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Year of the Rooster, Chinese Kwun Opera Society: 'Mischief at Class' from The Peony Pavilion
YUN-JIEH JIA, maid Tsun Shiang
C.C.WONG, tutor Chen Zhuei-Liang
LI-YUN WANG, Lady Du Li-Niang
YU-HUA LI, erhu
LANG C. CHU, sansian
ZHU-FAN WU, drum
LEONARD TONG, small gong
FU-YUN SUN, make-up artist

Celebrating the Lunar New Year has become a valued tradition at the Athenaeum. You won't want to miss this delicious meal followed by the rare and wonderful opportunity to partake in a rich cultural experience. To celebrate the Chinese Lunar Year of the Rooster at the Athenaeum, the Chinese Kwun Opera Society will present "Mischief at Class," an episode from the famous Chinese Kwun opera The Peony Pavilion. The Peony Pavilion, written by Tong Xian-Zhu of the Ming dynasty in 1598 and is considered one of the greatest operatic works in Chinese literature. This drama tells the story of Lady Du Li-Niang and Liu Mong-Mei and the power of their love that surpassesd life and death. Kwun opera is considered the "Progenitor" of the Chinese opera tradition. The modern day Beijing Opera and other regional operas are all derived from Kwun Opera. It was fully developed during the 16th century and is characterized by the gentle nature of its prosody and melodies, the use of Dizi (bamboo flute) as its lead instrument, and the stylized movement in performance. In May 2001 the United Nation's Science, Education & Cultural Organization recognized the enduring value of Kwun as a "Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity."

The Chinese Lunar New Year is the longest chronological record in history, dating from 2600 B.C., when the Emperor Huang Ti introduced the first cycle of the zodiac. Like the Western calendar, The Chinese Lunar Calendar is a yearly one, as the start of the lunar year is based on the cycles of the moon. Therefore, because of this cyclical dating, the beginning of the year can fall anywhere between late January and the middle of February. This year it falls on February 9th. A complete cycle takes 60 years and is made up of five cycles of 12 years each.

The Chinese Lunar Calendar names each of the twelve years after an animal. Legend has it that the Lord Buddha summoned all the animals to come to him before he departed from earth. Only twelve came to bid him farewell and as a reward he named a year after each one in the order they arrived. The Chinese believe the animal ruling the year in which a person is born has a profound influence on personality, saying, "This is the animal that hides in your heart." 2005 is the year of the rooster.

The Chinese Kwun Opera Society is a non-profit organization formed in 1990. Its mission is to promote and preserve the Kwun Opera performing art, and further the understanding and appreciation of this art to the culturally diversified communities in Southern California.

The dinner is open to CMC persons only. The performance is open to all.