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Suzhou, an ancient city with a history of more than 2500 years, is one of the State Important Protected Famous Historical and Cultural Cities (First List) released by the State Council. Suzhou has not only created huge material wealth for the Chinese nation, but also written many brilliant chapters in the excellent and traditional culture of the Chinese nation. Among them, Suzhou opera has gained outstanding achievements and occupied an important position in the development history of Chinese opera.

Suzhou is the hometown of Kunqu Opera and Su Opera. Kunqu Opera, known as an rare art treasure in the opera family, originated in Kunshan during the late Yuan Dynasty and the early Ming Dynasty. Kunqu Opera dominated Chinese theatre from the 16th to the 18th centuries. Amateur groups, performances and annually Tiger Hill Kunqu Opera Festival were organized in Suzhou towns and villages at that time. Just as the old saying goes: “Kunqu Opera is so popular that thousands of people can sing it.” During its heyday, Kunqu Opera centered on Suzhou and exerted a dominant influence in most cities all around China for 200 years. As a result, an army of excellent actors as well as writers emerged, leaving a large number of well-known legend scripts for later generations.

Suzhou Pingtan is a local opera which enjoys great popularity in Jiangnan region. Pingtan, known as a blossoming flower in Jiangnan, originated in beautiful Suzhou and is performed in the Suzhou dialect with a history of more than 400 years. Suzhou Pingtan is famous for its flexible form, beautiful melody, vivid storytelling and entertaining content. Its audiences can be found all over the country and abroad. Famous Taiwan Sinology master, Yu Dagang, considers Suzhou Pingtan as ‘the most beautiful voice of China’.

Since the founding of the People's Republic of China, Suzhou opera has entered a new development stage under the Party’s relevant policies of “Letting a hundred flowers blossom and weeding through the old to bring forth the new”. In order to save and inherit Kunqu Opera and develop Su Opera, the Party’s Suzhou Committee and People’s Government attached great importance to Kunqu Opera and Su Opera in the early 1950s. Major national Kunqu Opera activities were also held in Suzhou, which played a great role in promoting Suzhou opera. On the one hand, some new programs such as Kunqu Opera “The Unjust Case of Dou E”, Su Opera “Drunk Person Go Home” and “Mr. Dou Saying Goodbye to His Son” and comic drama “Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory” have brought much influence across the country. On the other hand, an army of outstanding performers have been trained. As a result, Suzhou opera has scored gratifying achievements for almost half a century.