Mason’s Confucius Institute Presents Night of Chinese Opera

Posted: October 22, 2009 at 1:03 am, Last Updated: October 21, 2009 at 4:06 pm

By Catherine Ferraro

Pursuing its mission to promote and facilitate the learning of Chinese language and culture, Mason’s Confucius Institute welcomes the National Academy of Chinese Theatre Arts (NACTA) in its performance of “Highlights of Chinese Classical Theater.”

The concert is free and takes place in Harris Theater on Monday, Oct 26, at 7 p.m. on the Fairfax Campus.

Before the performance, a video about the history of Chinese opera will be shown at 6:15 p.m.

The performance will include excerpts from some of the most famous Peking and Kunqu Operas. Peking and Kunqu Opera are forms of traditional Chinese theater that combine music, vocal performance, mime, dance and acrobatics with vibrant makeup and costume.

Peking Opera gained popularity during the Qing Dynasty and has been performed for more than 200 years. Kunqu Opera, often called the “mother” of Chinese Opera because of its influence on other Chinese theater forms, has been performed for more than 600 years.

“As an important undertaking of the Confucius Institute at Mason of promoting Chinese culture to the community, the performance of the National Academy of Chinese Theatre Arts will showcase China’s rich culture and history in performing arts,” says Cheryl Choy, co-director of Mason’s Confucius Institute. “This is the first time such a performance has been featured at Mason.”

Founded in 1950, the NACTA is the only institute of its kind in China that offers traditional Chinese opera as a main program. Although dedicated to the training of professionals in performing and studying traditional Chinese opera, students can receive both bachelor of arts and master of arts degrees in directorship, music, literature of traditional opera, stagecraft and art education.

Graduates of the academy go on to perform in a variety of operas in China, in performing troupes, in secondary schools of performing arts, TV stations and cultural troupes in local areas.

Mason is the first university in Virginia to establish a Confucius Institute in partnership with the Beijing Language and Culture University. In addition to enhancing the understanding of Chinese language and culture, the Confucius Institute at Mason offers all levels of Chinese language classes and language practice workshops.

The institute also provides Chinese library and research materials, Chinese language testing, professional development training for pre- and in-service teachers and outreach and support to public and private K-12 schools.

For more information about the performance, contact Mason’s Confucius Institute at 703-993-7780.

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