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City arts festival to offer lots of free performances
By Joyce Zhang

MORE than 3,000 public performances will be staged in the city’s all 17 districts and one county during the 16th Shanghai International Arts Festival that kicks off today.

Shopping malls, plazas, parks and university campuses will become stages for the colorful shows including dramas, dances, concerts and local operas in the coming 30 days. Well-known Chinese artists like classical dancer Huang Doudou, Peking Opera singer Tang Yuancai, Huju Opera actress Ma Lili and local veteran comedian Tong Shuangchun will bring their works to the temporary stages.

While all performances are free, reservations are required for some of the most popular ones.


The “Public Performance Series” (PPS) became part of Shanghai International Arts Festival in 1999 and has made great progress in providing an art gala for all residents, says Wang Jun, president of the Center for Shanghai International Arts Festival.

About 100 performances of 40 programs are staged in theaters during the festival every year, with a total audience of about 150,000. The “Public Performance Series” is expected to benefit more than 4 million ordinary residents.

“That is huge,” says Wang. “I would say that public performances have been serving as a fundamental base for the festival’s reputation among ordinary people.”

Providing a broad platform for various art forms to which residents normally lack much access has always been the major purpose.

“Surely performances in theaters are fancier and more attractive due to high-quality facilities, but not every audience member has the access to the refined art,” says Wang.

Wang says that she talked with some of the festival volunteers, who are mostly university students, and found that few of them have ever entered a theater for performance.

“I think it is still common for many residents in Shanghai,” says Wang. “We do have a lot of theaters in Shanghai, but still lack effective channels to art for ordinary people. We will keep working on that.”

The programs selected for outdoor performances are usually more relaxing.

“It is true that the major audiences for the PPS are still retired people in their 50s to 70s, but their tastes and preferences also change as the world changes,” says Wang. “The retirees today are definitely different from those 15 years ago; we cannot always feed them with the same programs.”

The festival has gradually increased the number of overseas programs in the PPS. It set a new program named “Art Space Series” this year to provide more outdoor performances of high quality.

The “Art” series will provide 31 performances that include concerts, dances, local operas and puppet theaters, with the average tickets priced around 50 yuan. The Munich Chamber Orchestra, Dutch National Ballet, Bejart Ballet Lausanne, and cellist Mischa Maisky will all present their works as part of the series.

“We expect that the series will become a bridge that links the people’s daily life to the fine arts,” says Wang.


Blossoming legend

“The Legend of Flower Lantern in Zhujing” is an opera divided into five short chapters depicting folk customs, including a part on beautiful Luozhao Bay, a bustling market of Wan’an Street, the Buddhist culture of Xiuzhou Lane and the colorful life of modern Zhujing. You can get a vivid experience of Chinese traditional culture.

Date: October 18, 6:30pm

Venue: Zijin Square in Zhujing, 38 Nanyu Rd, Zhujing Town

Ticket: Free

100 years in 15 minutes

“Light from the East” is a 15-minute show highlighting the momentous changes that have taken place in Shanghai in the past century. Using a combination of advanced video, laser and 3D animation techniques, the show is being broadcast on the wide screen in Lujiazui.

Date: October 20, 7pm

Venue: City Square of Shanghai Oriental Pearl TV Tower, 1 Century Ave, Pudong

Ticket: Free

A natural transformation

Adapted from the book “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle, this play tells the story of how a caterpillar overcomes numerous difficulties on its way to becoming a butterfly. It is performed by Mermaid Theater of Nova Scotia, Canada.

Date: October 25-26, 10:30-11:30am, 3:30-4:30pm

Venue: Malanhua Theater, 643 Huashan Rd

Ticket: 100-580 yuan

Letters spring to life

Portugal’s Almada Dance Company was founded in 1990 and focuses on producing modern dances. Choreographed by Nuno Gomes, “Jogos de Letras” tells the story in which letters become alive due to an accident. Each letter is portrayed through sounds and images in this dance drama for children.

Date: November 8, 7pm; November 9, 10am, 3pm

Venue: Dashuang Center in the Himalayan Art Center, 1188 Fangdian Rd, Pudong

Ticket: 100-280 yuan

Music from Germany

The Munich Chamber Orchestra was founded in 1950 by Christoph Stepp. Since then the orchestra has performed over 70 concerts every year all over the world. The repertoire for the Shanghai concert includes Mozart’s “Divertimento K. 136 and 138” and “Adagio and Fugue in C Minor K. 546,” Haydn’s “Violin Concerto in G” and Grieg’s “Holberg Suite.”

Date: November 9, 7:30pm

Venue: 3/F, 2727 Binjiang Ave, Pudong

Tel: 400-605-4320

Mischa Maisky in concert

Mischa Maisky won a national cello competition in the former Soviet Union at the age of 17 and the first prize in the Moscow International Tchaikovsky Competition the following year. Rostropovich once lauded him as “one of the most outstanding talents among the younger generation of cellists.” His records have been awarded throughout the world and he has also been nominated for Grammy Awards.

Date: November 15, 3pm

Venue: Shanghai City Music Square, 523 Yan’an Rd E.

Ticket: 80-1,080 yuan

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