Dragon dancers of Zhejiang Shaoju Opera Theatre perform "Grand Bustling Chinese New Year" during the Chinese New Year celebration concert held in Chicago Symphony Center in Chicago, the United States, on Jan. 26, 2020. (Xinhua/Wang Ping)
More than 1,000 people were amazed at the performance of traditional Chinese musical instruments and Shaoju Opera at the Symphony Center in downtown Chicago Sunday afternoon.
by Jian Ping
CHICAGO, Jan. 27 (Xinhua) -- The sound of traditional Chinese musical instruments and Shaoju Opera filled the Symphony Center in downtown Chicago Sunday afternoon, as the Chinese New Year concert entertained an audience of more than 1,000.
In the first half, the Shanghai Chinese Orchestra performed classical music with the pipa, suona and zheng, while in the second half, the Zhejiang Shaoju Opera Theatre brought onto stage the repertoire of a traditional Chinese opera.
Yu Bing from the Shanghai Chinese Orchestra performed a touching piece -- "Farewell My Concubine" -- with the pipa, which received a long and thunderous applause.
"It looks like he has become the instrument," said 64-year-old Mary Hoover from Park Ridge, a northwestern suburb of Chicago, of the pipa. "They are just like one."
In addition to the suona and pipa, other Chinese instruments also featured in the first half, including the flute, yuan, erhu and sheng, which were used to play pieces such as "Landscape around the Lake," "Spirit of the Chinese Calligraphy" and "Flying Bees."
"The performance is fantastic," 66-year-old Lucy Elam from Evanston north of Chicago told Xinhua. "I like the suona, an instrument I have never seen before."
The Zhejiang Shaoju Opera took the stage in the second half with "Grand Bustling Chinese New Year." Dragon and lion dances, accompanied by the beat of drums and sound of trumpets, filled the orchestra hall with energy and festivity.
Other performances also featured scenes from the Shaoju opera, including vocal performance, face changing, dancing and acrobatics.
An actress of Zhejiang Shaoju Opera Theatre performs during the Chinese New Year celebration concert held in Chicago Symphony Center in Chicago, the United States, on Jan. 26, 2020. (Xinhua/Wang Ping)
"The performance is top-notch," said 70-year-old Meng Jianyun, who lives in Indiana. "I'm from Shanghai. I feel so proud to see high quality Shaoju staged at the Symphony Hall."
Jeff Doebler, director of music education and bands at Valparaiso University in Indiana, echoed Meng.
"I have seen similar performances in China before," Doebler said. "Today's concert in Chicago feels special and delightful. I especially appreciate the authentic performance."
"It's great to see a traditional Chinese music performance in Chicago," said Siva Yam, a local resident. "I'm so happy to see so many people here celebrating the Chinese New Year together."
The concert at the Symphony Center is part of Chicago's two-week calendar of activities and programs to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year, which falls on Jan. 25. This is the seventh year in a row for the city to celebrate the Chinese New Year.
"This year's performance stands out with Chinese characteristics," said Chinese Consul General in Chicago Zhao Jian. "It has brought festivity and joy to the Chicago audience."
Jeff Alexander, president of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association, said that "Symphony Center is proud to continue its tradition of bringing some of the finest artists from China to the Orchestra Hall stage." ■