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Home Suzhou Attractions Suzhou Shantang Kunqu Opera House

Suzhou Shantang Kunqu Opera House


suzhou shantang kunqu pavilion
Shantang Kunqu Opera House

Suzhou Shantang Kunqu Opera House currently is the only performance site to show Kunqu operas every day. Perhaps, it is not the best place to enjoy Kunqu, but undoubtedly it is the most cultural site to appreciate with the best surroundings or circumstance. In ancient area, performed in the ancient way, Kunqu opera in Shantang is truly the most elegant. It is a training and exhibition base of inheriting Wu Culture jointly operated by Suzhou Kunqu Opera Theatre and Suzhou Kunqu Opera School.

It is located in the scenic area of Suzhou Shantang, exactly at the north entrance area of Shantang Scenic Area. It is near to Shantang River on the north and opposite to Songhelou Restaurant (松鹤楼, the tower of pine trees and sacred cranes is the most famous restaurant in Suzhou). The west side is the Xinmin Bridge on Guangji Road. Guangji Bridge is one of the best sites to view the whole landscape of Shantang Ancient Street. Standing on the Xinmin Bridge and facing the direction of sunrise, visitors could see a classic yellow flag with four characters – “昆曲茶楼”(The Tea House of Kunqu Opera). It is the Shantang Kunqu Opera House.

Qili Shantang Scenic Area of Suzhou is the national 4-A (a standard to evaluate or classify the levels of the tourist destinations in mainland China) tourist attraction, and ranks one of ten top tourist destinations with the best night views in Suzhou. Surely, it is the most famous historic and cultural street in Suzhou. This street was said to be constructed by Bai Juyi(白居易, 772--846), a great poet in Tang Dynasty, when he acted as the governor of Suzhou. Up to today, it has a history over 1000 years. Located in the northern area, Shantang Kunqu Opera House is interconnected to Yu Han Tang(玉涵堂, Hall of Jade Inclusion).

In hall, the traditional Kunqu is performed with the music of guqin, kundi(a flute made in Kunshan). For the sake of popularizing the culture of Kunqu opera, Shantang Kunqu Opera House specially set the Kunqu Opera show when customers are enjoying tea. In some way, it is a leisure tea house highlighted with the classic Kunqu Opera show, apart from the fantastic tea. Many domestic tourists think it restores the original look of Kunqu in Ming and Qing Dynasties. The main hall can cover hundreds of customers. The center is an archaized stage, and the second floor the VIP section. Moreover, Shantang Kunqu Opera House also shoulders other missions like rehearsal, exercise and teaching, except the performance.

suzhou kunqu opera show
The Picture of Kunqu Opera Show in Shantang Kunqu Opera House

Kunqu opera is the oldest opera of China and boasts the mother of Chinese operas. The most highlighted characteristics of Kunqu opera is elegance and classic. In 2001, Kunqu opera was listed to be one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. Thoroughly, Kunqu opera can be available easily in many cities of China like Beijing, Xian and Tianjin, but is it the truly elegant one? Many people enjoy Kunqu opera in Beijing. It is absolutely ridiculous. In Beijing, the best performance is Peking Opera rather than Kunqu Opera. Compared to Kunqu Opera, Peking Opera is more suitable for northern people to perform, due to the characteristics of Peking Opera – grandness and nobleness. The north people perform the southern opera possibly brings the only conclusion – non-professional and lack of highlights. To enjoy the real Kunqu opera, Suzhou is the only city. Among these sites in Suzhou, Shantang is the best option.

Suzhou Shantang Kunqu Opera House Suzhou Shantang Kunqu Opera House
Suzhou Shantang Kunqu Opera House Suzhou Shantang Kunqu Opera House
Suzhou Shantang Kunqu Opera House Suzhou Shantang Kunqu Opera House

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Editor: Julius from Mildchina
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