Kunqu at the Imperial Granary
Peking Opera, although world-renowned as a cultural treasure, can sometimes be an acquired taste for visitors – however its ancestor Kunqu Opera is more accessible thanks to softer and more melodic language, and also boasts an impressive history. Today, having stood the test of time and been preserved across not mere years or decades but centuries (six, to be precise), classical Kunqu is still performed weekly at Beijing’s Imperial Granary, the beautiful 60-seat imperial era theatre venue built in the early C.15th, and where the tradition of Opera lives on.
Far from the Operas of the West, this traditional piece, Peony Pavilion – the most popular play of the Ming dynasty – is considered a performance masterpiece, and to that effect was named a ‘Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity’ by UNESCO in 2001. In much the same way that it was first performed at the Pavilion of Prince Teng in 1598, the atmospheric piece presented now tells a timeless story of romance in signature lyrical prose. A story that traditionally took more than 20 hours to tell, it has now been condensed to a 120-minute piece, leaving time for you to complete the artistic experience with a post-show stop at the on-site restaurant for a taste of historic regional dishes too.