domingo, 26 de marzo de 2023


By Lou Kang in Beijing and Huang Lanlan in Shanghai

Valery Gergiev Photo: VCG

Following friendly China-Russia talks in Moscow, Russia's veteran conductor Valery Gergiev is set to perform in ­Beijing from March 27 to 29, the ­National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA) announced on Monday.

The news has excited so many ­classic music lovers as the conductor is ­well-received in China during his past visits, winning him the nickname "brother-in-law" as the pronunciation of his Chinese name is similar to jiefu, brother-in-law.

Gergiev's upcoming performance is seen as signal that more international artists will be on China's stages as the country resumed accepting requests of overseas artists ever since March 20. Meanwhile, many experts see it as an attempt at cultural exchanges between Russia and China resulting from closer bilateral ties.

Gergiev and the Russian Mariinsky Orchestra, which he has worked with for over 50 years, will stage music pieces ranging from Sergei Prokofiev's Symphony No.1 in D major, Op. 25, Classical, and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's Sheherazade on the first day to Claude Debussy's Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune and Gioachino Rossini's William Tell Overture.

Gergiev, born in 1953, was sacked by the Munich Philharmonic a year ago ­after he refused to speak out against the Russia-Ukraine conflict, according to media reports.

The incident sparked outrage among global music enthusiasts at that time, who condemned the West for politicizing art and venting their sentiment toward innocent people from Russia.

"Western sanctions against Russia in 2022 has spilled over to other fields including culture and art. Gergiev's expulsion from the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra is the most representative example," Xu Hua, a China-Russia relation expert from the Chinese Academy of ­Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

"Music has no boundary. People need cultural exchanges like music."

The concerts come at a time that has seen the frequent cultural exchanges between China and Russia.

China and Russia on Tuesday signed and released the Joint Statement of the People's Republic of China and the Russian Federation on Deepening the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership of Coordination for the New Era.

The statement also emphasizes exchanges between literature and artistic institutions such as museums, libraries, art galleries and theaters in the two countries.

"The announcement of Gergiev's performance in China coincided with the signing of the joint statement. It can be seen as an action by the two sides to promote people-to-people exchanges and learn from other civilizations," Xu said.

"In the context of strengthening political mutual trust between China and Russia, cultural exchanges between the two countries are also expected to become more frequent," Xu told the Global Times.

"[The Gergiev and Mariinsky Orchestra concert] is not a one-time event, as there will be more cultural exchanges in the future."

In February, the China Written Works Copyright Society announced that Chinese Nobel Prize winner Mo Yan's novel Frog is being adapted into a stage play that will be performed at the Pskov Academic Drama Theater in Pskov in April. Also in April, China's blockbuster The Wandering Earth II is set to hit the Russian big screen.

Many world-famous plays including Romeo and Juliet and Mozart, as well as famous symphony orchestras such as the Vienna Symphony Orchestra of Austria and the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra of Russia, are also expect to come to China, according to the China Performances Industry Association.

In Shanghai, another popular Chinese destination for international artists, theaters say they their schedules for overseas performances are so busy that they even have shows lined up for 2025 and 2026.

Nearly 1,000 performances from overseas have been confirmed for the Chinese mainland in 2023, and more are being considered, according to a survey conducted by the association.

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