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The University of Southampton
The Confucius Institute

Graceful Melody

Published: 3 October 2014
Image of opera house

-Cultural Tour of the tenth anniversary of Confucius Institute

A treasured part of Chinese culture since the late 18th century,  Peking Opera was transported to the Turner Sims Concert Hall at the University of Southampton on Friday 3rd Oct at 7pm. This was the last stop of a UK-wide tour by the National Academy of Chinese Theatre Arts. The audiences were presented with a rousing performance of music and movement.

Combining song with speech, dance, mime, acrobatics and martial arts, the troupe relayed the various plots through a series of symbolic and stylised performances. Decorated with bold costumes and sublime backdrops with a minimalist edge, the show featured a soundtrack from a small live ensemble that included erhu, suo na and high-pitch drum.

The Grand Finale was 'face changing' from the Sichuan Opera. Two performers used full-face painted silk masks, which can be worn in as many as 24 layers; skilled opera stars can change masks every two seconds! It was amazing to watch the actors transform their face with a magical sweep of the hand or a quick turn of the head. It was incredibly difficult to see the masks being changed

One member of the audience, Ben Neale, said: ‘It was a brilliant display of talent, I was stunned by the variety of skills. I feel so privileged to have experienced a true taste of Chinese culture.

Image of sheet music
Chinese Music
Performance image
Face Changing
Image of the troupe
the troupe
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