Rossini festival hits high note in Metro station
Passengers taking Metro Line 7 or 12 these days can have a glimpse of Italian opera if they step into the Longhua Road M. Station courtesy of an exhibition of the Rossini Opera Festival.
The exhibition, "Rossini Opera Festival In China: The Magic and Mystery of Gioachino Rossini," was launched at the station hall near Exits 1 and 2 on Friday morning, two days before Shanghai Metro celebrated its 30th anniversary. It will run through August 26.
Huge photos of Gioachino Rossini, one of the most important composers in the history of Italian opera, and stage photos of Rossini's classic operas have been put up. Screens have also been erected in the hall to show performances of the operas.
Several arias of famous Italia operas such as "The Barber of Seville" where performed by Chinese and Italian musicians during the exhibition opening ceremony, drawing groups of passengers.
Born in Pesaro in 1792, Rossini died Paris in 1868, leaving all his possessions to the municipality of Pesaro for the creation of a Liceo Musicale (the current Rossini Conservatory) for young people.
Since 1980, the Rossini Opera Festival, the only international festival dedicated to Rossini, has been staging all of the composer's operas, rediscovered and studied by the musicologists of the Rossini Foundation, in his hometown.
It has presented his operas all over the world, many of which had fallen out of the repertoire and become rarities. Now they are back on the programs of international theaters.
Daniele Vimini, the festival's president, said he was pleased to have such an exhibition in Shanghai.
"We are very happy to be here for a very important exhibition in which we can tell the story of the festival, tell the history of our culture, but most of all meet the Chinese culture here in Shanghai," he said.
It's the first time that Rossini and the festival have been exhibited in a Metro station.
"I think that is a very good idea because opera needs to meet the audience, needs to meet the people," he said.
He said Pesaro will become the Italian capital of culture next year, and the exhibition is a great opportunity to make it known in Shanghai and have more cultural exchanges with China.
He revealed that the discussions are underway with the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and Shanghai Opera House to co-produce operas in Shanghai from next year. The festival would also like to exhibit Chinese artists and musicians in Pesaro.
Fu Jihong, vice chairman of the Shanghai People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, said that music and opera are outstanding representatives of Italian culture, opening a door for Chinese people to learn about Italian culture.They have also played an important role in the relations between China and Italy.
He pointed out that the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and Shanghai Opera House have been cooperating with top music institutions in Italy, such as the Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory and Teatro alla Scala in Milan, with fruitful results. There are many Chinese fans of Italian operas such as "The Lady of the Camellias," "La Bohème" and "Turandot."
He said it's meaningful to organize the exhibition in a Metro station.
"Shanghai Metro is not only a way of public transportation, but also a public space for residents and tourists as well as a platform to show the charm of the city," he said.
"The Longhua Road M. Station was listed as one of the first 15 New Art Spaces by the Shanghai Administration of Culture and Tourism recently. I'm glad that it's turned into a mini opera house today to enable passengers to hear beautiful melody and see scenes of opera houses on their way, which will make their monotonous travel more interesting."
He said the exhibition highlighted the space of the Metro station as a platform for promoting international cultural exchanges.
It's not the first time for the station has hosted art exhibitions.
In the previous two years, it has displayed paintings from the Prado Spanish Museum and Salvador Dalí, providing a visual feast to subway passengers in Shanghai.
Venue: Longhua Rd M Station on Metro lines 7 and 12
Date: through August 26