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May 29, 2010

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Norway's musical 'high'

THE Scandinavian whirlwind swept the World Expo site yesterday.

Norway's National Pavilion Day featured a gala of entertainment by world famous artists.

Crown Prince of Norway Haakon Magnus opened the celebration yesterday morning and toured the Expo site after giving a speech on the theme "Environment, Sustainability and Norway, Powered by Nature."

Other prominent guests included Norwegian Minister of Trade and Industry Trond Giske and Minister of Oil and Energy Terje Riis-Johansen.

"We are proud to present the best of Norwegian culture together with China's famous artists," said General Commissioner Arild Blixrud.

The star-studded performance list included Chinese musician Tan Dun, known for his innovative works using paper, water, stone and natural materials, the Irish-Norwegian duo Secret Garden, violin virtuoso Eldbjorg Hemsing, soprano Sissel Kyrkjebo and the Norwegian traditional dance group Frikar, among others.

During the evening show at the Expo Center, the highlight of the National Day, Tan released his new composition "The Love in China," performed by the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra, Trondheim Soloists and Hemsing.

The piece, a fusion of Chinese and Norwegian culture, was created last year and this was its debut public performance in China.

Though performed with Western instruments, there was a classic Peking Opera section, inspired by the early days when young Tan was working in a Peking Opera troupe.

The 35-minute musical item, divided into three movements, reflected three of life's different love stages: youth, middle age and old age.

In the first movement, the composer mixed the elements of Peking Opera and Rock 'n' Roll to express boldness and modernity.

The music switched to softness and even a little melancholy in the middle age section, while it was warm, quiet and reflective after moving into the last stage.

"Music itself is a dialogue between one and his soul and the great nature," Tan said. "It is just the same with the Norway Pavilion's theme of Powered by Nature."

The master even suggests that the audience select their favorite movement when listening to the music, a quick test to check their "age of love."

"Mine is still in the youth," he said proudly and jokingly.

Another highlight of the entertainment gala was Secret Garden's latest song "Powered by Nature," specially created for the Norway Pavilion. Last night's performance was its premiere.

"This is not a one-time engagement for Norway in China. It's long-term and aims at promoting even closer ties between two countries in fields of economy, politics and culture," said Norwegian Minister of Industry and Trade Trond Giske.

The pavilion was closed to the public for most of the day yesterday but opened at 7pm. Visitors were invited to experience the unique Norwegian Night with imagery of Norwegian nature and the Northern lights.


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