MORE THAN MUSIC
KUN OPERA EXHIBITION
The Global Kunqu Opera Digital Museum was opened in Cambridge University’s Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology on August 25th 2017. Kun or Kunqu Opera is an old form of Chinese Opera dating back to the sixteenth century. According to the university, the museum will see cultural exchange between China and Britain.
The world’s first Chinese and English bilingual museum aims to study Kunqu Opera through cooperation between King’s College of Cambridge University and Jiangsu Provincial Department of Culture. The museum has been included in our Cambridge Rivers Project (CRP). Having been active for more than thirty years, CRP has a complete set of analysis and study methods, which will enable more people to know more about Kunqu Opera.
The museum aims to collect, sort and display cultural relics and video data related to Kunqu Opera. A team of thirty has been set up in Cambridge and has translated related materials of more than 300,000 words. To date, the museum has more than 370 objects, over 100 performing and teaching video clips and 70-plus research books, with a total of 6 trillion bytes, or 6 terabytes of information.
Musical instruments, clothing, props and other items preserved in Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology have been integrated with collections provided by Jiangsu Provincial Department of Culture. More collections from British Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum as well as in Europe and America will also be gathered.
Smart exhibition has been realised. It utilises virtual reality (VR) technology to create multiple 360-degree real-scene effect for display in theatres, stages and gardens. High-definition 3D technology is also used to enlarge, rotate and exhibit pictures. An assortment of precious videos depicting Kunqu Opera performers in the 20th century has been successfully repaired with the help of the latest digital scan and repair technology.
The museum also serves as the Kunqu portal for global viewers. Cambridge University will endeavour to offer information on Kunqu Opera performances all around the globe in the future.
On the opening day of the museum, King’s College held a preview called “Kunqu Opera in the Eyes of International Artists”. Exhibitions of this activity originated from two performances of Kunqu opera in Cambridge in 2015 and 2016. University of Cambridge invited artists from Asia, Europe, Africa, South America and other countries to produce impromptu paintings inspired by the Kunqu Opera during the performances. Their artworks will be displayed in Jiangsu Art Museum at the end of 2017.
The above text has been edited from an article produced and published by the China Daily, to be found here.