The Kunqu Opera declared as World Heritage Site

This year you first awarded the title of “Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity” to 19 cultural spaces and forms of cultural expression in different regions of the planet.¬†The award-winning list headed by the oldest opera tradition of China, Kunqu opera, which thus became part of the cultural heritage of humanity.

The purpose of the grant of this title is to complement and extend the protection of world heritage. The oral and intangible heritage of humanity is composed, according to UNESCO, for the most remarkable examples of cultural spaces (defined as a place to focus popular and traditional cultural activities, but also as a time usually characterized by a certain frequency or an event), or forms of popular and traditional expressions including, among others: the language, oral literature, music, dance, games, mythology, rituals, costumes, craft practice , Architecture and other arts as well as traditional forms of communication and information.

UNESCO stressed that now the survival of many such spaces and forms of expression is in danger and that the granting of this award aims to encourage governments, NGOs and local communities to take action identification, preservation and recovery of oral and intangible heritage, in order to salvage the most symbolic of the cultural diversity of our world.

Origin and evolution of Kunqu opera, the history of Kunqu Opera, one of the oldest traditional opera forms in China, began more than 600 years.

In the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), the melodies kunshan already interpreted in central Jiangsu province in southern China. Later, with the collaboration of local artists, musician Liangfu Wei, reformed the melodies kunshan by assimilating the most salient features of the melodies of the operas in the north.

At the same time, with the help of the famous instrumentalist Zhang Yetang, built instruments appropriate to the melodies. Thus arose the Kunqu opera, characterized by combining the melodies of the operas of southern and northern China. At that time, Kunqu opera was played without makeup and not staged.

Convinced that Kunqu opera would be successful only if they represented on stage, the famous playwright Chenyu Liang (1519-1591), perfect knowledge of his poetry and his temperament, decided to take her to the scene.

Together with a group of friends wrote the first piece of Kunqu opera, history of Huansha, work of great success in describing the beautiful Xi Shi, the concubine of King Fu Chai of the State of Wu (585-476 BC). thereafter proliferated authors Kunqu opera pieces, which spread rapidly through the provinces of Jiangsu and Zhejiang during the first few years of the reign of Emperor Wanli (1573-1620) of Ming Dynasty.

His popularity was such that more often interpreted the works of other operas in southern China, and its melodies known even by the peasants. Later intellectuals took to Beijing, where he became an imperial opera. Throughout more than 200 years, Kunqu opera was one of the most performed opera genres in the Chinese scenario.


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