Kun Opera on Nanjing subway

September 28, 2011Chiafu Chen 陳家福One Comment, , , , , , , , , ,

Kunqu, or Kun Opera, boasting its 600 years of history, recently made a refreshing appearance on Nanjing’s subway train.

The campaign, titled “The Grreat Beauty of Kunqu sees its entry and play in the Subway” [Chia-fu signs at the inherent loss of meaning and beauty in translation], is a joint venture by Nanjing metro authority and Kun Opera Theater Performing Arts Group. The campain, according to the organizers, is among a series effort to revive and promote the ancient form of art among young and old citizens alike.

Below is a translated excerpt from a report on sohu.com.

Yesterday morning, a designated “Kunqu” train commenced its operation along Metro Line 2 subway in Nanjing. On the rapidly moving train, passengers was greeted with an unexpected and awe-inspiring experience featuring performances of the 600 years old Kun Opera.

At the Xinjiekou metro station, renowned plays such as “Palace of Eternal Youth”, “Peach Blossom Fan” and “Peony Pavilion” was performed by actors on a temporarily set up stage, winning waves of applauds from the audience.

At 10:20am, the designated “Kunqu” train stopped at the passenger platform where neatly dressed opera actors proceeded to board the train. All 600 handles on the train were decorated with stage photos of classic Kunqu characters and brief history of Kunqu in text and pictures, through which the passengers are able to learn general facts about Kunqu and appreciate the beauty of the performance art. “Nowadays people’s live a fast-paced life, so occasional slowing down and listening to some opera seems to be a very good idea.” One passenger said.

Even the head of of the Jiangsu Kun Opera Theater was surprised by the popularity Kunqu is gaining in the subway: “we were uncertain whether we would be able to pull it off by performing on the subway, but regardless, there is definitely a need for Kunqu to put down its high-class attitude and walk into people’s daily life.”

It was reported that this year is the 10th anniversary for Kunqu’s conferment as a World Heritage. Xu Jianguo, vice president of subway operations division, said that in the future, Metro departments will introduce more art forms, such as the Baiju, a special local art from from Nanjing, and a number of other regional varieties into the subway as an effort to bring more cultural enjoyment to the passengers.

Performance in action on the subway at 10:20 am

Another performance taking place at the entrance of Xinjiekou subway entrance

At Xinjiekou subway station, a Kun Opera actor wears make-up

Actors chatting with subway passengers

Actresses taking pictures of themselves

A passenger asking for autographs from the actors


…And YouTube version

Source: Sina.com, Jiangsu TV Network, Xinhua Net, Sohu.com.

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1 comment to “Kun Opera on Nanjing subway”

  1. Mad Dog | July 5, 2012 | Permalink Reply

    This is one of the great cultural treasures of China that was almost totally destroyed in the Great Cultural Revolution. Chinese citizens should be grateful that Taiwan has been a repository for these treasures since 1949. Now we see the Taliban and Al Quaida doing similar things in the middle east and Africa. I guess certain types of regimes are afraid of the messages these treasures hold for all of us. Brilliant idea, bravo to the citizens of Nanjing!

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