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Chinese Spring Festival galas enliven Canadian cities
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08:28, February 26, 2008

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"When magic comes from so far away, it is bound to be extra special," said Jeffrey De Fourestier, master of ceremonies at the inaugural Spring Festival Gala Sunday night at the National Arts Center in Ottawa.

He was referring to star magician Ms. Yang Lulu, who made no less than 15 umbrellas appear seemingly from thin air. Ms. Yang and her 19 fellow performers from the China Broadcasting Performing Arts Troupe, presented a typical Chinese show before an audience of over 2,000, which proved a musical and visual triumph.

The first half of the gala saw a wide variety of folk arts of China's minority groups. "Mermaids of Hainan Island" expresses people's happiness in celebrating the coming of the new year in China's southern end and the Snow Lotus Trio sang two Tibetan songs.

"Spring Excursion" was a romping reenactment of Mongolian dance. The hammer dulcimer solo: "Festive Heavenly Mountain," performed by soloist Zhang Gaoxiang, depicts the magnificent scenery in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in northwest China.

The hula hoops acrobatic show by Jin Linlin, who had 150 hula hoops spinning at the same time on her slim body, became the talk of the intermission.

"I was absolutely amazed by the hula hoops," said Diane Deans, an Ottawa city councilor." I also really enjoyed the first two performances "First Train to the Dong Village," and "Kangding Love Song."

To make the show even more spectacular, 60 members of the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra performed Chinese music for the first time since its establishment in 1966. Under the musical direction of David Currie and in collaboration with China's "Master of String" Ms. Jiang Kemei, the orchestra mesmerized the audience with "Farewell, My Concubine" and Jinghu Concerto: Deep Night.

Prior to the musical crescendo, the longtime pop singer Wang Jieshi performed "Songs of the Campus," an immediate hit with those of Chinese descent, young and old, who clapped and sang along.

Before that, acrobatic artist Jin Linlin wowed the crowd with "Kicking Umbrellas," an amazing feat that culminated in all hands and feet spinning circular carpets. That was preceded by soloist Wen Shuping performing famous melodies with an apparatus in her teeth that held three lit candles.

Canada's former Prime Minister Jean Chretien, Senator Mac Harb, long- time Member of Parliament (MP) Mauril Belanger, and other officials and MPs were present at the show.

"I've always said China is a rising, important nation, both politically and economically," Chretien said. "I've met with the president of China 18 times. I was there with my wife twice last year. I still think it is important to have good relations with the Chinese," he said.

Both Governor General Michaelle Jean and Prime Minister Stephen Harper sent messages to the performance. "This gala will ensure that Chinese Canadians of all ages can remember their past and celebrate their ancestry, keeping a strong connection alive for today's youth and for future generations," said the governor general in the message.

"Culture is a great way to bring people together and share very different artistic talents," said Chinese Ambassador Lu Shumin at a reception before the show. "It all adds up to a better world, not just for any one country in particular." he said.

At 90 years old, Tsin Van, a former newspaper photographer, obviously enjoyed the show. "Tonight was fantastic. I've been in this country 62 years, and to see the traditional Chinese performers with the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra -- it's the greatest thing."

The China Broadcasting Performing Arts Troupe, which is on a six-city tour of Canada from Feb. 14 to 28, has been to Vancouver, Montreal, Calgary and Toronto. Edmonton will be its last stop.

Source: Xinhua



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