With a 600-year long history, Kunqu (崑曲) opera is one of the oldest extant forms of the Chinese opera and known as the “mother” of a hundred operas. Although dozens of professional Kunqu troupes used to operate across China, only a handful remain today in Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing, Hangzhou, Chenzhou and Yongjia. Kunqu has been awarded the title of “Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity” by UNESCO, which also recognises that the art form is in grave danger of extinction. Shanghai Opera Dreams, a production by Discovery Channel, follows several Kunqu experts in Shanghai on a mission to raise interest among the young, to uncover talent and to keep the art alive.
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