According to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the seventh China National Kunqu Opera Art Festival is scheduled to be held in Suzhou, Jiangsu province on October 13th. This one-week festival will see 26 shows staged by some of China's most famous Kunqu troupes featuring both classic repertoire and more recent works.
Academic symposiums and performances by college students will also be staged to the audience. Kunqu is considered one of the oldest extant forms of Chinese opera forms. It evolved from Kunshan melody, a local music genre found in Suzhou. It was also inscribed as one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2001.
The first Kunqu Opera Art Festival opened in 2000 and has been held every three years since then. It is now the only national-level art festival in Suzhou. Suzhou is a historical city with the history of 2,500 years, and it is renowned for its classical gardens which are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Since 42% area of the city is covered by water, including a vast number of ponds and streams, it is praised as the “Venice of the Orient”.