Episode Three



Episode 3

Episode 3

  • To  establish relationships between the participants as individuals and groups
  • To provide  EU participants with contextual Shanghai/Chinese cultural experiences
  • To hold a series of exploratory performance workshops
  • To have  inter cultural explorations around the cultural phenomenon of  opera  and to work on specific themes identified by participants
  • To explore the different training techniques required & explore ways of using the differences as a pedagogic route to getting students and young people to think about the nature of music via a radically different tradition
  • To document the processes on film, photograph and paper.



ALL : sharing knowledge, background and questions   – the key features of Chinese and EU opera;     the key features of the cultural context of opera in China and EU

CAT :    exploratory & developmental   laboratory  workshop   to   create the core artistic team and explore the theme

CCG :    exploratory & developmental  seminars to consider the questions around the context of Opera in the EU and China

Monday  5th January 

STA Opera College campus 

Morning    – Welcome to Project (Professor Sun,   S Daniels) : audience  of STA staff & students

  • 30  minute presentation  with performance from EU group – the salient features of EU Opera tradition as art form  (Professor Derek Scott & Jess Walker)
  • 30  minute presentation with performance from STA Opera College– the salient features of Chinese Opera tradition as art form  (Professor Sun & Professor Yu Zhu)
  • 20  minute presentation on the  management and cultural context of opera in EU  tradition –   contemporary status, challenges etc  (Dominic Gray & Rebecca Walsh)
  •  20  minute presentation on the  management and cultural context of opera in  Chinese  tradition – contemporary status, challenges etc  (Professor Baorong & Professor Sun)
  • 40  minute  Discussion -:  heritage and the sung drama/opera;   heritage arts and innovation; cultural policy;  the identification and training of artists.   (Chair : Dr Ruru Li) 


CAT     (+ JP + DM )   workshop / laboratory with RL as ‘bridge’ facilitator  with two STA Opera School students  : each team going further into the detail of the operatic traditions, exchanging  performance knowledge through action and starting consideration of the theme  (judge, mothers, baby) 

CCG    (remaining EU & Chinese staff)  the roles of opera in contemporary society –  the historical development of opera, the  nature of the creative industry, marketing, management and education. The development by STA of  the field of social performance studies

Evening Meal   and social cultural event – organised by STA 


Tuesday  6th  January


All day  STA Opera College campus  in  workshop /  laboratory  responding to the theme   with documentation team & R Li


Objectives :

–  introduction to  two very different Chinese opera styles (out of 360 different types), in order to give a wider perspective on Chinese opera and the different classes they represent.

–  meet two key Shanghai figures to represent the two contemporary cultural strands  – government and free market – and raise questions about the  development  of the theatre in China and that impact on the future for opera

– to introduce the OPENCOV project and make networks

Morning  – 

Shanghai Kun Opera Theatre  with Director, Academic  & Shanghai Government Officer,  Guo Yu.

Watched rehearsal of Peony Pavilion and Golden Monkey Plays , question  and answer session with actors & musicians  

Talk by  Director Guo Yu   on Opera Theatre in Contemporary China. – information on the government opera cultural policies (leaning towards fully government subsidized kun opera and Beijing opera).

Introduce OPENCOV project.



Shanghai Yue  Opera Theatre 

Shanghai Yue opera (also called Shaoxin opera), is the only mainly  all-female opera form in today’s China.

Meeting with Chen Jing, Senior Tune Designer

 Explanation and exploration of  folk musical instruments,  folk singing tune and their influence on opera form; the role of notation and forms of training.   Comparison Chinese / European practises. 

Shanghai Yifu Theatre

Meeting with  Director Xu Peilin  : Theatre in Contemporary China – engagement with Opera

Xu Peilin is the most successful  individual entrepreneur opera producer in Shanghai.  (NB ‘Yifu’ is the name of the Hong Kong sponsor of the theatre) –    the development of the opera market/cultural industries (leaning towards marketised regional operas, such as Yue opera and Shanghai opera.)

Evening     Whole Group  

Shanghai Yifu theatre –  early evening back stage tour followed by  attendance at performance of  Dream of the Red Mountain  . 

Wednesday 7th January


 All day  STA Opera College campus  in  workshop /  laboratory  responding to the theme   with documentation team & R Li



Meeting   chaired by Professor Sun  with academic colleagues and guests from the Shanghai  performance and cultural industries.  They included  Zhao Zhigang, (an artist  and a vice director of Shanghai Yue Theatre ) Ji Yun Feng (Shanghai Kunqu Opera Troupe) , William Duan (Shanghai Philharmonic Society) Zhou Li Zhong (Shanghai Shaoxing Opera Company)  Hu Zhe  (Director TV Folk Opera Dept)  and the President of the Shanghai Performing Trade Association.     

Following an introduction to OPENCOV and the strands of interest, there was an intense three hour discussion on the  arts / opera and the role of  the entrepreneur and the state in culture, in education. performer training,  management training;   financing;  models of  organisation etc.   


Meeting with Bing Bing  Zhou; previously of the  British Council and  now representative in Shanghai of the office of the Lord Mayor of London.   Agenda  : the arts and education in China – education, other bodies both governmental and nongovernmental, and the place of opera.


Formal  sharing of  what each  group (CAT / CCG) had done  in the previous two days 

Thursday  8th  January


STA Opera College campus  in  workshop /  laboratory  responding to the theme   with documentation team & R Li 


  • Observing classes in the Opera School
  • Follow up visit with   Xu Peilin, 
  • Visiting 2 creative centres – Tian Zi Fang and Mo Gan Shan 50

Evening  – whole group

Dinner with Leeds alumni for general exploration of young views on the arts and culture in  contemporary China

Friday  9TH  January


     CAT and CCG (separately)   prepare ‘work in progress’ exposition  


     Presentations and review of week by CAT and CCG to invited audience including all those visited by /  

     contributing to either grouping during the week, visiting American Professor, STA faculty &  students


Sharing of future plans