This year marks the 40th anniversary of Sino-German diplomatic ties. To celebrate the occasion, the Culture Year – China in Germany 2012 was launched at the end of January in Berlin.
The year-long event introduces Chinese music, film, opera, literature and contemporary art to German audiences.
Art lovers in Berlin attend China Philharmonic Orchestra’s concert as the opener for the Culture Year. Repertoire for the night features both Chinese classics such as “Butterfly Lovers” and Peking Opera selections, as well as a reinterpretation of Richard Wagner’s “Tannhauser”. A member of audience said, “I think the concert successfully kicked off the Culture Year. Chinese culture develops in its own way, so it will be an interesting experience for China and Germany to collaborate on the cultural project. ”
The launch of the Year aroused some initial criticism in elements of the Germany press. Michael Kahn-Ackermann, once head of the Goethe Institute in Peking, and current advisor to the Chinese culture ministry, states that he counts on “dialogue”. He hopes that “people listen and look closely first, before stating firm opinions”. It would be wrong “to bedevil every Chinese artist with questions about his political views”. On the other side of high politics, Germans and Chinese have cooperated for years. Hundreds of artists from both countries experience everyday life in each others’ countries. In German galleries, contemporary Chinese painters’ paintings are found, dancers attend ballets, and students follow master classes.