Chinese orchestra to perform for Pope

By Xinhua,

Beijing : China Philharmonic Orchestra (CPO) will perform Wednesday for Pope Benedict XVI at the Paul VI Audience Hall in the Vatican City, the China Daily reported Monday.

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The Beijing-based CPO, founded in 2000, arrived in Rome Sunday, on a performing tour of three European cities, the first leg of which is the Vatican.

Yu Long, the artistic director, will conduct the orchestra with Mozart’s Requiem as the start, and the well-known Chinese folk song Jasmine Flower as the grand finale, the newspaper added.

The Shanghai Opera House chorus will accompany the orchestra.

“It is a people-to-people exchange event through culture and art,” a Chinese government official said.

“Music is a universal language that can bring together people from different countries, and from different religious and cultural backgrounds. We hope the concert will be a big success,” he said.

The Vatican Radio said: “Music confirms its role as a language and the most precious medium for dialogue among peoples and cultures.”

Shanghai-born and German-trained conductor Yu, 44, likened the orchestra’s visit to “ping pong diplomacy”, referring to the visit by the American table tennis players to China in 1971, which opened the door to China-US exchanges.

The philharmonic has performed Mozart’s Requiem at St Joseph’s Church (Dongtang Cathedral) in Beijing two years ago.

On April 8, the orchestra and Shanghai Opera House chorus presented the same concert at St Ignatius Cathedral in Shanghai to an audience of more than 1,000, to mark the church’s 400th anniversary.

“That opened up this kind of territory,” Yu said, adding that such a concert provides a common vehicle for promoting dialogue and peace.