Opening Ceremony of I SING BEIJING - Hanyu Academy of Vocal Arts Grandly Held
August 8th, 2012 - The Opening Ceremony of I SING BEIJING - Hanyu Academy of Vocal Arts was grandly held at Hanban/Confucius Institute Headquarters.
It’s a brand new Chinese education program for international young vocalists hosted by Hanban/Confucius Institute Headquarters to achieve a dynamic integration between Chinese learning and vocal arts through singing Chinese opera in Chinese by foreign vocalists, so as to further stimulate their Chinese learning enthusiasm and promote Chinese culture to go global. The project is undertaken by the Asian American Performing Arts and Culture Center and University of International Business and Economics.
Since it was set up in 2011, I SING BEIJING - Hanyu Academy of Vocal Arts has been highly valued and recognized by people from all segments of the society both at home and broad. Since the second I SING BEIJING was launched in January 2012, vocalists from over a dozen of countries have actively applied for it and after rounds of rigid selections in 4 months, 21 young vocalists from 6 countries, including the United States, Canada, Italy, Mexico, the United Kingdom and Guatemala stood out from the crowd, with many of them being award winners of international vocalist competitions and performers at opera houses in the West. Starting from July 28, they will gather together with 10 outstanding Chinese vocalists who have undergone strict selection for five-week long training on Chinese language, Chinese and western opera performance, singing Chinese modern opera in Chinese. Nine experts delivering lecturers are all world-renowned opera and vocal music directors, including famous director Mr. Clyde McPhatter, famous conductor Paul Nadler of the Metropolitan Opera House, New York, Ms. Zhu Ailan, expert of China Central Conservatory of Music, Ms. Katherine Chu, assistant conductor at the Metropolitan Opera House, New York for many years, current music assistant and choral conductor of Seiji Ozawa Ongaku-juku, Japan, and Mr. Tian Haojiang, famous opera performing artist living in America as the art director and chief director of the Program.
Many of the international vocalists come to China for the first time. They will receive internationally advanced strict training in a cross-cultural environment with their Chinese peers. The courses cover Chinese dialogue, articulation of singing in Chinese, singing China’s modern operas and western classics, opera performance, history and literature of both China and the West, and musical culture course. Hanban also arranges colorful lectures on Chinese culture and cultural experience activities.
I SING BEIJING - Hanyu Academy of Vocal Arts is expected to hold I SING BEIJING Concert of Famous Operas and Songs at the National Centre for the Performing Arts on August 28, 2012. By then, vocalists from the West will sing excerpts of China’s modern opera, excellent art songs in Chinese and perform classic parts of western opera with Chinese vocalists, offering the opportunity for the audience to listen to Chinese songs enchantingly and passionately sung by foreign vocalists and appreciate the artistic charisma of famous operas and songs of both China and the West. In addition, vocalists will be on a performance tour at Renmin University of China and University of International Business and Economics, launching their first dialogue and communication with teachers and students of universities via singing.
I SING BEIJING - Hanyu Academy of Vocal Arts is planned to host the first performance at Lincoln Center, New York in February 2013 and will join hands with Confucius Institutes to stimulate foreign students’ enthusiasm for learning Chinese and develop a novel form for learning Chinese and understanding Chinese culture.In order to enrich the contents of international Chinese education, promote Chinese culture to go global, Hanban/Confucius Institute Headquarters initiated I SING BEIJING - Hanyu Academy of Vocal Arts in 2011. Over 20 young vocalists from 8 countries including the United States and Italy outperformed more than 200 applicants worldwide and received 30-day intensive training on Chinese language and singing Chinese songs and held the first concert at the Concert hall of the National Centre for the Performing Arts. The vocalists demonstrated what they’ve learned in Beijing in high spirits, and with authentic Chinese and exquisite singing skills and performed excerpts from the “White-Haired Girl”, the “Yellow River Cantata”, “Husband and Wife Learning Words” among other popular Chinese modern operas, receiving high acclaim and appraisal from all walks of life both at home and abroad. Both domestic and overseas spectators expressed their excitement with such words as “unique, the highest standard and very exceptional” and believed I SING BEIJING - Hanyu Academy of Vocal Arts had satisfactorily answered the question that how shall the language and culture of a country be demonstrated and transmitted to the world. Mr. Alistair M. Michie, Secretary General of the 48 Group Club, praised the concert as “a perfect marriage between Chinese learning and performing arts of western opera, full of seamless integration between Chinese and foreign culture. It’s heart shaking and highly influential. It’s the most exciting music experience in my life!” Mr. Geen Block, President of University of California, Los Angeles, Mr. Esteban Morcillo, President of University of Valencia, Spain, Professor Iskender Isamidinov, President of Kyrgyz National University, Mr. Chang Hsin-kang, former President of City University of Hong Kong, and other university presidents spoke highly of the concert which is featured by an amazing combination of China and the West in terms of artistic materials and a unique rendering of Chinese opera by foreign performers. It could be dubbed as a groundbreaking innovation in artistic integration and a successful attempt of Confucius Institutes at moving forward cultural exchanges with language teaching and enriching language teaching with cultural exchanges. The performance vividly and perfectly demonstrated Chinese and foreign operas. It’s unique, influential and compelling that foreign vocalists speak and sing in Chinese. Many Chinese and foreign directors of Confucius Institutes excitedly wrote poems to praise this concert on the scene: “music builds a cultural bridge, Confucius Institutes worldwide write splendid annals of China.” Prof. Hsin Shih-Chang of Graduate Institute of Teaching Chinese as a Second Language at National Taiwan Normal University acclaimed that the concert is a role model of cross cultural exchanges and an elegant way of transmitting Chinese language. Chris, Director of Chinese Program of US Asia Society believed that “the concert is very creative and a new mark that Chinese is becoming the carrier of world language and culture over time. We shall let youngsters worldwide recognize that learning Chinese is not just to understand Chinese culture, but also to open a wider door for their future. Leaders of the National Centre for the Performing Arts emphasized that “the concert brings Chinese cultural transmission to such a high level. It’s amazing with immeasurable influence!”
Tens of domestic and overseas mainstream media actively covered and made comments on the concert. BBC reported that “I SING BEIJING has enabled foreign vocalists to learn Chinese and sing Chinese modern opera and built a bridge between China and the United States, the two vastly different countries yet with equally great impact on the world in the 21st century”; Associated Press carried a long article named A New Language for Western Opera: Chinese. Roughly 1,200 newspapers worldwide reprinted the abovementioned reports.