has at last become a highly exquisite performing art. This meaningful campus event gave faculty members and students a wonderful chance to discover this beautiful performing art form. NTU looks forward to hosting similar events that present traditional arts on campus.

Click or Scan the QR code
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“Kun Art Platform”
to learn more about Kun Opera.

“The Peony Pavilion” with Ting-Yu Lin playing Du Liniang (left) and Han-Ru Yang playing Liu Mengmei (right).

“The Oil Vendor and the Courtesan” with Yuan-Hong Chen (right) playing Shih Ada and Han-Ru Yang (left) playing Chin Chung.

Yuan-Hong Chen of GuoGuang Opera giving a humorous introduction to Chou as well as a lively demonstration.