web analytics web analytics
Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Chinese New Year’s Special: Kun Opera Comes to Life in New York City

January 8 @ 2:30 pm - 4:00 pm

Originated 600 years ago from Kunshan, an area outside of Suzhou in eastern China, Kun Opera has long been considered to be the oldest classical opera and the most comprehensive theatrical art in China. Elegant, exquisite and unique in style, Kun Opera integrates drama, music, literature, dance, design, and had significantly influenced many regional opera genres in China including the Beijing Opera. In 2001, Kun Opera was proclaimed as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.

On January 8, China Institute invites you to join our New Year’s special featuring Fengying Shen (沈丰英) and Guofang Shen (沈国芳), top Kun Opera performers from Suzhou Kunqu Opera Theatre, to get a taste of this beautiful art form. The two artists will present in full costume their stories with Kun Opera and perform a short segment from the renowned The Peony Pavilion (《牡丹亭》). A dialogue with the artists will follow the performance.

Audiences are also invited to get a close-up backstage look of the Kun Opera makeup, demonstrated by the two artists prior to the program.

2:30 PM – 3:00 PM
A close-up look of Kun Opera makeup and costume

3:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Kun Opera demo and dialogue with the opera artists (English translation by Dongshin Chang)

This program is part of China Institute’s 2023 Chinese New Year Festival – Immerse in Suzhou Culture

All visitors must bring a photo ID when entering the building and present proof of COVID vaccination. Masks are highly recommended when on site at China Institute.

Register Here

Artists’ Bios

Shen, Fengying is a top-notch Kun Opera performer specializing in “elegant young lady” roles. With an MAF of Shanghai Theatrical Institute, Shen studied under such famed performing artists as Zhang Jiqing, Hua Wenyi, Zhang Jingxian and Hu Jinfang, and has gone on to receive one of China’s highest artistic awards: the 23rd Plum Flower Award for the performing Arts, as well as recognition as one of the “ten most impressive people in the city of Suzhou” in 2007. Shen was invited to perform Kun Opera on the occasion of Prime Minister Wen Jiabao’s state visit to Japan, and has also appeared in France as the only female Kun Opera artist at the UNESCO Festival of Human Oral and Intangible Cultural Heritage. She performed wandering in the garden for President Hu Jintao and other members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau in New Year’s party of 2008 National Committee of CPPCC.

Shen’s best-known works include “The Peony Pavilion” (Youth Version 2004), “The Story of the West Chamber”, “The Palace of Eternal Life”, and new version of “The Jade Hairpin”.

沈丰英: 国家一级演员。工五旦,“扬”字辈。师从华文漪、张静娴、胡锦芳等,2003年拜著名昆剧表演艺术家张继青为师。上海戏剧学院(MFA)艺术硕士。

曾荣获第23届“中国戏剧梅花奖”、第十届中国艺术节“文华表演奖”;2006年,被授予“苏州市五一劳动奖章”“苏州市五一巾帼标兵”;2007年被评为 “感动苏州”十佳人物。2008年,获江苏省“三八”红旗手标兵荣誉称号;2014年被授予“江苏省五一劳动奖章”;首届中国昆剧艺术节“表演奖”;第四届中国昆剧艺术节“优秀青年演员表演奖”;第五届中国昆剧艺术节“优秀表演奖”;2007年全国昆曲优秀青年演员展演“十佳演员奖”; 江苏省第五期“333高层次人才培养工程”培养对象;第五届江苏省戏剧节“优秀表演奖”。代表作有青春版《牡丹亭》、新版《玉簪记》《西厢记》《长生殿》《朱买臣休妻》等。

2007年赴法国参加由联合国教科文组织的 “中国非物质文化遗产艺术节” 唯一代表昆曲的演出。2008年参加全国政协新年茶话会、2012年参加中共中央元宵节联欢晚会。


Shen, Guofang is an outstanding young Kun Opera artist performing the vivacious young girl or servant girl roles. Her performance of young maiden roles such as Spring Fragrance (春香) in “The Peony Pavilion” and Yunxiang in “The Story of the Hairpin and the Bracelet” is recognized for their sweetness, natural and refreshing charm. With an MAF from Nanjing University, Shen has studied under such famed performing artists as Zhao Guozhen, Chen Pei, Wang Fang, Zhang Jiqing and Zhang Jingxian. She has received award at China’s 2007 Kun Opera Exhibition Performances, and in 2008, New Star Award of stage arts in Suzhou. She performed wandering in the garden for President Hu Jintao and other members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau in New Year’s party of 2008 National Committee of CPPCC.

沈国芳: 国家一级演员,工六旦,扬字辈。南京大学(MFA)艺术硕士。先后师从赵国珍、陈蓓、乔燕和、王奉梅、王芳、张静娴,2015年拜著名昆剧表演艺术家张继青为师,并开始转习闺门旦和正旦。曾荣获中国首届昆剧艺术节表演奖与苏州专业团体中青年演员评比演出银奖; “全国昆曲优秀青年演员展演”表演奖、第三届紫金京昆艺术群英会“金昆艺术紫金奖·优秀表演奖;第五届江苏省戏剧节表演奖、苏州舞台艺术新人奖; “苏明杯”苏州青年艺术人才。



Dongshin Chang, Associate Professor and Chair, the Department of Theatre, Hunter College, City University of New York; President, the Kunqu Society in New York. A dedicated Kunqu amateur practitioner, Mr. Chang has been studying the art form at the Kunqu Society for more than two decades. His teachers include: Wang Taiqi, Wu Dezhang, Wen Yuhang, and Cheng Min for the young male role type; Wen Fulin for the mature male role type; and Xu Yuyuan and Zhou Ming for the Chinese flutes. He has performed “The Interrupted Dream,” “The Zither,” “A Banquet for Two,” “Finding a Portrait,” and “Encounter at the Pavilion.”

江苏省苏州昆剧院 Suzhou Kunqu Opera Theater, Jiangsu Province
苏州文化艺术中心 Suzhou Culture and Arts Centre
苏州市文化广电和旅游局 Suzhou Municipal Bureau of Culture, Radio, Television and Tourism
苏州文化投资发展集团 Suzhou Culture Investment Development Group

This program is made possible through the generous support of Chinese International Education Foundation, as well as other public and private donors of China Institute.
This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.


January 8
2:30 pm - 4:00 pm
Event Categories:


China Institute
40 Rector Street, 2 Floor
New York, NY 10006 United States
+ Google Map
View Venue Website