Flushing Town Hall Plans Showcase of Kunqu Opera

Flushing Town Hall announces their showcasing of Kunqu Opera on December 12, 2020 at 8PM EST. The event will take place via live-stream on Zoom or YouTube. 

Flushing Town Hall Kunqu
Photo provided by press release from Flushing Town Hall. 

The Kunqu Opera showcase is titled Kunqu in America: Memories of Chung-ho Chang Frankel. The showcase at Flushing Town Hall will illustrate how Kunqu opera, the oldest extant version of Chinese theater, took root in the United States by featuring memories of Ms. Chung-ho Chang, one of the most influential Kunqu practitioners throughout the country. The program will be presented bilingually, both in English and Mandarin, and will be told through videos, pictures, and interviews.

Ms. Chung-ho Chang is known for being one of the “last female literary talents from China’s Republic Era” particularly after the passing of Madame Chiang Kai-Shek. She was born in Shanghai to a big and prestigious family in 1913 and became a well-known poet, calligrapher, and Kunqu opera singer. She was active in the arts and cultural scene along with her three sisters during the first part of the 20th century. She then moved to the United States in 1949 with her husband, Hans Frankel, a sinologist who later taught at Yale University and who she met while studying at Peking University. 

She is known for having planted the seed of the Kunqu opera while also nurturing the art community while she lived in California and Connecticut. She did this by holding Kunqu gatherings in her home, bringing students, actors, musicians, and scholars together to practice Kunqu singing and movements. For decades, she traveled from university to university to promote and demonstrate the art form. In 2001, UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) proclaimed Kunqu a masterpiece of “the oral and intangible heritage of humanity”.  Today, there is a thriving Kunqu opera community throughout the United States in which Ms. Chung-ho Chang is greatly involved in. 

The Flushing Town Hall virtual event will feature anecdotes of Ms. Chang collected exclusively by the Kunqu Society from interviews with Ms. Chang’s family members, students, and friends, will showcase several elaborate costumes and musical instruments that were handmade by her and will collectively showcase Kunqu Opera.

Following the program, there will also be a live Q&A featuring guests who appeared in the stories. People interested in attending must RSVP in advance to receive a link to watch the event on Zoom or YouTube. To RSVP or to learn more about the program, visit The Flushing Town Hall’s website.

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