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The 13th China Shanghai International Arts Festival in Operation

On the evening in Shanghai, lights glittering warmly in front of newly built Shanghai Culture Square, the curtains go up on the 13th China Shanghai International Arts Festival, which runs through November 18. Around 50 performances will be staged, including 21 original Chinese works.

The festival opens with an original dance drama, "The Goddess and the Dreamer" presented by the Zhengzhou Song and Dance Theater. It tells the story of Cao Zhi and Cao Pi, princes of the Kingdom Wei of during the Three Kingdoms Period (AD 220-280). It features traditional Chinese dance styles.

The original Chinese works will play a great role in this year's festival such as, opera "Red River Valley" presented by the China Opera and Dance Drama Theater with famous singer Yin Xiumei and Wei Song acting as leading roles, the stage play "A Charming Face among Peach Blossoms" by the Shanghai Drama Arts Center; a new Peking Opera "Peking Opera Actor Becomes Major General" and the Peking Opera and musical drama "Meng Xiaodong" by the Kuokuang Peking Opera Theater from Taiwan.

Two original Chinese works will have their world premieres - "The Nutcracker and the Dream on the Sea" and the original musical "The Broken Bridge.""The Broken Bridge" is a retelling of the "Madame White Snake" legend in which a benevolent snake sorceress falls in love with a mortal man. "The Nutcracker" is a very different retelling of the famous "Nutcracker" story.

World leading orchestras, bands, soloists, dances are preparing numerous music and dance gala to the audience with sir Simon Rattle conducing Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, the Bejart Ballet Lausanne, the Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra under the baton of David Zinman maestro violinist Perlman, pianist Murray Perahia, Italian pianist, Ludovico Einaudi, Hagen Quartet one of the most renowned quartets in Europe, Helmuth Rilling with his Stuttgart Bach Academy, Ricardo Muti with Shanghai Symphony Orchestra and many more!

Sixty-two originals by Picasso will be exhibited. Other exhibitions include sculpture and fresco highlights from the Mogao Grottoes in Dunhuang, Gansu Province, and contemporary Chinese calligraphy and ink-wash painting.

Furthermore, Performing Arts Fair attracting 1000+ representatives, public cultural activities presenting 3000+performances, festival forum, Germany Culture Week and Gansu Culture Week are in full swing.

The opening ceremony of "Daily Performance"of publicity activity of 13th China Shanghai International Arts Festival took place this morning at Century Plaza in Nanjing Road in downtown Shanghai. While in the afternoon, the "Daily Performance" in Yuyuan Garden also presented opening ceremony.

Several folk art troupes from Czech, Austria, Israel presented a stage of exotic performances with locals, tourists halting to watch.

"Daily Performance" at the Nanjing Road Century Plaza is to stage 32 performances, including some programs performed in the theatres of Arts Festival and shows given by foreign troupes from Sweden,Czech Republic,Brazil,Russia,Turkey, etc. It will further promote domestic and international cultural exchange and interaction. Moreover, in order to commemorate the 90th anniversary of CCP,it will concentrate on a full display of the artistic talents and spirits of all walks of life, such as community residents, workers, students,etc.

In Yuyuan Garden The 3rd Shanghai Community Opera Competition of Red Play of Daily Performance is jointly hosted by the Centre of Shanghai International Arts Festival, Shanghai Public Arts Centre, Shanghai East Radio Co., Ltd and SMG New Entertainment, and has taken more than half a year for selection and appraisal. In the Arts Festival, fans and amateurs of various operas and host /hostess of opera programs from 30 broadcasting stations all over the country will gather at Yuyuan Garden Center Plaza to hold the finals and exhibit excellent programs which win the Community Opera Competitions. Private troupes will also take part in this activity.

Forum of 13th China Shanghai International Arts Festival took place this morning at Conference Center of InterContinental Shanghai Puxi with the theme "Future Trends of Arts Festivals".

The speakers made introductions of their own national festivals and international festivals. When talking about the development trend of Asian festivals, Benson Puah, Chairman of Association of Asia Pacific Performing Arts Centers considered a big problem for Asian festivals to present western arts rather invest the new Asian works. He suggested festival should establish a bigger platform to offer chance of premiere for local new works.

Zhang Yu, Board Chairman & President of China Arts & Entertainment Group made speech on Development Trend of Beijing and Shanghai International Arts Festivals. Zhang thought Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong should strengthen the experience exchange and source sharing, and full cooperation on Introduction of projects, creation of programs, information circulation.

This year's festival forum will take "Future Trends of Arts Festivals" as a core theme, and will be divided into three parts. During the forum, festival directors will discuss on the unique relationship between festivals and the city development in various counties, share ideas for future trends of arts festivals, explore the connection between festivals and performing arts industry, festivals and creative industry, and festivals and marketing. Additionally, by experience exchange and lessons analysis, and answering the questions from the audience, the directors will also try to frame out the possible new position, functions and social responsibilities of festivals in current society.

THE original Chinese opera "Red River Valley" about Tibetan and Han solidarity in the face of foreign invaders will be staged at Shanghai Grand Theater on November 4.

The opera, based on a 1997 movie of the same name, is one of the innovative Chinese performances for the 13th Shanghai International Arts Festival.

The movie directed by Feng Xiaoning was released when Hong Kong returned to China's sovereignty.

It is based on the 1961 book by British author Peter Fleming, "Bayonets to Lhasa: The First Full Account of the British Invasion of Tibet in 1904." Hundreds of Tibetans were killed in the conflict. The film starred Paul Kersey and Ning Jing.

The movie and now the opera tell heroic stories about ethnic Tibetans and Han people in what is now China's Tibet Autonomous Region, together resisting foreign incursion and exploitation.

Tibetan and Han people fight side by side; harmony of different cultures is a major theme of the opera. There's also a love story.

The opera will be presented by China Opera and Dance Drama Theater; noted soprano Yin Xiumei and tenor Wei Song will take the lead roles.

Though opera originated in the West, the music in "Red River Valley" incorporates ethnic elements.

"Since it is a story of Tibetan minority, more ethnic characteristics are considered in the composition," says composer Meng Weidong.

Though she majored in opera at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, Yin is best known for her solo performances such as "The Song of the Yangtze River."

"I like opera and I have seen many operas throughout the years, yet few motivated me to stand on the opera stage again," says Yin. But she enjoyed the 1997 film and its story.

"I told director Feng that I would love to play a role if there was an operatic version (of the movie)," she says. "And the chance came with this festival."

Creating an original opera is quite difficult, says Li Xiaoxiang, vice president of the China Opera and Dance Drama Theater.

"Fast-developing society with many kinds of free or low-cost entertainment puts great pressure on traditional stage arts," says Li. "And it's even more difficult for opera that requires large investments, both financially and in terms of human resources."

"Red River Valley" is an art project jointly funded by the government and private investors. Artists hope for similar financial support for more new Chinese opera ventures.

Yin says performing in opera is more difficult than performing solo in concert.

"We have to act, sing and dance while wearing heavy costumes and sometimes carrying heavy props," says Yin, who is in her 50s, but plays a vivacious young Tibetan girl in the opera.

"From the moment I put on the costume I have to move, run, laugh and cry like a teenage girl," she says.

Tenor Wei says the score is idea for his vocal range and characteristics. "The melody suits my voice perfectly, as if it had been written for me," he says.

The opera will feature music, dance, ritual and background with Tibetan characteristics.

The exhibition wonder at 13th China Shanghai International Arts Festival definitely belongs to 62 priceless works form Spanish Artist Pablo Picasso which was premiered at China Pavilion of EXPO Park tonight.

It is known to be the largest Picasso exhibition since 1949. International movie star Ms Zhang Manyu, Liu Ye, celebrated Chinese soprano Ms Huang Ying and other celebrities attended the ceremony. Ms Zhang said she best appreciated the works Picasso created from BULE period TO ROSE period. "It is a conversion from coldness to warmth, with Picasso's changing mood influencing his works.

The China Picasso Exhibition will feature 48 oil paintings, seven prints, seven sculptures and 50 photographic works from the National Picasso Museum in Paris.