Shanghai Cultural Week kicks off in San Francisco

Xinhua Updated:2019-02-03

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 31 (Xinhua) -- The 2019 "Happy Chinese New Year" Shanghai Cultural Week kicked off here Thursday, celebrating 40 years of diplomatic relations between China and the United States a few days ahead of China's Lunar New Year.

This is the first time that Shanghai has presented to people of the U.S. western coastal city a host of cultural events in the form of radio and TV productions, movies and sports activities since it established the sister city relationship with San Francisco 39 years ago.

The cultural week, which lasts from Thursday through Feb. 6, will give overseas Chinese and the U.S. audience in San Francisco an opportunity to feel the charm of the Shanghai-style culture.

They will be exposed to a variety of cultural masterpieces including movies, musical pieces, TV shows, documentaries, Peking Opera, Shanghai Opera, burlesque and other classical local operas, as well as sports activities.

As a key part of the weeklong cultural event, the Chinese delegation entertained the audience with a Dolby Atmos technology-powered 3D movie based on the classical Chinese Peking Opera of Cao Cao and Yang Xiu. This soul-stirring tragic story expounds the love-hate relationship between ruling warlord Cao Cao and his brilliant Imperial Chancellor Yang Xiu during the Three Kingdoms period in Chinese history about 1,800 years ago.

Peking Opera maestro Shang Changrong, who stars as Cao Cao in the movie, told Xinhua that the 3D Peking Opera movie, produced with state-of-the-art Dolby Atmos surround sound technology, will create for the audience a brand-new form of the artistic charm of Peking Opera as traditional Chinese theater.

"The movie-version Peking Opera is different from the traditional form of stage theater in that the character of Cao Cao was portrayed in an entirely new form of modern filming technology, which produced a more vivid, true-life image of him as a great man of letters, an outstanding strategist and a political leader," he said.

Like music that goes beyond borders, culture and art including Peking Opera are a bridge that connects people around the world, Shang added.

"As a Peking Opera artist, I felt proud of starring in the 3D Peking Opera movie and also being part of the Shanghai Cultural Week, which is a valuable gathering that brings friends and fans together," said the Peking Opera master.

Ren Faqiang, China's deputy consul general in San Francisco, said Shanghai has made great contributions to China's construction, reform and opening-up, and together with San Francisco, the two places became the first pair of sister cities in the history of China-U.S. relations.

"I hope the sister city relationship, in the coming 40 years, will be better and benefit people of the two countries, and contribute to their bilateral relations," he said.

Teng Junjie, director of the 3D movie and also director of the board of supervisors of Shanghai Media Group, one of the event's organizers, said the cultural week that started shortly before the Chinese Spring Festival is full of festive atmosphere featuring joy and harmony.

"Over the past 39 years of the sister city relationship between Shanghai and San Francisco, both sides have learned a lot from each other," he said.

Teng added that the two cities will continue to expand their cultural exchanges on the basis of mutual understanding, mutual respect and common development.

"Forty years have passed since China and the U.S., including the cities of Shanghai and San Francisco, have established friendship across the Pacific Ocean, and their exchanges in the fields of political affairs, economy, art and culture have deepened their amity and understanding," he said.

Mark Chandler, director of San Francisco Mayor's Office of International Trade and Commerce, said 40 years ago, San Francisco and Shanghai did not know each other. "We were far apart and there weren't any connections," he said.

"Fast forward today ... there have been hundreds and hundreds of exchanges, cooperation and friendship between us," Chandler said.

For San Francisco, it is a great honor to welcome the Shanghai Cultural Week and celebrate the opening of the Chinese Lunar New Year, the Year of the Pig that is coming in just a few days, he added.

Apart from a series of cultural activities, the cultural week also features sports activities. Former Chinese world table tennis champion Shi Zhihao and a former player of the Chinese national women's table tennis team will give training to overseas Chinese and U.S. youngsters for improving their skills.

The participation of the famous Chinese sports stars echoes a special moment in the China-U.S. diplomatic relations, which were established after the well-known "Ping Pong Diplomacy" between the two countries more than 40 years ago.