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Organization at UO to celebrate Chinese culture.

Byline: Bob Keefer The Register-Guard

Correction (published Oct. 1, 2010): A performance of Chinese opera celebrating the opening of the new Confucius Institute at the University of Oregon takes place at 7:30 p.m. today at the UO's Robinson Theatre, not in Gerlinger Hall as stated in a story in Thursday's Arts section. The story also misstated the affiliation of the institute's co-director, Dai Lan; he works for East China Normal University in Shanghai, not Shanghai University. Also, the Confucius Institute is not a "branch" organization, its co-director at the UO says. Rather, Bryna Goodman says, it is "an independent institute" run as a partnership between UO, East China Normal University and the Chinese Language Council.

A new branch of the Confucius Institute, a Chinese government-sponsored program to promote understanding of Chinese language and culture, will celebrate its opening with a number of cultural events in the coming week at the University of Oregon.

The institute being opened on campus is one of more than 300 similar institutes operating worldwide, including more than 50 at other U.S. universities. It's a partnership between the UO, the Chinese Language Council and the East China Normal University in Shanghai.

"The Confucius Institute will work to connect China interests and specialists across campus," says Bryna Goodman, who is executive director of the institute as well as director of the UO's Asian Studies program and a professor of Chinese history.

The new institute will help bring China-related events to campus and the community, she said.

The top draw this week will be Friday evening's opening festivities, at which arias and instrumental music from traditional Kunqu opera will be performed at Gerlinger Hall, 1484 University St. Kunqu, which flourished in the 16th to 18th centuries, is the most highly refined form of Chinese opera, Goodman says, and was nearly wiped out during the Cultural Revolution.

In 2012 the institute will help present a different kind of opera. The institute will collaborate with Eugene Opera, which is planning a production of contemporary American composer John Adams' "Nixon in China." The institute plans to mount a photo exhibit about the former president's visit to China and to host presentations about that event.

Worldwide, the Confucius Institutes are headquartered in Beijing, under the Office of Chinese Language Council International.

The use of the name Confucius represents a sizeable shift in China's approach to the historical figure, whose teachings form a kind of secular religious system. Mao attacked Confucius, whose teachings emphasized conservative morality, as representing what was wrong with pre-Communist China.

The program has been around since 2004; one reason the UO took so long to create an institute here, Goodman says, may be rooted in a broad skepticism about what the role of the institutes in representing the Chinese government. Over time, she said, those fears have relaxed.

The institute here, based in Gerlinger Hall, is funded equally by its Chinese sponsors, which contributed $150,000 this year, and by the UO, which has given in-kind support in the form of physical space and staff time. A co-director here, Dai Lan, is employed by Shanghai University.

A one-day transmedia installation of art scenes from Beijing will be held Sept. 29 at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art's Ford Lecture Hall, 1430 Johnson Lane on the UO campus.

A free panel presentation on Kun Opera by Chinese opera specialists will be from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 30 at the Knight Library Browsing Room, 1501 Kincaid St.


Opening events at the University of Oregon

Today: A free panel presentation on Kun Opera music, costumes and text by Chinese opera specialists will be held from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Knight Library Browsing Room, 1501 Kincaid St.

Friday: Opening ceremony will be at 3 p.m. Friday at the Alumni Lounge in Gerlinger Hall, 1485 University St. Dignitaries will include Chinese consul. A program of Kun Opera arias and instrumental music will be performed at 7:30 p.m. in the Robinson Theater, 1109 Old Campus Lane. Admission is $10, $5 for students.

Wednesday: The Chinese film "24 City" by director Jia Zhangke will be shown at 5:30 p.m. at 110 Willamette Hall, 1371 E. 13th Ave., with a lecture about the film at 4 p.m. the following day in the Knight Library Browsing Room. Free.

Oct. 7: Oberlin professor Hsiu-Chuang Deppman will talk on "Faces of Change in New Chinese Cinema: Jia Zhangke's '24 City' " at 4 p.m. in the Knight Library Browsing Room. Free.
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Title Annotation:Arts and Literature; Confucius Institute plans a series of events to celebrate the opening of a branch in Eugene
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Geographic Code:9CHIN
Date:Sep 30, 2010
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