China’s National Day holidays are often a peak season for the culture and tourism sector, as Chinese flock to tourist destinations and cinemas.
For this year, with the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions and an extended 8-day holiday from Sept. 29 to Oct. 6, many Chinese have opted for overseas destinations. For those who do not go abroad, China’s domestic stages are offering them quality alternatives to enjoy diverse culture.
In the southern Guangdong Province, the Amsterdam Theatre A Cappella Choir will perform in the cities of Zhuhai, Shenzhen, and Zhongshan from Monday to Wednesday. Founded in 2005, the singing group will perform songs in multiple languages, including Dutch, German, and Italian.
In Beijing, the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA), China’s prime theater, will stage the classic ballet “The Nutcracker” on Friday and Saturday. Performed by dancers from the northeastern city of Harbin, the new version is choreographed by the famous Canadian choreographer Peter Quanz.
The year 2023 has seen more foreign artists perform in China. Many of them made their debut on or returned to the Chinese stages. Their performances have been well-received in the Chinese market and have contributed to a rebounding performing arts industry.
“La Traviata,” one of the most famous operas by Giuseppe Verdi, was the first foreign classical opera to be introduced to China when staged at the Beijing Tianqiao Theatre in 1956.
To mark the 210th anniversary of Verdi’s birth, the latest version of the NCPA production “La Traviata” was staged in August at the NCPA opera house, featuring international opera singers, including Russian Soprano Ekaterina Bakanova.
Opera Lakmé made its Chinese debut in September, co-produced by the NCPA, the Royal Muscat Opera House, the Fondazione Arena di Verona, and the Los Angeles Opera House.
As one of the masterpieces of French composer Léo Delibes, the opera Lakmé is another initiative by the NCPA to explore the realm of world opera for Chinese audiences, following the production of operas by French composers Bizet, Offenbach, Saint-Saëns, Massenet, and Gounod.
For many music lovers, NCPA’s May Festival, dedicated to popularizing and promoting chamber music with renowned musicians from home and abroad, has brought an audio-visual feast for over a decade.
During this year’s iconic NCPA festival, Austrian pianist Rudolf Buchbinder performed the complete collection of 32 Beethoven piano sonatas, and French violinist Renaud Capuçon and pianist Guillaume Bellom performed violin sonatas by Debussy, Ravel, and Franck in a special concert of French works.
There is more to come. Maestro conductor Valery Gergiev will conduct the Mariinsky Orchestra to give two performances at the NCPA later this month. Conductor Teodor Currentzis and the musicAeterna Orchestra, on their first China tour, will perform in Beijing and Shanghai.