|The Beijing Music Festival events in the fancy landmark venue Sanlitun Village are meant to engage people from different walks of life. (Source: China Daily/Jiang Dong)|
by Chen Jie
BEIJING, Oct. 12 (Xinhuanet) -- The Beijing Music Festival heads to the city's hip Sanlitun district to make it more accessible to the masses. Chen Jie reports.
This is the first time I'm writing a preview of the Beijing Music Festival (BMF) after it has kicked off since I first covered the annual event in the fall of 2000, two years after it was inaugurated. And this year, a big and worthwhile change has taken place after the initial performances. The festival opened on Tuesday at the Poly Theater with a concert by the 155-year-old Halle Orchestra from Manchester that featured the Russian violinist Maxim Vengerov and South Korean soprano Sumi Jo. It was a good opening. Vengerov played Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto in D Major and reaffirmed his rank among the world's best violinists, while Jo's operatic arias demonstrated she deserves her reputation as Asia's premier coloratura soprano.
Halle - one of the world's oldest orchestras - performed the following day at the Forbidden City Concert Hall, under the baton of Sir Mark Elder.
The concert highlighted British classics, including Elgar's Symphony No 1 in A Flat Major - a work Halle premiered in 1908.
Jo teamed up with the China Philharmonic Orchestra to perform opera and other pieces on Thursday.
They've all been impressive performances, as have all the concerts the BMF has presented over the past 14 years. Every year, the previews and reviews I've written have retained the same themes - world-class orchestras, big-name virtuosos and celebrated works.
But what I really anticipate seeing and highly recommend starts on Saturday in Sanlitun Village.
That's right - Sanlitun Village, the city's trendy and fancy landmark venue, where luxury labels open flagship stores; designers give runway shows; the Apple Store is packed with hip customers; kids play in the fountain; and Cold Stone's ice cream mixes with Starbucks' aroma.
I asked BMF's program director Tu Song: "What is the biggest change this year?"
The clarinetist turned director said: "The change of location. We moved from the concert hall to dynamic Sanlitun."
I would answer my own questions with: "There has been an attitude shift."