At the Rome Opera House, the Italian capital’s most important music hall, the 1,600-seat hall was almost full and several of the pieces performed drew long applause.
The program is a centerpiece of the China-Italy Year of Culture and Tourism, with seven performances by Italian and Chinese composers and a focus on young musicians.
The event was part of the opera’s first full season at its home venue since it was closed for the coronavirus pandemic. Other performances since 2020 had taken place in outdoor venues.
The nearly two-hour selection, led by Qian Junping, opened with a performance of “Jasmine Flower” from Italian composer Giacomo Puccini’s opera Turandot. “Nessun dorma” (No one will sleep) from the same opera was also performed towards the end of the evening.
Another highlight was the main theme from the Oscar-winning film Cinema Paradiso, written by Italian composer and conductor Ennio Morricone.
Wang Bingbing, a soprano who wore a long white dress for a spotlight performance in “Pamir, My Beautiful Hometown,” received a round of applause, as did Lu Wei, the violin soloist of “The Butterfly Lovers,” the high-profile premiere performance after intermission.
Li La was the cello soloist for “Vivendo il sogno” (Living the Dream), while Italian tenor Gianluca Sciarpelletti was the vocal soloist for Puccini’s “Nessun dorma.”
The audience was a mix of Italians, Chinese nationals and other nationalities. Many spoke of the importance of cultural exchanges between Italy and China.
“There was such a contrast in styles that it made the concert very dramatic, with some interesting highs and lows,” communications consultant Marianna D’Alessio said in an interview.
“Italy and China have long-standing trade relations and in other fields, including art and culture,” Marco Zhou, a 49-year-old restaurateur from Rome, told Xinhua News Agency. from Shanghai.
“An event like this can only strengthen and deepen those bonds.”
The event was part of a larger “Image China” initiative that aims to raise awareness of Chinese music.