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June 2, 2020

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A concert in the arms of nature

Early summer is meant to be the perfect time to enjoy sunshine and blossoming flowers, but the rain persisted on Saturday as the city’s orchestra and choir prepared to go on stage at Shanghai Chenshan Botanical Garden for the first outdoor musical concert since much of the world went into lockdown over the novel coronavirus pandemic.

That did not stop throngs of excited ticket holders from donning disposable raincoats in lieu of umbrellas — that would block the view for those behind — taking their wet seats for the first performance in the annual “Concert on the Green series.”

Celebrated Chinese conductor Xu Zhong performed Western and Chinese classics with the Shanghai Opera House Symphony Orchestra and the Shanghai Philharmonic Chorus, as well as some special guests.

Although the rain put some ticket holders off at the last minute, thousands still enjoyed the show online across multiple streaming platforms, including Bilibili and Kuaishou.

Livestreaming online became even more popular while Chinese chose to stay home during the epidemic — some are still choosing the safety of home over heading out to attend events with swarms of visitors.

That’s why livestreaming is an integral part of the ongoing Quality Life Week starting from the same day, which this concert series was part of. The week features dozens of shopping and entertainment events which guests can either attend in person, or appreciate online — either way, they can enjoy the entertainment and even make live purchases to be delivered right to their doors.

Luckily, this reporter enjoyed the first in this year’s concert in person, enjoying the sounds of some of Shanghai’s greatest musicians live.

The majestic concert took place at the botanical garden, a fitting location sprawled across two million square meters of Songjiang District. The garden features and conserves thousands of species of flora and fauna from eastern China, particularly those which are endangered.

Ode to Joy from Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in D-Minor, despite the downpour, was an appropriate accompaniment to the expanse of nature that can be found hidden away in one of the world’s most populated cities.


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