The Confucius Classroom at the Convitto Nazionale Vittorio Emanuele II, Roma, holds a concert to celebrate the Year of the Monkey

[Source]    Confucius Institute at the University of Rome [Time]    2016-03-18 13:12:19 

On February 2nd (local time), the Confucius Classroom at the Convitto Nazionale Vittorio Emanuele II, Roma, (established by the Confucius Institute at the University of Rome) held a concert to celebrate the Chinese Year of the Monkey. In attendance were Angelino Alfano, Minister of the Interior; Andrea Perugini, Special Envoy of the Minister of Foreign Affairs; Luigi Benedetti, Minister Extraordinary of the Minister of Education; Carlo Musto D’Amore, Director-General of the University of Rome; Li Ruiyu, Chinese Ambassador to Italy; and many other honored guests, along with teachers, students and parents from the Vittorio Emanuele school. In total, an audience of over 500 were present to enjoy this feast of cultural entertainment.

Children singing nursery rhymes

The concert began with a performance of traditional children’s songs from grade 1 students. This was followed by a skit from grade 2 pupils entitled The New Travels of Marco Polo, where they expressed their curiosity towards all things Chinese with an imaginary journey down the Silk Road. Then came grade 3 students, whose performance of the classic Monkey Subdues the White-Bone Demon, brought a fresh vivacity to the well-known Chinese tale. Their lively and lifelike portrayal of the characters and natural use of Chinese left both the Chinese and Italian sections of the audience in stitches. Not to be outdone, grade 4 students put on a performance of traditional Chinese crosstalk tongue-twisters, which was especially impressive given the high standards crosstalk always sets for verbal dexterity and emotional expression. Their blessings for the New Year, which their performance included, really made an emotional connection with the Chinese members of the audience. Finally, the cultural distance between the countries was shortened even closer by solo performances of Wishing We Last Forever and Love Can, to the accompaniment of piano and violin by the students themselves.

A performance of the skit The New Travels of Marco Polo

A performance of the classic tale Monkey Subdues the White-Bone Demon

A solo performance on the guitar of Love Can, a song by the famous Taiwanese singer David Tao

In his speech, Special Envoy Andrea Perugini mentioned how, twenty years ago, when he was undertaking diplomatic work in China, it struck him how Chinese people knew a lot about Italian culture, but Italians knew relatively little about Chinese culture. Therefore seeing for the first time this many Italian students speaking fluent Chinese and performing in the language touched him deeply and made him very proud. Meanwhile, Minister Extraordinary Gianluigi Benedetti looked back over the Chinese projects set up by the Convitto Nazionale Vittorio Emanuele II – Roma, and gave thanks to the Chinese Embassy, Confucius Institute Headquarters and the Confucius Institute at the University of Rome for their support. He also noted that the Ministry of Education would be devoting energy towards designing a Chinese curriculum and promoting Chinese as a compulsory language in the Italian education system.

Luigi Benedetti, Minister Extraordinary of the Minister of Education, delivering a speech

During his speech, Minister of the Interior, Agelino Alfano, said that the teaching of Chinese was becoming an ever more important priority for Italy, and that the Chinese department at the Vittorio Emanuele II school stood at the forefront of innovation in the internationalization of the Italian education system. Furthermore, he said how the evening’s blessings for the Chinese New Year expressed everyone’s hope for a more harmonious, free and stable world.

Chinese Ambassador Li Ruiyu expressed his pleasure at the children’s performances and praised the ever-increasing Chinese ability of the students. He also pointed out how there were more and more opportunities for teaching Chinese in Italy, and expressed his hope that the continuing development of Chinese education in the country will produce many more young ambassadors for Sino-Italian friendship and bring more students to China for further study.

The audience watching the performances attentively

The Chinese New Year concert has become an important annual event for cementing bonds of friendship and culture between Italy and China. Many parents and guests said this was their first time attending any sort of Chinese New Year celebrations, and how it was a brilliant and unforgettable experience.

Story by: Chen Chen, Zhuang Yi

Pictures by: Liu Qinghui