Festivals under the stars woo music lovers

Updated: Jul 29, 2022 By CHEN NAN China Daily Print
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The rock band Jiulian Zhenren, featuring lead vocalist and guitarist A Long (right) and trumpet player Mai Haipeng (left), performs at the Strawberry Music Festival in Wuhan, Hubei province, on Sunday. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Outdoor events in demand as COVID-19 outbreaks are contained

As the sun set on a hot summer evening this month, a leisurely breeze wafted across Gangzaihou Beach on Gulangyu Island, a short ferry ride from Xiamen, Fujian province.

Nature's stage was set, with an audience of about 600 eagerly awaiting an open-air concert by Chinese opera singers.

The concert, staged on July 20, opened with the overture to Nabucco, Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi's first major successful opera, which was performed by the symphony orchestra of the Xiamen Song and Dance Troupe under the baton of Gao Song.

The evening also featured classic arias from nine Western operas, such as Carmen by French composer Georges Bizet, La Traviata, also by Verdi, and La Boheme by Italian composer Giacomo Puccini. The arias were performed by Chinese opera singers, headlined by Dai Yuqiang.

Songs from popular Chinese operas were also performed, including The Red Guards on Honghu Lake, which premiered in Beijing in 1959 to mark the 10th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. Earth Building, premiered in 2011 and produced by the Fujian Opera and Dance Theater, was also performed-portraying the history and lifestyle of the Hakka people in Fujian province.

Gao, the conductor, said: "Operatic concerts are usually staged in concert halls. This is the first time we have put on an outdoor show in front of audiences next to the ocean. Nature is the best set designer-we can hear the waves, walk on the soft sand and smell the sea while enjoying the music. It's a whole new experience."

The program, which was also staged the following day, was part of the Gulangyu Music Festival, held on the island from July 15 to 24. It was the first time that the festival, which is in its third year, had featured operatic concerts.

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