Taking Chinese notes to the world

(Xinhua) 09:03, March 02, 2022

BEIJING, March 1 (Xinhua) -- Looking at his audience, Liao Changyong, a famed globetrotting baritone, was nervous, a feeling he rarely experiences onstage.

"I'm not so accustomed to speaking compared to singing. So I'll try to speak as well as I sing," he said at a group session of the Shanghai delegation to the National People's Congress in March 2014, causing a ripple of laughter to erupt from his fellow deputies.

His nerves soon eased when President Xi Jinping, then a fellow deputy with the Shanghai delegation, said, "We're all deputies here, speak freely."

Reassured, Liao set the scene. "I really hope authorities can give more attention and support to 'The Spring River Flows East,' 'The Family' and 'Sunrise' which we're working on," said Liao, then vice president of the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, referring to the original operas the conservatory was producing.

"It's no easy job to put on three operas all at once," Xi chimed in.

"Yes, indeed. The financial pressure is high, too," Liao said, sparking another gale of laughter among the deputies.

Liao said he had a dream that Chinese works created by Chinese people would be in the repertoires of the world's major opera houses.

Xi encouraged Liao and his colleagues to go for their goal, and said that even though it may seem far, "If you stop thinking about it, you will never reach it."

During deliberations with fellow deputies, Xi emphasized the soft power of culture, which he said, represents the most underlying core of a country's composite strength. The president called for greater confidence in the Chinese culture.

"We must promote the traditional culture of our nation and search for our vigor in it," he said.

Just seven months later, "The Spring River Flows East" premiered at Shanghai International Arts Festival. In January 2017, "Tang Xianzu," another original opera by the Shanghai Conservatory of Music honoring its namesake legendary Chinese playwright -- with Liao playing the leading role -- premiered at the National Center for the Performing Arts, before going on a global tour.

Liao, now president of the conservatory, has kept Xi's words firmly in mind and put them into practice, as the conservatory has carried out international and domestic cooperation in the forms of competitions, publications and concerts, to promote fine traditional Chinese culture around the globe.

As for Xi, the role of Chinese culture on the world stage has never been far from his focus. At a meeting with China's literary and art circles in December last year, he stressed once again the importance of preserving the stance of Chinese culture and establishing a distinctive Chinese style and demeanor in world literature and art. 

(Web editor: Peng yukai, Liang Jun)


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