The China Cultural Center in Brussels has dedicated the month of October to the Beijing Opera. To honor this theme-month, two special events: the concert “Walking in the Moonlight” and the exhibition “Peking Opera Art Show”.
Press conference on October 3rd
The program of activities was launched on October 3rd, with a press conference, followed by the official opening of the exhibition “Peking Opera Art Show” and the premiere of the concert “Walking in the Moonlight”.
The press conference gathered about 15 journalists and press representatives at the China Cultural Center in Brussels. It started with a welcoming word of the Director of the Center, Mr. Tan Shu, who was very enthusiastic about the upcoming events: « I sincerely wish that those activities, those refined settings and those exhibited objects will allow the visitors to really enter the charming universe of the Beijing opera ».
His speech was followed by a word of the Director of the Shanghai Jingju Theater Company, Mr. Shan Yuejin, who presented the tradition of the Mid-Autumn Festival in China and ended his speech with an explanation about the style of music of the show: “The musical structure of this show is unprecedentedly novel, but the tune and rhythm strictly follow the traditional form and style. We are presenting the traditional cultural art in a modern way”. Then, the Director of Shanghai Municipal Culture and Art Archives, Ms. Xia Ping, mentioned the relationship with Brussels and her wish to let Europeans discover this Chinese art : “My hope is that the Peking Opera Art Show could be a window for visitors from Brussels and from all over Europe onto the art of Peking Opera and allow them to acquire further knowledge on Chinese traditional culture”.
Exhibition “Peking Opera Art Show” from October 4th to 25th
The opening of the exhibition “Peking Opera Art Show” also took place on October 3rd in the presence of more than 170 guests discovering the history, costumes, codes and props of the Beijing opera thanks to this attractive exhibition. “Peking Opera Art Show” is organized in cooperation with the Shanghai Culture and Arts Archives, an institution which collects and manages the cultural and artistic resources of the city of Shanghai. The exhibition is open to the public from October 4th until is October 25th, 2017. More information here.
Concert “Walking in the Moonlight”
The concert “Walking in the Moonlight” was performed to celebrate the Mid-Autumn festival. It mixed Chinese classic poetry and Beijing opera, and amazed everyone in the audience, young and old alike! The two performances on October 3rd and 4th gathered a total of more than 300 persons.
Several VIP guests attended the premiere on October 3rd:
- Minister Wang Hongjian of the Mission of the People’s Republic of China to the EU
- Minister-Counsellor Xu Hui of the Mission of the People’s Republic of China to the EU
- Major General Qi Huajun, Defence Advisor at the Mission of the People’s Republic of China to the EU
- Minister-Counsellor Li Jianmin of the Mission of the People’s Republic of China to the EU
- Minister-Counsellor Chen Dong of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China to the Kingdom of Belgium
- Mr. Xiang Shihai, Counselor for Culture at the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China to the Kingdom of Belgium
- Mr. Paolo Fontani, Director of the UNESCO Liaison Office in Brussels and UNESCO Representative to the European Institutions
- Mr. Bernard Dewit, Chairman of the Belgian-Chinese Chamber of Commerce
Mr Shan Yuejin, President of the Shanghai Jingju Theatre Company and Ms. Xia Ping, Curator of the Shanghai Culture and Art Archives, were also in the audience.
The ceremony of October 3rd started with several addresses by VIP guests. Mr. Fontani started by reminding the audience that Beijing Opera has been listed as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by the UNESCO since 2010. “The spirit of Humanity’s Intangible Cultural Heritage is to carry values and meaning from the past, that are meaningful today, and to transmit the wisdom of the past to future generations”. He was followed by Mr. Dewit, who explained his own vision of Chinese culture: “Despite the quick developments and large-scale evolution that China is going through those days, China and the Chinese people never forget their own traditions and their cultural references”. To conclude the ceremony, and as an introduction to the following concert, Mr. Xiang underlined the innovation carried by the concert, which mixes in a balanced way Chinese poetry and artistic disciplines of the Beijing opera, while also adapting itself to European eyes and ears. This resulted in a contemporary concert, however still rooted in Chinese traditional arts.
The program of the concert allowed spectators to discover an anthology of famous masterpieces including “An Old and Bright Moon” of Li Bai (701－762 AD), poet of the Tang Dynasty; works from The Book of Poetry (11th to 6th century BC) and poet Su Dongpo (1037－1101 AD) and much more.
The troupe brought to the stage 4 very famous Beijing opera artists: Ms. Shi Yihong, Ms. Wang Peiyu, Ms. Hu Xuan and Mr. An Ping. It was a rare occasion to see them all 4 and enjoy a performance with such professional quality!
After the performance, spectators also had the pleasure of tasting, in the moonlight, delicious mooncakes, which are typical Chinese specialties usually eaten during the Mid-Autumn festival.