China's Kunqu opera (also as Kunju opera) classic "The Four Dreams of Linchuan" was staged in the theater of Berliner Festspiele in Berlin over the weekend, prompting a surge in the number of interested and even enthusiastic viewers.
"The Four Dreams of Linchuan", a masterpiece by Tang Xianzu (1550-1616) during the Ming Dynasty, is a collection of four major dramas including the most renowned "The Peony Pavilion" and others.
The four "dreams" were brought onto the stage of Berliner Festspiele in four separate performances on Saturday and Sunday by the Shanghai Kunju Opera Troupe. To help audience better understand the storylines and the artistic styles of Kunqu, Berliner Festspiele hosted many introduction sessions as well as workshops.
When the last drama, "The Peony Pavilion" ended, wild applauses and cheers turned into a standing ovation as the curtain dropped and raised again for several times and the actor and actress saluting the audience in Kunqu-style figures.
"The Peony Pavilion" depicts a love story that transcends time and space, life and death, and it became classic.
Lara Messante, a local viewer, told Xinhua that "It's a human story, a story that may happen everywhere." She said, the only difference between the East and the West lies in the artistic presentation. While European operas are more "expressionist" in revealing people's feelings, Chinese operas use many styles.
Thomas Oberender, director of Berliner Festspiele, told Xinhua that such a sophisticated art form, including its music, visuals and acrobatics, is inspiring for western contemporary art. Germany audience liked this art form of talking with symbols.
Commenting on the opera "The Four Dreams of Linchuan", Oberender said, "It's very close to our western narration of 'life is dream', and for me it's very interesting to get to learn this artistic language which is close to our silent film tradition. "
Gu Haohao, director of the Shanghai Kunju Opera Troupe and also an award-winning Kunqu artist, said she has been observing the audience throughout the four shows, and the enthusiasm of local audience is never seen before since she first stepped onto the European stage 17 years ago.
"Now more and more people appreciate the aesthetics of traditional Chinese operas," she said.
Kunqu opera combines literary texts, music, costume designs and performances, and was listed as a world intangible cultural heritage by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2001.