Sweet melody with Chinese and French cultures
Chinese and French cultures engaged in a dialogue during a concert at the historic Shanghai Chamber of Commerce in downtown Jing'an District on Friday night.
The audience enjoyed Kunqu Opera, Western classical music and Chinese popular bel canto performed by outstanding artists and musicians from the two countries, with the theme of "water," "river" and "sea," along the Suzhou Creek.
It is part of the Our Water project which was launched on Thursday to enhance intercultural communication by Shanghai United Media Group and the Shanghai International Culture Association under the guidance of the Shanghai Municipality's Information Office.
Cultural integration is one of the highlights of the waterfront concert, in terms of language and music.
Some singers used two languages to sing different songs and received hearty rounds of applause. This included French jazz singer Anne Evenou, who has lived in Shanghai for 25 years and speaks Chinese, and Chinese bel canto group Vocal Force.
"The song – By the Suzhou River – is romantic," Evenou explained.
"In the mind of the Chinese, romance is synonymous with French. But I think Chinese are the most romantic people in the world."
Many visitors were also immersed in the Chinese traditional Kunqu Opera, combined with the Western instrument the violin.
Kunqu Opera artist Zhang Jun said: "Kunqu Opera can express a tranquil life. This echoes with the gentle breeze by the Seine in Paris and the fine drizzle by the Suzhou Creek tonight."
A 41-year-old audience member, surnamed Gan, told Shanghai Daily: "Because of the project and the concert, Suzhou Creek has become a platform for international exchange where Chinese traditional opera can set sights on a world level and Western classical music can also yield positive results."
He admitted that he had never heard most of the French songs performed on Friday night but he was happy to learn more about France through music.
Our Water project is based on waters in global cities, seeking international collaboration in the fields of urban renewal, ecology, culture and economy and trade. Every year, Shanghai will have a dialogue with one foreign city, with the first round lasting for five years.
This year, a series of activities, including forums, waterfront concert exhibitions and documentary filming, will be held in Shanghai and Paris before April next year, as 2024 will mark the 60th anniversary of the establishment of formal diplomatic relations between China and France.