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Getting 30,000 singers on same page

OVER the past 70 years, the patriotic "Yellow River Cantata" has inspired generations of Chinese, and a grand chorus of 30,000 singers will perform the epic in September.

The performance at Shanghai Jiangwan Stadium on September 19 will mark the 70th anniversary of the cantata that was first performed in April 1939 in Yan'an, Shaanxi Province.

It is famous for its overlowing emotional force and was a rallying cry during the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1937-1945).

It was composed by Xian Xinghai and based on a poem by Guang Weiran.

Musicians and music lovers in China and abroad can apply to join the chorus until July 31, by calling 5870-7531 or logging on to

The performance will be broadcast live on Dragon TV. It will include other performances of the classic, such as piano concerto and dance.

Renowned artists will also participate. The TV station, part of Shanghai Media Group, will collaborate with TV stations in the Yellow River Basin in showing how the river has nurtured and influenced Chinese culture and arts.

The 5,460-kilometer-long Yellow River is known as China's "mother river," says Teng Junjie, vice president of Shanghai Media Group. "The chorus will be a good way to express our love for our country and confidence in the future."

In addition to memorizing the melody decades ago, the city's art troupes also continue to keep traditional arts alive.

The second season of the series "Made in Shanghai" opens next Thursday with a ballet by Ji Pingping and Wu Husheng at the Shanghai Grand Theater.

The series running through the year end features six performances by young artists covering traditional operas, ballet, folk music and comedy-drama. Artists include Wang Peiyu from Shanghai Peking Opera House and Yu Bin from Shanghai Kunqu Opera House.

The audience and critics can vote on their favorite series to be "the most popular young artist in 2009."

Performers will give lectures on traditional theater. The Art Channel will make a documentary on the series and present backstage stories.

The project has fostered 16 young performers such as Yueju Opera singer Wang Qing and pingtan (storytelling to music) artist Gao Bowen.

Peking Opera lovers this weekend can attend four performances at Yifu Theater by young artists in the Qi School created by master Zhou Xinfang.

After a year's special training in Qi style, about 20 students from the nation's opera schools and Peking Opera troupes will sing excerpts from master Zhou's repertoire. They include "Chasing Han Xin" and "Four Newly Appointed Officials."

The difficult-to-learn Qi style involves highly expressive singing, speaking and vivid acting and body movement. It requires singers to improve their comprehensive vocal and acting abilities.

"Shanghai is the birthplace of the distinctive Qi performing school," says Sun Chongliang, director of Shanghai Peking Opera House. "However, as so many older-generation artists have passed away, there are challenges in carrying on. We have the duty to promote this splendid art to young people."

Before each performance, Peking Opera artists will give a 15-minute talk about master Zhou.

"Made in Shanghai" series performances

Date: July 9 (ballet), July 30 (Shanghai farce), November 19 (Kunqu Opera), November 29 (Chinese folk dance and music), December 17 (Peking Opera), 7:30pm

Venue: Shanghai Grand Theater, 300 People's Ave

Tel: 6372-8702

Zhou Xinfang performing arts

Date: July 3, 7pm; July 4, 1:30pm, 7pm; July 5, 1:30pm

Venue: Yifu Theater, 701 Fuzhou Rd

Tickets: 30-280 yuan

Tel: 6322-5294, 5353-0054


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