The Beauty of Kunqu Opera

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Opleiderscore: starstarstarstar_halfstar_border 7,2 Coursera (CC) heeft een gemiddelde beoordeling van 7,2 (uit 6 ervaringen)

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About this course: This course will focus on the historical and cultural background, literary aesthetics, music, and performance of Kunqu, China’s classical opera. After viewing the lecture videos presented by scholars and renowned maestros in the field of Kunqu, students’ understanding and appreciation of Chinese performing arts, classical literature and traditional culture will be enhanced.

Created by:  The Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • Taught by:  Prof. Wei Hua 華瑋, Professor and Division Head

    Department of Chinese Language and Literature
  • Taught by:  Prof. Kenneth Hsien-yung Pai 白先勇, Wei Lun Professor of Humanities

    Faculty of Arts
  • Taught by:  Prof. …

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When you enroll for courses through Coursera you get to choose for a paid plan or for a free plan

  • Free plan: No certicification and/or audit only. You will have access to all course materials except graded items.
  • Paid plan: Commit to earning a Certificate—it's a trusted, shareable way to showcase your new skills.

About this course: This course will focus on the historical and cultural background, literary aesthetics, music, and performance of Kunqu, China’s classical opera. After viewing the lecture videos presented by scholars and renowned maestros in the field of Kunqu, students’ understanding and appreciation of Chinese performing arts, classical literature and traditional culture will be enhanced.

Created by:  The Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • Taught by:  Prof. Wei Hua 華瑋, Professor and Division Head

    Department of Chinese Language and Literature
  • Taught by:  Prof. Kenneth Hsien-yung Pai 白先勇, Wei Lun Professor of Humanities

    Faculty of Arts
  • Taught by:  Prof. Lindy Li Mark 李林德, Professor Emerita

    Anthropology
Language English, Subtitles: Chinese (Traditional) How To Pass Pass all graded assignments to complete the course. User Ratings 4.8 stars Average User Rating 4.8See what learners said 课程作业

每门课程都像是一本互动的教科书,具有预先录制的视频、测验和项目。

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The Chinese University of Hong Kong Founded in 1963, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) is a forward looking comprehensive research university with a global vision and a mission to combine tradition with modernity, and to bring together China and the West. CUHK teachers and students hail from all corners of the world. CUHK graduates are connected worldwide through an expansive alumni network.

Syllabus


WEEK 1


An Introduction to the Beauty of Kunqu Opera



Welcome to The Beauty of Kunqu Opera! The following lecture videos will give you some ideas of the historical background and characteristics of Kunqu, China’s classical opera that originated more than 600 years ago and blossomed during the late Ming and early Qing dynasties (around 16th – 17th centuries). The introduction is followed by excerpts and analysis of The Peony Pavilion, Kunqu’s masterpiece. The poetic artistry shown in the arias, dialogues and dance movement of the characters exemplifies the aesthetic achievement of Kunqu.


5 videos expand


  1. Video: 1.1. A brief introduction to Kunqu
  2. Video: 1.2. High points of Kunqu during the late Ming and early Qing dynasties
  3. Video: 1.3. The socio-historical background of Kunqu in 16th- and 17th-century China
  4. Video: 1.4.The Peony Pavilion, its poetry and performance
  5. Video: 1.5. From page to stage: The Peony Pavilion as masterpiece

Graded: Week 1

WEEK 2


The Beauty of Kunqu Music



Kunqu means music/song (qu) that originated from the district of Kunshan, Jiangsu province. The word itself shows the fundamental role played by music in this Chinese classical opera. This week, Prof. Lindy Li Mark from the California State University, East Bay will talk about the musical aspect of Kunqu. What are the musical features of Kunqu melodies? What is tune-type and what does a traditional score of Kunqu look like? How is the music of Kunqu different from that of the Western operas? What instruments are used in a Kunqu ensemble? Answers to these questions can be found in the lecture videos.


5 videos expand


  1. Video: 2.1. A brief introduction to Kunqu music
  2. Video: 2.2. Musical features of Kunqu melodies
  3. Video: 2.3. Analytical definition of tune-type: qupai
  4. Video: 2.4. Contrasts between Western opera and Kunqu opera
  5. Video: 2.5. Traditional instruments of Kunqu ensemble: changmian

Graded: Week 2

WEEK 3


The Art of Kunqu Performance: the Male Role-Types



Just like other genres of Chinese opera, Kunqu has a broad range of role-types, such as male (sheng), female (dan), painted face (jing) and comic (chou). From this week on, legendary performing artists who have devoted their whole lives to Kunqu will talk about the role-types they specialize in and their facial makeup, costume, singing, speaking and movements. In addition, they will demonstrate some of the very important repertoires in Kunqu and share with us the characteristics of each of them. This week, Maestros Yue Meiti and Cai Zhengren will talk about one of the most important role-types of Kunqu, the male role-type. Classical plays such as The Jade Hairpin, The Shepherd, and The Palace of Eternal Life will be introduced as well.


6 videos expand


  1. Video: 3.1. Comparison between the young scholar and the official role-types
  2. Video: 3.2.1. Singing and speaking of the young scholar role-type
  3. Video: 3.2.2. Foot work and hand gestures of the young scholar role-type
  4. Video: 3.2.3. Hand, eye,body, and step combined: "Repartee of Zithers", a scene from The Jade Hairpin
  5. Video: 3.3. Demostration of the young official role-type: "Looking Homeward", a scene from The Shepherd
  6. Video: 3.4. Demostration of the great official role-type: "Lamenting before the Statue", a scene from The Palace of Eternal Life

Graded: Week 3

WEEK 4


The Art of Kunqu Performance: the Female Role-Type



The female role-type is another prominent role-type of Kunqu and can be divided into a number of subtypes. In this week lively lectures and demonstration by Maestros Zhang Jingxian (mature female), Zhang Jiqing (young noble lady), Liang Guyin (vivacious young female) and Wang Zhiquan (martial female) will show us the charisma of the diversified female characters on the Kunqu stage from Chinese classics such as The Lute, The Peony Pavilion and Journey to the West.


9 videos expand


  1. Video: 4.1.1. Categories of female role-types in Kunqu
  2. Video: 4.2.1. Demonstration of the mature female role-type
  3. Video: 4.3.1."Search for the Dream", a scene from The Peony Pavilion: imaging the romantic mindset of a young woman
  4. Video: 4.3.2. "Search for the Dream", a scene from The Peony Pavilion: disappointment
  5. Video: 4.4.1. Benefiting from many masters: Liang Guyin studies "Earthly Desires"
  6. Video: 4.4.2. Focus on critical points: using eye movement and acting distracted as she recites
  7. Video: 4.4.3. Pantomime, song, and dance combined: "counting arhats" and escaping down the mountain
  8. Video: 4.5.1. Equal demands of singing and martial arts in “Borrowing the Plantain Leaf Magic Fan”, a scene from The Journey to the West
  9. Video: 4.5.2. Innovation in the scene: "belly pain"

Graded: Week 4

WEEK 5


The Art of Kunqu Performance: Integration of the Painted Face and Warrior Role-Types



The colorful and complex facial makeup of the painted face role-type is probably the most noticeable feature in the eyes of the audience. But what does facial makeup mean and how is it done? This week, Maestro Hou Shaokui will unfold the mysteries for us. He will also share with us his portrayal of Lord Guan, a well-known household character based on the most famous Chinese historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms. What is more, this unique character combines the essence of both the painted face and warrior role-types.


5 videos expand


  1. Video: 5.1. Face paint patterns and costumes various painted face roles
  2. Video: 5.2. Use of the beard and eyes in the enactment of Lord Guan
  3. Video: 5.3. Importance of singing in "Into the Enemy Camp Alone"
  4. Video: 5.4. Importance of speech and recitation
  5. Video: 5.5. Movement and facial expression

Graded: Week 5

WEEK 6


The Art of Kunqu Performance: the Comic Role-Type



When appreciating the well written script and the beautiful melody of Kunqu, sometimes audiences just want a good laugh in the theatre. This cannot be done without the contribution of the comic role-type. This week, Maestro Zhang Mingrong will explain the characteristics of the different subtypes of the comic role-type, namely young chou, fu chou and martial/acrobatic chou. From Maestro Zhang’s demonstration we will also see that mastering the comic role-type requires much more skill than just natural talent.


4 videos expand


  1. Video: 6.1. Categories of male comic role-types in Kunqu
  2. Video: 6.2. Demonstration of two monks in "Escape from the Monastery" (young chou) and "Touring the Prayer Hall" (fu chou)
  3. Video: 6.3. Acrobatic action with lyrical singing: "Shi Qian Steals the Armor"
  4. Video: 6.4. Agility within logic and surprise: excerpt from "Shi Qian Steals the Armor"

Graded: Week 6

WEEK 7


The New Aesthetics of Kunqu: Tradition and Modernity



Drawing examples from the production of The Peony Pavilion (Young Lover’s Edition) and The Jade Hairpin (New Edition), Prof. Kenneth Hsien-yung Pai will illustrate how Kunqu today can attract the younger generation by adding modern elements in stagecraft while preserving the basic aesthetics of Kunqu.


4 videos expand


  1. Video: 7.1. Kunqu and Chinese traditional aesthetics
  2. Video: 7.2. The Young Lovers' Edition Peony Pavilion and The New Edition Jade Hairpin: connecting tradition and modernity
  3. Video: 7.3. The Young Lovers' Edition Peony Pavilion: innovations in stagecraft
  4. Video: 7.4. The New Edition Jade Hairpin: return to classicism, synthesis of graphic and calligraphic arts

Graded: Week 7

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