Feature: Algiers lights up with Sino-Algerian Symphony Ensemble

  • World
  • Saturday, 18 May 2024

ALGIERS, May 17 (Xinhua) -- With a grand opening concert jointly presented by a local ensemble and a guest band from China's Suzhou city, the 13th International Cultural Festival of Symphonic Music opened Thursday night, showcasing a plethora of symphony orchestras and singers from 13 countries.

The opening night was a resounding success, leaving audiences eager for more performances and reinforcing the idea that music transcends boundaries and brings people together.

"Together, we presented a wonderful and diverse concert to the local audience in Algeria," said Chen Xieyang, the 85-year-old conductor and music director of the Suzhou Symphony Orchestra.

Recalling the first collaboration with the Algiers Opera Symphonic Orchestra, Chen said some challenges during rehearsals "were soon overcome with the joint efforts of all the performers, and the musicians from both sides quickly developed a tacit understanding."

Under the alternating direction of Chen and Algerian conductor Lotfi Saidi, musicians from both ensembles delighted a large audience with renowned pieces.

"The repertoire was rich in content and form, including world-famous works, classics from both countries and Algerian folk music, which fully demonstrated that good music has no 'barriers' and can touch everyone," he noted.

The music festival will run until May 22, promising a vibrant celebration of classical music. With China being this year's guest of honor, the event marked a significant milestone in cultural exchange between the two countries.

Soraya Mouloudji, Algerian Minister of Culture and Arts, told the opening that the music festival has become "an international event that brings together great names in universal music."

At the opening, the two orchestras brought to life works by Georges Bizet, an adaptation of Carl Orff's "Carmina Burana," Tchaikovsky, and Alexander Borodin's "Polovtsian Dances," all in a harmonious atmosphere.

The Chinese soprano Wen Muya and tenor Zhang Tong enchanted the audience with their solo and duet performances. The event was further enriched by the participation of the Polyphonic Choir of Algiers and Abbes Righi, a prominent singer of Malouf, an Andalusian classical music genre based in the eastern Algerian province of Constantine. The young Algerian soprano Serine Khiari showcased her melodic solo, earning well-deserved applause from the audience.

One of the highlights of the evening was the "Dance of the Yao People" from the Chinese musical repertoire, which was performed by Algerian musicians and reflected the deep-rooted friendship between China and Algeria.

The remarkable collaboration between the Chinese and Algerian orchestras, along with 40 members of the Polyphonic Choir of Algiers, brought forth a sublime performance, said Saidi, adding that it was a unique chance to benefit from the talent and expertise of his Chinese counterpart.

The music hall echoed with waves of applause and heartfelt reactions as the performances unfolded, leaving an indelible impression on almost every audience.

Sara Khellouf, a 25-year-old student and classical music enthusiast, attended the concert with her parents and younger sister. After the opening, she told Xinhua reporter that she was "very happy to see the performance of the Chinese Soprano and Tenor. It was impressive, and I look forward to attending the rest of the festival."

Omar Bassem, a 28-year-old teacher who attended last year's festival, shared his enthusiasm for this year's event, saying, "The collaboration between the orchestras of Algeria and China was wonderful. I particularly enjoyed how some Algerian folkloric songs were played."

"I hope to see more of such collaboration," said Bassem.

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