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Last updated::2016-07-14    

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2016-06-03

The Unconventional Beijing Opera Amateur Club Wishes NCU Great Prosperity and Fortune

Blessing from Heaven is a performance given by Beijing Opera Amateur C.. Blessing from Heaven is a performance given by Beijing Opera Amateur Club, a group formed by students from the Department of Chinese Language and Literature in celebration of NCU’s anniversary. Photo by Shih Meng-chia.

For celebrating the 101th anniversary of National Central University, “Beijing Opera Amateur Club” formed by students of the Department of Chinese Language and Literature performed an auspicious opening piece “Blessing from Heaven.” Wishing the university prosperity, longevity and great fortune, the performance received warm applause from the audience. It also brought Kunqu, a performing art listed as one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, to people’s attention again.

“Beijing Opera Amateur Club” was officially founded in 2008 by students from the Department of Chinese Language and Literature who love traditional operas. It is an amateur opera group. Though the name has “Beijing Opera” in it, it is not the only genre they perform. They also include Kunqu, Nanguan and a variety of other operas. In their spare time between classes or after school, they have all sorts of voice trainings and opera acting practices. Their shows are performed on and off campus on an irregular basis.

Senior member Huang Szu-chao is an alumnus who received his PhD from NCU and is currently teaching in this university. Huang’s love for the western opera began at a young age, but he only got into the traditional opera after he entered NCU. He said that “Beijing Opera Amateur Club” is a self-organized group and not a school-registered organization. It is thus difficult to manage and pass on the legacy. Usually, members have to play multiple roles for the club to function properly. It is quite a hardship. Luckily, many junior students with passion are still willing to devote themselves to this club.

As the leading role in this year’s performance, Liu Yun-chi, a sophomore of Chinese major, first started out loving traditional stand-up comedy and Chinese music, then later extended his interests to learning Beijing opera and Kunqu. He does not think that traditional operas are “old stuff;” instead, they can be refreshing and charming, depending on how you dig into them.

Another member, Hong Yi-zo, is an alumna graduated from NCU with a master degree. She shared her experience of introducing Kunqu to foreigners when she was teaching. She said that compared to the western opera, Kunqu’s vocals seem to be subtler and more reserved. Kunqu’s singing is accompanied with complicated physical acting. The one thing foreign students are most curious about is actors’ stage makeup. After experiencing the makeup themselves, they are often left in awe!

Beijing Opera Amateur Club is formed by students who love traditional .. Beijing Opera Amateur Club is formed by students who love traditional operas. Photo by Hsieh Cheng-en.
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