- The famous piece is deeply inspiring for the two peoples at this very moment, "blowing the horn of unity and cooperation to fight the virus;"
- The artists of the two countries show a willingness to jointly complete this performance and overcome all difficulties in a spirit of union and cooperation;
- The event is a vivid expression of cooperation and sincere friendship between the two peoples.
This combination of file pictures shows the musicians Niu Jun from China, Boles Bola from Egypt, Amr Ashraf from Egypt and Yu Shu from China (L-R, top to bottom) who participated in the virtual performance of the Triumphal March. (Chinese Embassy in Egypt/Handout via Xinhua)
by Xinhua writers Gu Kang, Xu Yang, Wu Danni
CAIRO, May 13 (Xinhua) -- As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on worldwide, Chinese and Egyptian musicians, thousands of miles apart, staged a virtual performance of the Triumphal March from "Aida," using music to soothe suffering hearts and inspire people in these difficult times.
The piece, symbolizing victory, will encourage people to overcome the epidemic with optimism and courage, the musicians said.
This combination of file pictures shows the musicians Jiao Jian from China, Ahmed Abdel Aziz from Egypt, Qu Yuanyuan from China and Yang Mo from China (L-R, top to bottom) who participated in the virtual performance of the Triumphal March. (Chinese Embassy in Egypt/Handout via Xinhua)
"I played trumpet in my room, and the Egyptian musician played trumpet far away at his home. At different times and in different locations, we shared the joy of playing together with music as the carrier," Yuan Ye, principal trumpet of the Liaoning Symphony Orchestra and an initiator of the online performance, told Xinhua.
"Friendship started when musicians from Liaoning performed in Egypt last year," said Zhu Xinyu, vice president of the Liaoning Opera House, adding that as musicians from both countries were quarantined at home, "here comes the idea of (an) online performance."
The Triumphal March from the second act of "Aida" by Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi tells the story of an Egyptian pharaoh, and "is well known among the Chinese," said Shi Yuewen, cultural counselor of the Chinese Embassy in Egypt, who selected the piece for the performance.
In the opera, musicians playing long trumpets lead the heroic triumphant soldiers into the city, "which is very consistent with the desire of people today to overcome the epidemic," said Shi, also director of the Chinese Cultural Center in Cairo, who initiated and coordinated the performance.
Magdy Saber, the head of the Cairo Opera House, said that the famous piece is deeply inspiring for the two peoples at this very moment, "blowing the horn of unity and cooperation to fight the virus."
This combination of file pictures shows the musicians Walid Ali Gabr from Egypt, Yuan Ye from China, Li Shanpeng from China and Mohamed Helmy from Egypt (L-R, top to bottom) who participated in the virtual performance of the Triumphal March. (Chinese Embassy in Egypt/Handout via Xinhua)
"The key to a virtual performance is remaining aligned and performing in rhythm," said Li Qiu, chief of the Liaoning Symphony Orchestra, who tried such a performance for the first time in over 30 years of his career as a musician.
"Usually, we have a conductor for a performance," Li said, adding that in terms of recording music at home, "it is difficult to step on every beat exactly. Some of us recorded like seven or eight times."
"The video brings me a lovely memory of Egyptian musicians," he said.
"The video-making requires coordination of many technical details," Shi said, adding that they had exchanged many emails and made a lot of phone calls to nail down details.
The time difference of six hours between Egypt and China and the unstable Internet in Cairo made the task even more difficult, Shi said.
It took nearly half a month to finish the complete video, Zhu said, which lasts one minute and 34 seconds.
"We recorded it repeatedly, and finally presented this complete work to everyone," Zhu said.
Saber told Xinhua in an email interview that he was deeply moved by the willingness of the artists of the two countries to jointly complete this performance and overcome all difficulties in a spirit of union and cooperation.
"The cooperation has created a grand feast for the two oldest civilizations in history," Saber said.
This combination of file pictures shows Chinese musicians Li Qiu, Niu Tianyuan, Jiang Haisheng and Bao Ning (L-R, top to bottom) who participated in the virtual performance of the Triumphal March. (Chinese Embassy in Egypt/Handout via Xinhua)
SHARING JOYS, SORROWS
After the video was posted online, "many of my colleagues congratulated me on the great significance of this cooperation," said Jiang Haisheng, principal second violin of the Liaoning Symphony Orchestra, who participated in the performance.
"My daughter, who is studying in Germany, gave a thumbs up for this special performance and said she was touched," Jiang added.
The video has attracted a lot of attention from Egyptian audiences after it was broadcast on the official websites of the Cairo Opera House and the Chinese Cultural Center on April 22.
The event is a vivid expression of cooperation and sincere friendship between the two peoples, said Egyptian Culture Minister Enas Abdel Dayem.
"Despite the geographical distance, we are sharing joys and sorrows," said Shi, adding that since the COVID-19 outbreak, China and Egypt have stood by each other and helped each other to overcome difficulties, which highlights the ever-growing friendship between the two countries.
"Best wishes for both Egypt and China!" Saber wrote.
(Xinhua reporters Lin Yan, Jiang Jie, Duan Minfu in Beijing, Jiang Zhaochen and Zhao Hongnan in Liaoning also contributed to the story.)
(Video reporters: Gu Kang, Xu Yang, Jiang Zhaochen, Wu Danni, Xin Jianqiang, Lin Yan, Jiang Jie, Duan Minfu, Zhao Hongnan; Video editor: Wu Yao)■