BEIJING, Dec. 8 (Xinhua) -- A program jointly initiated by renowned writer Pai Hsien-yung and prestigious Peking University to revive Kunqu Opera was launched here on Tuesday.
Activities about Kunqu Opera including courses, lectures and performances will be provided for students in the university in five years to foster their interest, said Ye Lang, dean of the cultural industries institute of Peking University, at a press conference.
Ye said a Kunqu Opera cultural week, as an opening part of the program, will be held from Dec. 9 to 20. Young lovers' edition of "The Peony Pavilion" and a fresh "The Story of the Jade Hairpin," two classics of the opera produced by Pai, will be staged.
Workshops and lectures will also be available in Peking University, Beijing Normal University and Euro-China International Business College to discuss the topics like how the Kunqu Opera can be accepted internationally.
Pai said the re-establishment of Kunqu courses in Peking University was significant because it restored the tradition of the university and gave the opera a new definition academically.
According to Peking University president Zhou Qifeng, Kunqu Opera was introduced into the curriculum by former president Cai Yuanpei in the early 20th century but was later suspended.
Currently, only a few universities like the National Academy of Chinese Theater Arts offer courses on Kunqu Opera.
As the oldest form of Chinese folk opera, the 500-year-old Kunqu Opera, was listed as one of the world's "masterpieces of oral and intangible heritage" in May 2001. The art form reached its heyday in 18th century and then waned to the verge of extinction in recent decades.