The Magic of Love – The Kunqu Society

Seeing that China’s world domination is inevitable and nigh, I figured I’d acclimate myself to some of their cultural forms. Kunqu is the 500 year-old Chinese equivalent of opera with the most striking difference being that their performances take all day. The Kunqu Society cut and pasted various romantic scenes from assorted works in order to present a taste of the art form. My pitiful occidental ears found the traditional Chinese instruments harsh and the stylized singing of an already intonation oriented language felt like the performances were done by Fran Drescher imitators. The newness of the art form to me was one of the show’s most tantalizing aspects and I enjoyed watching the careful movements and stunning costumes in all their vibrant colors. The hilarious (and never subtle) sexual innuendos of “Quench the Thirst”, wherein a scholar tries to examine more than books, was a highlight, as was the depressing “The Rebellion”, which depicts the last happy moment of an Emperor doomed to lose his love.