The Society collects together all those with experience performing, and/or interest in learning, the Chinese operatic genres of Jingju (Peking Opera) and Kunqu (Kun Opera). We will be participants in London concerts and aim to provide vocal, movement and instrumental training for SOAS students who wish to learn these traditional art forms.
We inherited the mantel of the now inactive London Jingkun Opera Society and members have been active in performing both genres of Opera around London in the last few years, performing at events such as a Beijing and Kunqu Opera Gala at the Rudolf Steiner Theatre, for Chinese events at the V&A, or for a gig for an audience that included the likes of Kate Moss, Stephen Fry, the Duke of York, Tony Blair, and Tom Jones (not necessarily in that order!).
In 2014-15 we were involved in the British Museum Chinese New Year events (including interviews on Chinese TV), ran a symposium on Mei Lanfang In 2015-6, several qingchanghui concerts, and have been able to provide an unprecedented number of Saturday workshops to SOAS students. We will continue to provide good quality regular training, host events at SOAS, and expand our network of contacts, particularly with Confucius Institutes across London.
In 2014-15 we organized unprecedented numbers of workshops on most Saturdays during term times (part-subsidized for SOAS students). On occasion this has meant four separate courses running on a single Saturday (a Beijing opera course from 10-11.30; jingju movement workshop from 11.30 to 1pm; kunqu singing dan-role workshop from 2-4pm; and laosheng role workshop from 4-6!). In addition we have organized make-up workshops, dizi flute workshops for kunqu opera, staged qingchanghui concerts for learners and advanced practitioners alike. The success of these activities can be gauged from the audience created – member demand was such that an additional Chinese Opera course was appended to the SOAS Summer Music School!
Going from strength to strength, we hope to organize yet more good quality professional training next year for SOAS students, expand the equipment available to learners, and also host other types of event at SOAS (including a visit in November 2015 by the 70-strong No.1 Beijing Opera Troupe!).