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September 1, 2009

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New season lights up Grand Theater

THE new season of Shanghai Grand Theater is underway and the program calls for almost 600 concerts, ballets, dance performances, dramas and traditional Chinese operas.

The 2009-10 season began last Thursday with "Swan Lake" by Shanghai Ballet Co. It marked the 11th anniversary of the theater.

The season will feature four editions of the classic "Swan Lake." They include performances by San Francisco Ballet Co this month, then two groups from Chelyabinsk State Academic Opera and Ballet Theater of M.I. Glinka and National Academic Bolshoi Ballet Theater of Belarus.

The ballet "Snow White" by Ballet Preljocaj from France will premiere in Asia at the theater in May, 2010. The contemporary ballet is based on the Grimm Brothers' fairytale and the score is taken from Mahler symphonies.

Modern dance offerings include "Riverdance," "Notre Dame de Paris" and "Tales of Two Cities."

The theater continues its tradition of world-renowned orchestra concerts and performances of great international soloists. They include Riccardo Chailly conducting the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, violinist Gil Shanham and pianist Helene Grimaud.

To celebrate China's 60th anniversary and the Expo Shanghai, about 120 performances will be presented in the SGT Opera Festival, Dance Festival, Peking-Kunqu Opera Festival and Zhejiang Province Arts Festival.

Chinese traditional operas like the Peking Opera "Civet - A Substitute for the Prince," the Kunqu Opera "Palace of Eternity" and "The Peony Pavillion" will be staged.

"In these festivals we engage the audience in the intensity of great performances in collaboration with China's prominent performing arts organizations," says Zhang Zhe, president of Shanghai Grand Theater.

"We will host these festivals as regular events in our seasons to come and hope they will become leading cultural brands of the city."

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