LRCCS Noon Lecture Series: "Captured Alive (Huozhuo)": A Kunqu Performance of Chinese Adulterers and Adulteresses (Jianfu yinfu)
Traditional China pairs up music (yue) and eroticism to inform on one another, generating many operatic shows and debates about its performance arts and gender relationships. A representative and entertaining one is, for example, the kunqu (classical Chinese opera) play entitled "Captured Alive," a drama that tells the ghost of Yan Poxi strangling Zhang Sanlang, her human lover, and taking him to hell to resume their illicit love affair. Critical analyses of the play underscore that kunqu performances multivalently portray Chinese men's desire for and anxiety about musically talented and sexually appealing women.
Joseph Lam is Director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Michigan and Professor of Musicology, the School of Music, Theatre and Dance, the University of Michigan. A musicologist and sinologist, Lam specializes in the musics and cultures of Southern Song (1127-1275), Ming (1368-1644), and modern China (1900 to present). Lam regularly lectures in the U.S., Mainland China, and Asia. His most recent publications include: “Music and Masculinities in Ming China” (Asian Music, 2011), and Songdai yinyueshi lunwenji: lilun yu miaoshu/ Historical Studies on Song Dynasty Music: Theories and Narratives (Shanghai: Shanghai Conservatory of Music Press, 2012). Currently, he is working on a monograph entitled: “Kunqu, the Classical Opera of Globalized China.”