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Foreign choral groups mix in local songs
By Nie Xin

THE 30th Shanghai Spring International Music Festival will for the first time include International Choral Art Week.

Held from May 2 to 7, choral week brings troupes from China and eight other countries to Shanghai.

The groups are Moscow Vesna Children's Choir, Chanticleer and Mark Hubbard & The Voices from the US, Hamburg Choir Musica Viva from Germany, Viipurin Lauluveikot from Finland, The Estonian TV Girls' Choir, Patea Maori Club from New Zealand, Lucnica Chorus from Slovakia and Forever Blue from South Korea.

Choral groups from Shanghai and Zhejiang Province will also perform.

Their shows will present classical, contemporary, folk and pop songs, according to Wang Yan, music director of International Choral Art Week and vice director of the Shanghai Professional Choral Committee.

"Up to 500 performers will join in this choral carnival, which is the first time so many international choral groups have gathered in Shanghai," says Wei Zhi, the vice secretary-general of the committee of the Shanghai Spring International Music Festival.

Chanticleer is an all male a capella chorus of 12 singers. Patea Maori Club is renowned for conjuring images of Oceania's beauty through their music. The Estonian TV Girls' Choir have added an "exciting" dance repetoire to their performance. And Forever Blue distinguishes itself with a humorous style. Viipurin Lauluveikot will perform Finland musician Jean Sibelius' (1865-1957) "The Boat Journey."

"This is a precious chance to enjoy Sibelius' works, which are rarely performed by choral groups these day," Wang adds.

The troupe will also perform the Chinese folk song "Pastoral Song."

Most of the international groups will include at least one Chinese song in their performance. These songs include "Small River," "Sunshine and Happiness" and "Sky Road."

Composer Wang Luobing's "Half Moon Climbs," Weng Qingxi's "The Moon Represents My Heart" and Zhuang Nu's "Sweet as Honey" will also be performed by the various choruses during the week.

Moscow Vesna Children's Choir will perform Huang Zi's "Rainbow Mountain." The song was adapted from the famous poem "The Song of Everlasting Regret," which was written in 806 AD by Bai Juyi.

Wang says: "I believe spectators will enjoy hearing these Chinese songs performed by foreign singers, but it is important to remember that there is more to Chinese music than the song 'Jasmine Flower'."

Highlights of the festival

Jose Carreras concert

Jose Carreras, one of "the Three Tenors," returns to Shanghai after performing here in 2011. The Spanish tenor will cooperate with Finnish female singer Saara Aalto, but the program list is being kept a secret. "We chose to perform in a theater instead of an indoor stadium so I have the opportunity to show more details in my songs," Carreras says.

Date: May 2, 7:30pm

Venue: Daning Theater

Address: 1222 Pingxingguan Rd

Tickets: 280-1,980 yuan

Tel: 6217-2426, 6217-3055

'Jane Eyre' ballet

Shanghai Ballet will stage "Jane Eyre" based on Charlotte Bronte's famous novel. But it gives more play to Mr Rochester's mad wife. "Bertha is a mad women, but her existence is always a key to the relationship between Jane Eyre and Rochester," says Yu Rongjun, the ballet's scriptwriter.

Date: May 15-16, 7:15pm

Venue: Shanghai Culture Square

Address: 36 Yongjia Rd

Tickets: 80-500 yuan

Tel: 6217-2426, 6217-3055

Macau music

Macau Chinese Orchestra will present a concert with strong Macau tradition at Shanghai Center Theater on April 40. Apart from classic and modern works, the orchestra established in 1987 also aims at exploring symphonic art of traditional Chinese music, especially for those with Macau cultural elements. Their program list for the concert in Shanghai will cover such music works as "Macau Rhapsody," "Macau Impression" and "Honor East."

Date: April 30, 7:30pm

Venue: Shanghai Center Theater

Address: 1376 Nanjing Rd W.

Tickets: 80-500 yuan

Tel: 5882-8825, 5887-0798

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