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A feast of Culture

ICE    Public:ICE    Datetime:2012-5-22
LIU Zaifu, YI Zhongtian, Li Ao, LI Yuanzhe and 6 other Nobel Prize winners, attended the 90th Anniversary celebrations of Xiamen University, They are expected to at which they gave enlightening talks on current issues in their fields.In addition, a number of arts events were held, including a performance of ´The Diary of Anne Frank´ by the Beijing People´s Art Theatre, a Peking Opera performed by the China National Peking Opera Company, a performance of the ´Self Reliance Symphony´, and a gala concert given by members of the university, as well as performances of local Gaojia and Gezai Operas and a programme of music of the Dong minority.

The Diary of Anne Frank
The Diary of Anne Frank was one of the series of cultural events put on as part of the celebrations of the 90th Anniversary of Xiamen University. It was performed by the Beijing People´s Art Theatre under the direction of the young dramatist Wu Zhuhong on March 30th.
The classic play is based on events in the diary kept by the 13 year-old Anne Frank during the Second World War, when she and her family lived in hiding in hidden rooms in her father´s office building for two years in order to avoid capture by the Nazis. They were eventually discovered in 1944, and Anne and all her family apart from her father died in concentration camp. Her father later recovered the diary, and it was published in Dutch in 1947, and in English under the title of Diary of a Young Girl in 1952. It has been translated into 60 languages, and was dramatised for the stage as The Diary of Anne Frank in 1957, and filmed in 1959.
Anne Frank´s tale of courage and optimism is regarded as one of the canonical writings of the 20th Century, and has been an inspiration to people ever since, including to the capacity audience in the Jiannan Hall.
The performance given by the Beijing People´s Arts Theatre was enthusiastically and emotionally received. Anne´s closing speech in the play, ´I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are really good at heart and I simply can´t build my hopes on a foundation of confusion, misery, and death...and yet...I think...this cruelty will end, and that peace and tranquility will return again.´ moved many of the audience to tears. One said ´Anne brought a message of hope to mankind.´ Another student, who had had to stand in the aisle throughout the play, unable to hold back her tears, said ´It has changed my attitude towards life. I think we should be happy and optimistic about life, looking for good. What I thought of as hardships that I have had to face in my life up to now are nothing compared to what Anne had to cope with.´

Peking Opera: quintessential China
A wonderful performance of Peking Opera was put on in the Jiannan Auditorium as part of the 90th Anniversary Celebrations by a troupe of artists from the China National Peking Opera Company, including Yu Kuizhi, Li Shengsu and Jiang Qihu.
Deputy Chair of Xiamen University, Professor Chen Liwen, welcomed the members of the China National Peking Opera Company. She said that Peking Opera, with its profound cultural content, was the quintessence of our nation and that young people would benefit greatly by learning to appreciate it. She continued that, ever since its foundation, the mission and conscious pursuit of Xiamen University had been the promotion of global culture and the cultural development of our nation and its peoples.
The evening opened with the performance of highlights from the opera Presenting the Pearl on the Rainbow Bridge performed by the excellent young actress, Pan Yuejiao, and the national first-class actor Zhang Wei. Pan Yuejiao, playing the fairy Ling Bo, impressed the audience particularly with her beauty and delightful singing. The fighting scenes in the excerpts presented a long series of humorous and breathtaking action, with the classic moves by the General played by Wu Sheng bringing the performance to a climax.
The artists then gave the audience a feast of Chinese history and culture presented in a folk art style, including such classic scenes as The Red Lantern, Combat on the Plains, Shajiabang and Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy.
The evening continued with a number of unaccompanied performances of classic songs like Suilin Pouch, Matchmaker for the No.1 Scholar, and Lu Bu and Diao Chan. Li Shengsu a national first-class actress gave a graceful and melodious performance of her signature arias from the operas Drunken Beauty and Travels of King Mu; then Yu Kuizhi performed selected scenes from The Wild Boar Forest and The Great Gathering of Heroes. Finally, he was joined by Li Shengsu in the The Fourth Son Visits his Mother bringing the evening to a climax.
Included in the evening were also four performances by students at Xiamen University, which met with an enthusiastic response from the audience. The two-hour gala of Peking Opera ended with long and rapturous applause. This evening, presented as a gift for the 90th Anniversary of Xiamen University, brought the members of the university the chance to enjoy the best of Peking Opera.

´Self Reliance Symphony´: highlight of an orchestral concert.
A symphonic concert given by the Xiamen Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of their Principal Conductor and Music Director, Professor Zheng Xiaoying in the concert hall of the Science and Art Centre on April 5th as part of the anniversary celebrations.
The highlight of the evening was the Self-reliance Symphony - ´Self Reliance´ being a reference to the University motto - which was composed for the occasion by the well-known Chinese composer, Huang Anlun. The symphony was in four movements, reflecting the motto - Pursue Excellence, Strive for Perfection - representing in turn aspiration, mission, splendour and perfection.
The first movement is an evocation of Tan Kah-Kee´s conceiving the aspiration of reforming society and bringing freedom an happiness to the people of his hometown and the founding Jimei School Village at the beginning of the 20th century. It opens with elegant themes from local Nanying music, recalling Tan Kah-Kee´s hometown. The middle section is passionate and powerful, representing the spirit of resilience and self-reliance, and the movement ends in a tranquil mode based on a local tune, symbolising the very source of the national spirit.
The second movement depicts Tan Kah-Kee´s belief in education as the foundation of a nation and his ultimate mission of establishing educational institutions. A captivating tune, representing his thoughts on national responsibility leads into fast and powerful waves of sound before the main theme returns as the climax of the movement.
The third movement portrays the charismatic ´Strength of the South´, the glorious history of Xiamen University and its great contribution to the rejuvenation of the country. The composer again uses themes based on Nanying tunes to express the University´s tireless pursuit of truth. The use of the harp returning to the original theme at the end creates a dream-like sense of splendour.
The finale is an ode, not only to the ´Strive for Perfection´ of the University´s motto, but also to the perseverance of our predecessors in the pursuit of the University´s goals. The movement´s resonant melody with 23 variations evokes the twisting complexity of the nation´s path to development and its glorious future.
The final notes died away leaving the audience deep in thought, once again touched to the core by the spirit of patriotism and loyalty to their University that inspired the music. The applause lasted long, not only for the performance but also for the conductor, the 83-year-old Zheng Xiaoying. The concert finished with the Xiamen University anthem, a call to the people of the University to continue to strive.

´Ode to Nanqiang´ eulogising the ´Strength of the South´
The ´Ode to Nanqiang´ Gala was held before an audience of distinguished guests and alumni from all over the world in the Jiannan Auditorium on April 6th as part of the celebrations of Xiamen University´s 90th Anniversary.
The concert began with a recital of the Ode to Nanqiang, a rousing poem written by Prof. Zhu Shuiyong to pay homage to Xiamen University´s rich history. It was followed by a spirited and joyful dance to the strains of ´Celebratory Movement´ performed enthusiastically by a large troupe, all dressed in red in celebration of the anniversary.
The evening continued with a variety of performances including poems, choruses, dramas, songs and dances, all recalling the history of Xiamen University from its foundation through the troubled years of the Anti-Japanese War, and a well-known story of President Wang Yanan and the Chemist Chen Jingrun. The evening also included a wonderful display of martial arts and acrobatics by World Champion Zhou Bin and Ni Zhenhua, and performances of J. S. Bach´s ´Prelude and Fugue in A minor´ and the famous Chinese song ´The moon represents my heart´ by pianist and 2006 Grammy Award winner Angelin Chang. The whole Gala concert left the audience filled with nostalgia and love for Xiamen University.
Once again, the gala evening focussed a spotlight on the themes of Xiamen University 90th Anniversary celebrations - ´Gratitude, Responsibility and Dedication´. Alumni from the world over joined in, singing out their close ties with their alma mater; a primary school student learning mandarin at an overseas Confucius Institute brought a drawing he had done expressing his best wishes for XMU; students at the Xiamen University Overseas Education College gave a rendition of ´Song for the World´ touching the audience deeply across racial and cultural boundaries. The evening ended with everyone singing ´Happy Birthday´ in honour of Xiamen University.

A festival of Chinese shows
As 2011 is also the 90th anniversary of the Department of Chinese Language and Literature, the department laid on a season of operas, plays and films under the title, ´A festival of Chinese shows´.
The festival of Chinese shows opened on April 28th and lasted 12 days. The performances included 8 great plays created by students, among them Oriental Cube by senior students, and two original creations by sophomores, and Stockholm. There were also performances of a translation of Our Town by Thornton Wilder, and classic campus play Day Rental. The festival also included special performances of original dramas and operas exploring different issues affecting personal growth, such as ideals versus reality, restrictions versus freedom, amenability versus resolution and love versus duty, raising the audience´s perception of the true meaning of life even while giving them the opportunity to appreciate national art-forms.
The 12-day festival drew in huge audiences of students, alumni and members of the public to the Jiannan Auditorium, many of whom went on to enquire about further events. It also attracted the attention of the press. The festival has exerted a continuing, far-reaching influence, and it seems likely that it will probably become a new tradition on the Xiamen University campus.
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