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C4鈥?Jing鈥檃n Tuesday 26 September 2017鈥?Shanghai Daily A stage to make Chinese opera more accessible Li Qian Emperor Tang Minghuang (AD 685-762), who Zhang Jun explains the lyrics of a Kunqu Opera classic during a mourned for his dead concubine Yang Yuhuan. special show this month at Jing鈥檃n Cultural Center to promote the In Shakespeare鈥檚 comedy 鈥淎s You Like It,鈥?the Before singing, he spent more than half an hour 600-year-old art form. 鈥?Jiang Xiaowei character Jaques proclaims: 鈥淎ll the world鈥檚 explaining to the audience the poetic lyrics, a stage, and all the men and women are music and related allusions. merely players.鈥?Zhang Jun, a Kunqu Opera artist, would agree as long as he could perform 鈥淚t is a great way to have Kunqu approach on an intimate small stage setting. youngsters,鈥?he said. 鈥淜unqu originated from ancient poetry 颅鈥斅?the consummation of China鈥檚 The 43-year-old artist has spent the last sev- traditional art. The beauty of our mother tongue eral years performing at grand theaters at both is deep inside all of us, whatever vicissitudes. It home and abroad. But his love for the small can be awakened by poems and Kunqu.鈥?stage never diminishes. Zhang believes the opportunity to engage in This month Zhang presented a special show dialogue with the audience is just as important in the 199-seat theater of Jing鈥檃n Cultural Cen- as the performance itself and is in no hurry to ter. He loves the way he becomes one with the begin singing after it. The same can be said theater, performing with a united and forceful about the show鈥檚 interval. He believes the in- energy. terval is not just a short break, but a golden chance for the audience to make friends and He confessed it was 鈥減articularly satisfying. exchange ideas. In the small theater, we are close. We are face to face, and we can feel each other clearly. I can feel 鈥淭he interval is an interesting time,鈥?he said. the whole theater is gripped by the atmosphere 鈥淒ifferent people come to the show yet share that I create.鈥? the same hobby and that is why I arrange a tea time to talk. The month-long show is, in fact, a mixture of lecture, communication and performance 鈥淜unqu itself is a lifestyle in the Ming Dynasty designed to popularize the 600-year-old art (1368-1644). The audience hear my explanation, form. drink tea and enjoy my performance. They can be easily immersed in a poetic lifestyle. And I Zhang performed the act 鈥淐rying to the Stat- am so proud that the majority of audience today ue鈥?from the Kunqu Opera classic 鈥淭he Palace of are young people.鈥?Eternal Youth鈥?in his first show. He also played Widely known in China as the Prince of Kunqu Zhang plays Emperor Minghuang (AD 685-762) Opera, Zhang is also a member of UNESCO Art- of the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-709) in the Kunqu ists for Peace. The challenge for Zhang now is Opera classic 鈥淭he Palace of Eternal Youth.鈥? to promote Kunqu to foreigners. He has tried 鈥?Jiang Xiaowei several different ways. He has tried to sing Kunqu in jazz and also attempted to blend it with Western classics. 鈥淚, Hamlet,鈥?which premiered last year, is his latest effort. 鈥淚 had a worldwide tour from the US, the UK to France. People like it,鈥?Zhang said. 鈥淭hey are too familiar with the story, but it鈥檚 a brand-new way to interpret it, with Chinese philosophy. I sing in Chinese and English. In fact, I want to go further. Next year, I will have a campus tour in New York.鈥? Zhang鈥檚 passion for his art shines throughout. Don鈥檛 miss an innovative performance from a truly unique man taking an ancient Chinese art form to the masses. Newsclickers Communitystar Kids reading event Gu Chao New charity shop opens Nearly 30 children from China More boulevard Gu Chao, goalkeeper watching movie are just two and Hungary took part in a read- roads named of Jiangsu Suning football examples. A new community-based charity ing event earlier this month at the team, has been named as store opened this month on Jiangning Jing鈥檃n Children鈥檚 Library. Tree-lined Beijing Road W. ambassador of good man- 鈥淛ing鈥檃n has about Road. and Yangquan Road in Jing鈥檃n ners by his hometown of 500,000 white-collar work- Li Jingjing, co-founder of the are among the 24 newly-named Jing鈥檃n. ers and 200 office buildings. The store, at 916 Jiangning Road, Oriental Danology Institute, read boulevards by the city鈥檚 greenery Many of them have good is the second street store opened by the Chinese classic folktale 鈥淔isher authority. In a promotional video, manners but some just online charity shop Buy42 in Shanghai. Boy,鈥?a story of how a boy born Gu, playing a white-collar don鈥檛 know how to behave Described as the flagship store, it cov- from a bowl on the sea helps good The Beijing Road W. features worker, shows how to be- the right way,鈥?Gu said. ers nearly 400 square meters. Almost people and punishes bad people. plane trees, and Yangquan Road is have well in public venues 90 percent of the goods, from clothes covered by a line of camphor trees. and the workplace. Not 鈥淔or myself, I learn from it, to accessories and toys to home ap- The other organizer of the event, It requires more than 90 percent of pushing others when taking and I hope others can also pliances, are brand new, donated by Livia Ilona Szentmartoni, counsel green coverage of sidewalks to be the elevator and not talk- learn and gradually become companies such as Internet giant Ali- of Consulate General of Hungary a boulevard. ing or taking pictures when advocate for good manner,鈥?baba, high-street brand Zara and the in Shanghai, told the widely-known he added. Groupon website Pinduoduo. fairy tale 鈥淎z 茅gig茅r paszuly,鈥?com- So far, Shanghai has named 198 monly known as 鈥淛ack and the boulevards, and Jing鈥檃n has 19. Au- The first shop opened in June at Beanstalk.鈥?She said she hopes to tumn is a great season for people 1132 Xinzha Road and has started encourage children to explore the to walk on the falling leaves, ponder to make a profit. There will be a third world. over things in roadside seats or store opening soon in the Daning area. have a cup of coffee in caf茅.