Concert held in New Zealand featuring Chinese cultural elements

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A concert held at Auckland Town Hall on Thursday night impressed the New Zealand audience with classic Chinese musical works.

The "East meets West" orchestral concert featured the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra and its Assistant Conductor-In-Residence Leonard Weiss, New Zealand soprano Christina Ellison and Chinese tenor Jiang Bo from the New Zealand Opera, and Chinese pianist Liu Jian.

Several traditional Chinese musical works were presented, including The Torch Festival in the fourth movement of the orchestral suite Poems of Yunnan by Chinese composer Wang Xilin and the folk song-themed orchestral suite Chinese Sights and Sounds composed by Bao Yuankai. The concert culminated in the Piano Concerto Yellow River with applause from the audience.

At the concert, soprano Christina Ellison performed the New Zealand traditional Maori song Pokarekara Ana, and a Chinese song The Song of Yangtze River, and Sleepless Tonight. She said it took her several months to prepare the Chinese songs. "It's a wonderful opportunity for me to perform the Chinese songs. The audience were clapping their hands the moment I started singing. It feels great," said Ellison.

Conductor Leonard Weiss enjoyed the performance and the interaction with the audience. He said he would love to participate in more such music exchanges.

"The music we played today included both New Zealand contemporary music pieces and Chinese music. I went to China a few years ago, and I understand some musical elements and instruments have been there for several thousand years. I would love more opportunities like this to work on Chinese music pieces," said Weiss.

Jiang was very proud to be on the stage. "I am privileged and looking forward to upcoming shows," said Jiang.

New Zealander Galina May is an enthusiastic music lover. She told Xinhua that the concert had "melted her heart."

Combining elements from traditional Chinese instruments with an orchestra setting was so beautiful and unique.

"New Zealand definitely should welcome more Chinese music works and concerts like today's," said May.

Chinese Consul-General in Auckland Ruan Ping said in his written statement to the concert that it had created another "first" in the history of bilateral relations between China and New Zealand.

The concert is one of a series of activities marking the 50th anniversary of the New Zealand-China diplomatic ties.

The concert will be on stage at Auckland Town Hall for two days before starting its tour in Wellington.

The concert is part of "Image China," a cultural exchange initiative presented by China Arts and Entertainment Group, which aims to introduce traditional and contemporary Chinese performing arts to audiences worldwide. 

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