Lin Chen (Freie Universitat Berlin)
The year 2012 is Germany’s Chinese culture year. The organizers put forward the claim that original traditional Chinese culture would be presented. With regards to this the Jiangsu Kunqu Ensemble was invited to perform three “authentic” “Zhe-zi Xi1/ One Act Kunqu” as part of the opening ceremony in February. Luzia Braun, the “Stellvertretende Leiterin des ZDF-Kulturmagzins Aspekte” was invited as the moderator. The performance lasted two nights in Konzerthaus Berlin.
Generally speaking it was a nice experience, the live accompaniment impressed the audience favorably, yet the performance was a little different from my former Kunqu experience in China. They saved the expense to transport the essential stage requisites, namely one desk and two chairs to Berlin. Without them, two female performers seemed clumsy in showing some beautiful stylized gestures from the Peony Pavilion.
After the performance an intense interview process was held. Towards the end, the moderator Luzia Braun proposed her master-stroke to Ke Jun, director of the Jiangsu Kunqu ensemble, “Herr Ke, would you tell us the most obvious difference between Kunqu and Peking Opera?” “Well”, Ke Jun answered determinately, “Peking Opera is entertainment, but Kunqu is culture.”
Lin Chen is a doctoral candidate in Interweaving Performance Cultures at FU Berlin, and an Erasmus visiting student in the Centre for Cultural Studies PhD program at Goldsmiths.
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