Exquisite Beauty: The World of Kunqu took place in November 2008 and comprised a lecture, six demonstration talks and six performances by the internationally acclaimed Suzhou Kunqu Opera Theatre of Jiangsu and the Shanghai Kunqu Opera Troupe. Exquisite Beauty project was headed by internationally renowned scholar, Professor Pai Hsien-yung and organised by The University of Hong Kong, which partnered with various tertiary institutions to bring it to universities’ students as well as secondary school students and the general public. More than 6,000 tickets were distributed to interested parties, bringing this oldest form of art to the new generation.
Kunqu is the essence of traditional Chinese performing arts: an artistic blend of poetry, painting, music, singing, dance, and drama. In 2001, Kunqu was recognised by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) as one of the inaugural “Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity” the highest honour bestowed upon Kunqu.
The University of Hong Kong is committed to promoting this art form and, in May 2007, launched The Research & Development Project on Kunqu, the world’s first comprehensive project for the archiving, research and promotion of Kunqu. In October 2007, HKU collaborated with the China Art Academy and Suzhou Kunqu Opera Theatre, together with the Cultural Industries Institute of Peking University, to convene a four-day conference and performances of the classic A Youthful Rendition of the ‘Peony Pavilion’ at the newly opened National Grand Theatre.
The mission of the Robert H N Ho Family Foundation is to revitalise traditional Chinese arts and promote art education. HKU is glad that The Foundation shares the vision in the advancement of Chinese traditional culture and has helped to foster an understanding and appreciation of Kunqu among the younger generations.