Feature: "East Meets West" concert featuring Chinese, Italian compositions held in Rome

ROME, June 26 (Xinhua) -- A special one-off "East Meets West" classical music concert was held Saturday evening at Rome's iconic opera house, with Chinese and Italian musicians enthralling the audience with an impressive performance.

At the Rome Opera House, the most important music hall in the Italian capital, the 1,600-seat venue was mostly full, and several of the pieces performed attracted extended rounds of applause.

The program is a centerpiece of the China-Italy Year of Culture and Tourism, featuring seven performances from both Italian and Chinese composers and focusing on young musicians.

The event was part of the first full season of the opera house in its home facility since it closed for the coronavirus pandemic. Other performances since 2020 had been held in outdoor venues.

The nearly two-hour selection, conducted by Qian Junping, got underway with a performance of "Jasmine Flower" from Italian composer Giacomo Puccini's opera Turandot. "Nessun dorma" (None shall sleep) from the same opera was also played near the end of the evening.

The main theme from the Oscar-winning film "Cinema Paradiso," written by Italian composer and conductor Ennio Morricone, was another highlight.

Wang Bing Bing, a soprano who wore a long, white dress for spotlight performance in "Pamir, my beautiful hometown," received a strong round of applause, as did Lu Wei, the violin soloist in "The Butterfly Lovers," the high-profile first performance after intermission.

Li La was the cello soloist for "Vivendo il sogno" (Living the dream), while Italian tenor Gianluca Sciarpelletti was the voice soloist for Puccini's "Nessun dorma."

The audience was a mix of Italians, Chinese nationals, and other nationalities. Several spoke about the importance of cultural exchanges between Italy and China.

"There was such a contrast in styles that it made the concert seem very dramatic, with interesting highs and lows," Marianna D'Alessio, a communications consultant, said in an interview. "The musicians involved were very talented as well."

"Italy and China have long ties commercially and in other areas, including art and culture," Marco Zhou, a 49-year-old Rome-based restaurant owner who originally hails from Shanghai, told Xinhua. "An event like this can only make those ties stronger and deeper."

The "East Meets West" event was part of a broad "Image China" initiative that aims to increase awareness of both traditional and contemporary music from China.

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