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Celebrate the Moon Festival Oct. 5

By Peggy Binette, peggy@mailbox.sc.edu, 803-777-7704

A college campus is the perfect place for a Moon Festival, a traditional Chinese celebration that is meant to comfort the homesick and lovesick.

The Confucius Institute will host the National Academy of Chinese Theatre Arts for an evening of traditional Chinese music, song and dance at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 5, in Gambrell Hall auditorium at the University of South Carolina. It is free and open to the public.

Those attending will see the theatrical changing of painted masks associated with Sichuan Opera, combat movements identified with Beijing Opera and storytelling form of Kunqu Opera. The program also will feature “A Moonlit River on a Spring Night,” one of China’s most famous instrumental works, several traditional songs and a short play based on the classical novel, “Journey to the West.”

Tan Ye, director of Confucius Institute in the College of Arts and Sciences, said the Moon Festival is the perfect opportunity for people not familiar with traditional Chinese art forms to get a taste of them in a single evening.

Ye said the autumn festival, held when the moon is most bright and full, is based on the legend of the beautiful Chang-Er, who takes a magic potion to fly to the moon only to learn that she can never return.

“Chinese people treat the moon as a symbol of nostalgic sentiments, with the shades of the moon as images of Chang-Er and the jade rabbit that keeps her company,” Ye said. “The festival is an occasion for lovers to send their oaths to the moon. In the old days, when people thought the earth was flat, they believed that they could look at the same moon no matter how far away they were from each other.”

Before the Moon Festival celebration there will be a brief talk about the music of traditional Chinese Opera. It will take place at 5 p.m. in Gambrell Hall, room 151. Hai Zhen, chairman of the music department at the National Academy of Chinese Theatre Arts, will speak.

Moon Festival performers will include China’s famed Liu Chunnuan, a well-known Peking Opera actor and artistic director of the New York Chinese Traditional Arts Center; Tu Linghui, an award-winning Beijing opera singer; Wang Chengzhi, a performer and a music professor at the National Academy of Chinese Theatre Arts; Wang Fei, a Peking Opera star known for his martial arts skills; and singer Hong Zhang.

For more information, visit the Confucius Institute website  or contact Ye at 803-777-7660 or ye@sc.edu.

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Posted: 10/02/12 @ 12:00 AM | Updated: 10/05/12 @ 11:01 AM | Permalink

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