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NCPA looks to the future during 12th anniversary festivities

By CHEN NAN | China Daily | Updated: 2019-12-24 08:16
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A white swan serves as the logo to mark the NCPA's 12th anniversary. [Photo by JIANG DONG/CHINA DAILY]

Li Jiazhong, 90, woke up early on Sunday morning. He was excited because he was going to visit the National Center for the Performing Arts for the first time.

On that day, Dec 22, more than 50 public programs were staged to celebrate the NCPA's 12th anniversary. The venue opened to audiences for free, a tradition since 2009.

"I saw the news on TV and learned about the NCPA's birthday. Then my daughter applied for tickets online. She got three tickets luckily," says Li, who was accompanied by his family on Sunday. "Although I am old, I follow the news and I am interested in the arts. I love Peking Opera and today I watched some Peking Opera shows at the NCPA."

Li is among around 8,000 people who went to the NCPA that day to enjoy free shows, including a concert performed by the NCPA Chorus featuring classic Chinese folk songs, a concert staged by the Beijing Symphony Orchestra under the baton of conductor Tan Lihua and a quartet of the NCPA Orchestra performing works such as Hungarian Dance No. 5 by Johannes Brahms and Mozart's Divertimento in D major, K. 136. Students from the Beijing Dance Academy and Minzu University of China performed ethnic Chinese dances. Peking Opera artists from the Beijing Fenglei Peking Opera Company staged such classic works as The Drunken Concubine and Farewell My Concubine.

Filmed stage productions were also screened at the opera house of NCPA, including the premiere of a Chinese dance drama, The Railway to Tibet, which was performed and produced by the NCPA in 2018. According to the dance drama's director, Wang Ge, it pays tribute to the landmark project of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, the world's highest and longest line crossing a single plateau.

"By turning the dance drama into a movie, it means that more people are able to enjoy the show," says Wang. "Unlike the stage, the movie captures the dancers' movements close up, and the emotions are expressed with a much more intimate feeling." The award-winning choreographer adds that this is the first time his stage production has been turned into a movie, offering him a fresh perspective of his own work. So far, the NCPA has produced 29 films in the past 12 years.

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