Suzhou Kaiming Theater, located on Guanqian Commercial Shopping Street, is a multipurpose space, hosting films, live performances (including Peking Opera, Kun Opera, Suzhou Opera and Pingtan) and small conferences.
Kun Opera, also known as Kunqu or Kunshanqiang, is one of China's classical operas, with a history of more than 500 years. Named for its birthplace, Kunshan, near Suzhou, Kun Opera embodies the tradition of ancient poetry and other oral traditions.
In the early stages of the evolution of this art form, the singer performed unaccompanied, and the orchestra only came in at the end of each line. During the Ming Dynasty, a more serene and smooth form of performance developed, accompanied largely by four types of musical instruments: stringed instruments, bamboo flutes, drums and clappers.
During its third stage, Kunqu developed into the more vivid and lively form that we know today, and branched into two distinct schools, characterized as southern Kun and northern Kun. The latter is the more widely performed, the southern Kun being confined to Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces.
Kunqu is known for its wide-ranging repertoire, characterized by delicate and elegant tunes. Among the traditional instruments used are: the dizi, a horizontal bamboo flute; xiao, a vertical bamboo flute; sheng, similar to a pan flute with only one mouthpiece; and pipa, a plucked string instrument with a fretted fingerboard.