Foreword

If art represents the culmination of the spirit and knowledge of culture, then music in drama – opera, is one of the crown jewels of the arts.

Chinese opera has traversed through a long history, origins of which can be traced back to the Qin and Han dynasties. The development of Chinese opera, however, did not truly take form until the end of the Song dynasty. The more familiar operas enjoyed today went through even further shaping during the Yuan, and consequently, the Ming and Qing dynasties. Now, Chinese opera has evolved into over 360 regional Chinese traditions. From the soft alluring style of kunqu, to the loud straightforward style of Qin opera, to the vividly colorful Cantonese opera, it continues to holds great significance in Chinese culture and is regarded as one of the world’s great classical dramatic arts along with classical Greek theatre and Indian Sanskrit drama.

In continuation of San Francisco Gu-Zheng Music Society’s aim to introduce and promote Chinese music and culture, we dedicated our 21st annual concert at the Herbst Theatre to China’s incandescent treasure, “Music in Drama: Regional Chinese Traditions”. Through dance, instrumental and vocal music, we feature the most captivating of Chinese theatre with excerpts from the main types of Chinese opera, including Peking opera, Kunqu opera, Yue opera, Cantonese opera, Taiwan Gezai folk opera, and Anhui folk opera.

We would like to thank the local community, organizations, and individuals who helped make this performance possible.

May all relish in the elegance and dazzle of this aesthetic tradition!

Weishan Liu

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