“Grandmother of Kunqu Opera” Cultivates 25 Little Plum Blossoms in 16 Years


Xu Yuntong, female, was born in September 1945 in Qiandeng Town, Kunshan City, Jiangsu Province, retired music teacher of Qiandeng Central Primary School in Kunshan City.She began to teach herself Kunqu opera at the age of 60.She, who has not systematically learned kunqu singing, has become a dream builder of Kunqu opera in the town of thousands of years.She has led 25 students to the top of the Children’s opera Tibetan peak, won the “little plum blossom” award.She is an old “artist” who works hard, a dream builder in a town with thousands of years, and a “Kunqu grandma” for children.She is xu Yuntong, the founder of “Little Kunban”.”It turns out that very beautiful flowers blossom everywhere, like so all paid and ruined…”Located in the ancient town of Qiandeng, “Little Kunqu Class” training room, often spread a little tender and gentle kunqu singing.The gray-haired Xu yuntong shuttles among the children, teaching and singing word by word, pointing out action by action, and immersing himself with the children in the artistic charm of Kunqu Opera, the “ancestor of all operas”, completely forgetting that he is already in his seventies.As early as 1989, in order to inherit the traditional culture, she formed a student folk band on her own and performed in Beijing in 1993, letting people appreciate the charm of folk music in a unique way.However, xu yuntong does not know kunqu opera and is just a layman.In 2004, the Qiandeng Central School in Kunshan city, Jiangsu Province set up a “Little Kun Class”, inviting retired music teacher Xu Yuntong to take charge of the daily teaching of Kunqu opera.Facing the task of preparation, Xu Yuntong, who has respect for traditional culture, has not been deterred.”I don’t understand it, but I can learn it.”She grasped the nettle and, at the age of 60, began to teach herself Kunqu Opera.She visited professional kunqu opera teachers in Shanghai and Suzhou and asked for their original recordings.After going home, listen to it again and again and write down the music;Listen again and again and learn to sing along with the pronunciation.She also bought professional books to study, repeated vocalization practice, “forced” to practice their own professional exhalation, vocalization.Every weekend, teachers from the Suzhou Kunqu Opera Troupe come to give professional guidance to the “little Kunqu Class”. Xu also cherishing the opportunity.She worked as both a student and a teacher, working with the children and never missing a lesson.She bought a video camera at her own expense and filmed the whole course of what the teacher taught. After class, she played back her lessons over and over again, carefully trying to understand every sentence and every action of the teacher. When she was fully familiar with her singing, she taught the children what she had learned bit by bit.Kunqu opera is good to listen to, but difficult to sing.In the study of Kunqu Opera, scenes and scenes in the plot are mostly virtual and need to be expressed by actors through their hands, eyes, body, method and steps.The pronunciation of Kunqu opera is the ancient dialect of Suzhou. Sometimes, one character has to be split into several characters to sing, so children have some difficulties in understanding the lyrics of Kunqu Opera.For example, when performing the “Garden Tour” segment of “Peony Pavilion”, it should not only show the beautiful singing voice and figure of Du Liniang and Chunxiang, but also convey the joy of the spring environment full of colorful and blooming flowers.In order to let the children can understand and well expressed, Xu Yuntong worked hard.She patiently explained the plot to the students, while teaching in fun, trying to use the children can understand the way to explain performance skills, until the children understand, familiar with the heart.After years of accumulation, she has developed a unique and practical teaching system of kunqu singing.Since “Little Kunqu Class” is an extracurricular class, the students should not only learn English, mathematics, foreign language and other cultural knowledge, but also take time to practice Kunqu Opera.In order to let the children “song does not leave mouth, fist does not leave hand”, Xu Yuntong and come up with “catch the needle” “waiting for” method.She kept in the school, using the break, after school time, see which small students empty down, she will teach a section, or to the child “cooking”.Kunqu teaching needs the spirit of dripping water through a stone, and it is impossible without full patience.Many mornings, the sun has just risen, Xu Yuntong busy figure will appear in the “kunban” practice room.Mopping floors, arranging props, boiling water and arranging lesson schedules, she prepares her classes in every detail.From teaching children to practice voice, legs and bend down in the morning, to teaching singing and walking after school, she never let up.When Xu yuntong’s father was alive, he was sickly and needed to be taken care of.However, xu rarely asks for leave for fear of affecting his “little Kunban” training.She often runs at home and school, for the growth of her father who is seriously ill and the children of “Little Kunban”, no matter how busy and tired she is, she insists silently.Later, after her father passed away in tears, she devoted herself to the daily training of “Xiao Kunban”.Xu yuntong said: “As long as I can do well in Kunban, everything I do is worth it!”Now, “Xiao Kun Ban” is 16 years old, it is like xu Yuntong carefully cultivated child.And in xu yuntong’s eyes, “little Kun class” students are her own children.In addition to giving his children guidance on learning, Xu yuntong is also very caring in life.”Xiao Kun Class” student Yang You, bumpy life, family conditions are extremely difficult.Xu Yuntong found her extraordinary talent in Kunqu opera and pulled her back from the brink of dropping out. He not only guided her in study, but also encouraged her and helped her in life.Yang You really did live up to expectations, soon became one of the school’s “famous actors”, and became the 18th opera “small Plum Blossom Award” gold medal winner.”Love does not know where to start, but deep.”For Xu Yuntong, kunqu opera and “Little Kunban” is the unknown “love”.Under Xu’s careful guidance, a group of children like Yang have emerged on the path of kunqu opera inheritance.Over the past 16 years, Xu’s hard work has paid off.Up to now, she has taught more than 100 students of the “Little Kunqu Class” and cultivated 25 “little plum blossoms” in Kunqu opera.The children always come to the fore in various competitions, and have won the highest prize of national children’s opera for many times — “little plum blossom” award;There are children admitted to shangxi and other universities to further their studies, learning Kunqu Opera.”The hometown of Kunqu opera finally has a successor!”This is what makes Xu most proud, and she is happy to see that her dream of inherits Kunqu opera is coming true.In addition to leading the “Little Kunqu Class” students into the palace of Kunqu art, Xu yuntong also actively promotes the “tea plate dance” and other characteristics of traditional culture, set up kunqu studio, to teach kunqu voice and singing skills to the residents of the town.Every Monday afternoon, xu yuntong’s Kunqu opera classroom is filled with a special group of students, all of whom share his passion for kunqu opera.It turned out that Xu yuntong was good at Shanghai opera and Yue Opera. She was cheerful and could always sing a few verses to her neighbors in her spare time, so she gradually got to know some opera fans.”It’s common to see people who can sing Shanghai opera and Yue Opera, but I’ve only met Teacher Xu who can sing Kunqu Opera.”Zhang Wanhua of Kunqu opera with Xu Yun said, since listening to Teacher Xu sing Kunqu opera, he was suddenly attracted by the beautiful singing style of Kunqu opera, “Teacher Xu is very enthusiastic, seeing that we like Kunqu opera, he taught us to sing freely.In May 2013, kunqu Opera “senior class” was established, and the number of students is still increasing year by year.With the teaching of “xiao Kun class”, Xu Yun with the teaching of these old people are particularly concerned.”We both love Kunqu opera and it’s so much fun to sing together. It’s like finding a soul mate.”Xu yuntong said that the company and support of people on her way to sing Kunqu opera strengthened her confidence. “I taught them and they taught others. Qiandeng is the birthplace of Kunqu opera, so more and more people should sing it!”Xu and her friends often rehearse their own versions of Kunqu opera and perform on stage in the ancient town.In Xu Yuntong’s view, thousands of lanterns “small bridge, water, people” of the primitive style seems to be a natural stage, in the yard of ordinary people, someone quietly singing Kunqu opera, this is a beautiful picture.Speaking of Kunqu Opera, Xu Yuntong, who is in his 70s, is always excited.”This is the happiest thing in my life,” she said. “I can’t think of anything more meaningful than teaching and passing on our culture.I hope more people will listen to kunqu and enjoy it and sing it!”The beauty of culture is inherited.Xu Yuntong takes inheriting Kunqu culture as the mission, takes kunqu teaching as the basis and kunqu cultural exchange as the extension. At the age of retirement, she concentrates on “cultivating plum blossom” and makes this ancient art of Kunqu radiate new vitality in the new era. She is the most beautiful “Kunqu Grandma”.Under the pouring of her heart, the elegant charm of Kunqu opera will be able to fragrance orchid!

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