Chinese and American musicians jointly held a concert at the Kennedy Center on Wednesday night, kicking off a month-long celebration of Chinese art performances and exhibitions aimed at deepening bilateral cultural exchanges and friendship.
The concert, China-USA: A Celebration of Music, featured Chinese orchestral music, excerpts from contemporary Chinese operas which have won fans around the world, and pieces by world-renowned Italian composer Giacomo Puccini and American composer Leonard Bernstein that have become favorites of Chinese audiences.
Chinese conductors Zhang Guoyong and Xian Zhang, music director of the Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi, led the Washington National Opera Orchestra and an international cast of vocalists and soloists, including Carl Tanner, Chi Liming, Huang Ying, Li Chuanyun, Maria Eugenia Antunez, Tian Haojiang, Wan Shanhong, Yang Xiaoyong and Yu Hongmei, in a thrilling evening of artistic friendship.
Musicians from the two countries performed together the excerpts of some classical Chinese operas, including Savage Land, Madame White Snake, Poet Li Bai and the Red Detachment of Women, as well as Puccini's Turandot, which is perhaps the most popular and visible example of a Western composer's intrigue with China.
About 2,000 people attended the concert, including Chinese and U.S. officials led by Chinese Minister of Culture Cai Wu and Ann Stock, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
The month-long Chinese art performances and exhibitions are the second joint project co-hosted by China's Ministry of Culture and the Kennedy Center, since the Festival of China that was successfully held at the center in 2005.
Highlights of the latest celebration of China's flourishing arts include a free performance by the Tangshan Shadow Puppet Theater, the comedy of the National Theater of China's Two Dogs' Opinions on Life, the dancing performance by the National Ballet of China, the debut of the Beijing Dance Theater performing their imaginative work, Chinese symphonies and operas, and an outdoor exhibition of sculptures by some of China's best artists.