|Consul General Hong Lei Attended 2018 Chicago Happy Chinese New Year Concert|
On February 17, 2018, the second day of the Chinese New Year of the Dog, Chicago Symphony Orchestra Center hosted a 2018 Chicago Happy Chinese New Year Concert. Consul General Hong Lei, Party Secretary of the China Arts and Entertainment Group Li Jinsheng, Consul Zhang Min of Cultural Affairs, CEO of Choose Chicago David Whitaker, Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association Life Trustee Ling Markovits, and 2,300 guests from all walks of life attended the concert.
In his address, Consul General Hong Lei extended warm new year greetings to the audience and welcome to the visiting Chongqing Sichuan Opera Theatre and the Zhejiang Symphony Orchestra that brought their performances to Chicago. Consul General Hong Lei also expressed sincere gratitude to Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Choose Chicago for organizing the event.
Consul General Hong Lei said that by jointly staging a Chinese New Year concert today, the Chongqing Sichuan Opera Theatre and the Zhejiang Symphony Orchestra has brought distinctive Chinese culture to the audience in Chicago. The audience can not only enjoy the miraculous and engaging Sichuan Opera, but can also appreciate China’s beauty through the music performed by Zhejiang Symphony Orchestra.
Consul General Hong Lei said that the relationship between China and the US is the most important bilateral relationship in today’s world. People-to-people exchanges form an important bedrock for us to build mutual trust and understanding. The Spring Festival is the most important traditional festival for the Chinese people, carrying more than 4,000 years of history and rich cultural connotations. Through this Chinese New Year Concert, we will find that people in China and the United States share the same desire and pursuit for a better life. We hope that cultural exchanges will help us find our broad commonalities and enable us to enhance mutual understanding, deepen mutual trust, promote bilateral cooperation and move forward the healthy and stable development of Sino-US relations.
In her speech, Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association Life Trustee Ling Markovits said that the Chicago Symphony Orchestra was honored to invite such outstanding troupes as the Chongqing Sichuan Opera Theatre and the Zhejiang Symphony Orchestra to perform at this Happy Chinese New Year Concert and share the festivity of the Spring Festival with Chicago music lovers and audience. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra is willing to engage in active exchanges and cooperation with China, making greater contributions to the people-to-people exchanges between the two countries.
The Concert is divided into two halves. During the first half, the Chongqing Sichuan Opera Theatre performed segments of Sichuan operas, including "Tryst", "Taming of the Gambler", "Palace of Eternal Life", and "Jin Shan Temple". The exquisite performances of the artists gave the audience a glance into the mysterious, fantastic and elegant artistic style of Sichuan opera, an art form that has more than 300 years of history. The gorgeous costumes, melodious songs, and the enchanting art of face changing and fire-breathing deeply impressed the audience, winning rounds of cheers and applause.
During the second half, the Zhejiang Symphony Orchestra performed Chinese folk music in the form of symphony, an appealing combination of Chinese and Western music genres. The Orchestra played several pieces of music especially composed for this concert, including “Five Traditional Chinese Opera Works”, “Three Romances”, “Crossing the River”, and “Heavenly Landscape of Zhejiang” with distinctive Zhejiang style. The Orchestra’s superb performance won rounds of long-lasting cheers from the audience.
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Chinese New Year Concert is an important component of Chicago's annual "Happy Chinese New Year" celebration. The annual celebration has been running for four consecutive years since 2015. After the concert, Consul General Hong Lei and other guests received a joint interview from CGTN, Xinhua News Agency and local media.