Opera takes center stage at opening of art festival

LOCAL opera lovers had a chance to share their passion with the masses over the weekend.

Over 20,000 people were treated to performances in the city as the 4th Shanghai Citizens Art Festival raised its curtains.

Celebrated singers Wei Song, Yang Xiaoyong and Jia Wenxuan performed at the Shanghai Mass Art Center on Saturday. The performances included “The Lady of the Camellias,” “The Toast Song” from “La Traviata,” and ”Ode to the Red Plum Blossoms” from the Chinese opera “Sister Jiang.”

The concert was also broadcast citywide through the Internet to audiences at 209 community centers. Wei, Shanghai Opera House’s art director, personally introduced each performance to the audience, many members of which were unfamiliar with the Western art form.

Rebecca Ni brought her 7-year-old daughter to the concert.

“Both of us had a lot of fun,” Ni said. “We used to think it was hard to understand the charm of opera, but now it seems interesting and enjoyable.

In a lecture, Wei chronicled the development of opera in both the West and China, and talked about influential figures such as Italian composers Giacomo Puccini and Giuseppe Verdi. He also focused on the technical, explaining, for example, the difference between arioso and recitative.

Xiao Yeying, an official with the festival organizing body, said the aim of the concert was to raise awareness of the art form, and that they would be collaborating with Shanghai International Arts Festival, Shanghai Opera House and Shanghai Conservatory of Music to present more interactive programs later this year.

The Shanghai Citizens Art Festival will be hosting exhibitions, performances and contests throughout the year.

Residents wishing to obtain information or tickets can go to “Culture Shanghai Cloud,” a newly launched digital cultural service platform.

News from shanghaidaily.com