Concert celebrates start of China-France year

Event presents audience repertoire of classical music from the two nations

By CHEN WEIHUA in Versailles, France | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2024-02-02 07:25
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Performers take a curtain call after the concert at the Royal Opera of the Palace of Versailles near Paris on Wednesday. GAO JING/XINHUA

Chinese and French musicians brought down the house on Wednesday evening at the Royal Opera of Versailles inside the Palace of Versailles at the opening concert of the 2024 China-France Year of Culture and Tourism.

The concert performed by the China National Traditional Orchestra and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera of Versailles presented a repertoire of Chinese and French classical music to an audience of around 500.

Zhao Cong, a top pipa player in China, won big applause from the mostly French audience fascinated by the Chinese lute.

So did Tang Feng, a noted player of the erhu, a two-stringed bowed Chinese musical instrument. He and flute player Khrystyna Sarksyan, who stood next to him, complemented each other with the Chinese and Western music instruments.

Video speeches by President Xi Jinping and French President Emmanuel Macron to mark the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and France were broadcast on stage before the show.

In his speech, Xi pointed out that the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and France 60 years ago was a major event in the history of international relations. With extraordinary wisdom and courage, Chairman Mao Zedong and General Charles de Gaulle opened the door for exchanges and cooperation between China and the West, bringing hope to the world amid the Cold War.

Over the past 60 years, China-France relations have always been at the forefront of China's relations with Western countries, bringing benefits to the two peoples and contributing to world peace, stability and development, Xi said.

He said the two sides can take the China-France Year of Culture and Tourism and the Paris Olympic Games as opportunities to expand people-to-people and cultural exchanges and promote closer people-to-people bonds.

In his video message, Macron said that 60 years ago, General de Gaulle went beyond the logic of camp confrontation and made the historic decision to establish diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China.

He said the year 2024 is the China-France Year of Culture and Tourism, and the two sides will hold a variety of activities. The two sides should take this opportunity to enhance exchanges between the two peoples, especially young people, and lay a more solid foundation for the future of France-China relations.

Xi and Macron announced the 2024 China-France Year of Culture and Tourism during Macron's visit to Beijing in April 2023.

Throughout this year, hundreds of events from preforming arts and visual arts to cultural heritage and tourism promotion will be held in both countries.

Last week, Chinese and international artists staged the opera Romeo and Juliet by French composer Charles Gounod at the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing.

From April 30 to June 1, the Palace of Versailles and the Palace Museum in Beijing will jointly hold an exhibition dedicated to the exchanges between the two nations since the end of the 17th century.

Meanwhile, China's National Cultural Heritage Administration will select more than 20 treasures from the Tang Dynasty (618-907) to be exhibited in November at the Guimet Museum in Paris.

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