The concert hall comes alive to the sound of music
Shanghai’s iconic 92-year-old concert hall is set to return on July 8, with a busy reopening day filled with events and performances from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., followed by numerous concerts, exhibitions and mini festivals throughout the summer.
Tickets and program details have just been posted on its official website, available in English.
The reopening on July 8 will begin at 10 a.m., with the highly acclaimed immersive exhibition of traditional Chinese instruments. The exhibition invites visitors to explore the rich history, legends and contemporary experimentations of iconic instruments through multimedia installations and interactive games. The exhibition has been interrupted due to the confinement, and will now be extended to end on August 7.
The hall, built as a cinema in 1930, was never just a performance hall, but also admired for its unique architecture and fascinating history.
It is a rare surviving example of a Western Classical building designed by Chinese architects in Old Shanghai – by first-generation Chinese modern architects Fan Wenzhao and Zhao Shen. Both changed to other styles soon after completing the original Nanking Theatre.
The reopening day will also offer a tour of the concert hall at 2 p.m. Visitors can appreciate the distinct design of its many rooms and explore the stories behind the huge dome elegantly hued in gold and ocean blue, the 16 classical Corinthian columns and the symbolic marble staircase, among others. Four of these tours are available in July.
The concert hall’s first post-lockdown live concert will come with the much-delayed springtime romance in the cross-border multimedia concert “Cape Jasamine Blossom.”
The show, created by the Shanghai Chinese Orchestra, features 12 of its top young musicians performing with romantic multimedia visuals.
The orchestra will also return to the concert hall with an upgrade of its most popular concert, “Traditional Music Rises from the Sea Horizon.”
Launched in 2016, it was played over 80 times in over 30 cities before getting an upgrade and became the concert hall’s residency show last year.
The multimedia concert takes full advantage of the hall’s upgraded facilities after a makeover in 2019 and incorporates the spirit or imagery of Chinese culture into every piece of the repertoire.
The opening track “Water” is inspired by the philosophy “the highest excellence is to be like water”, and is performed with the hanging drum and the chiba. This centuries-old Chinese philosophy is also the inspiration of Bruce Lee, who said, “Be water, my friend.”
The UFO-shaped hanging drum is a relatively new instrument created in 2000 in Switzerland, while the chiba is a blown vertical flute, one of the oldest Chinese wind instruments and which was played at the royal court of the Tang dynasty (AD 618- 907).
The fifth season of Concert Hall’s “Infinity,” originally slated for March, will also return in July. It offers a series of cross-border concerts by refreshing young artists. It will start with the concert of the electronic music duo Frankfurt Helmet “Diving into Boundaries”. The duo will collaborate with visual artist bing to create an immersive audiovisual space in the historic music hall.
Another “infinity” concert features bamboo flute performer Zhang Weiben, who will explore different ways the traditional Chinese flute and chiba can collaborate with Western cello and piano.
The concert hall’s mini music festival will also be back in August, between the 12th and 14th, with a Bach theme. Featuring Germany-based violinist Ning Feng, the series will include three Bach concerts and three Bach lectures.
The concert hall is also collaborating with the Shanghai Opera to launch a series of concert versions of operatic performances, starting with “La Dame aux Camelias” on July 24. Two operas will be performed in concert version each month from August.