It happened again! Our concert in Shanghai with The Shanghai Quartet was greeted with clapping and yelling and general carrying on! Clearly a music loving audience who responded very enthusiastically to everything, notably Chen Yi's "From the Path of Beauty" commissioned by us and The Shanghai Quartet, and premiered last year.
The Shanghai Concert Hall, built in l930, was moved - yes, the whole building moved by elevating it and putting it on rollers and rolling it centimeters at a time for a year and a half until it was 100 metres away, and clear of the new highway...
Beautiful concert hall- good thing they saved it!
We started rehearsal with a review of our Chinese pronunciation in the Chen Yi folk song arrangements which we're singing on this tour. Professor/Baritone Zheng Zhou of the Shanghai Conservatory ( and formerly of the San Francisco Opera) came and helped us.
Then we had a happy reunion with the quartet which had flown in yesterday from New Jersey where they live. The last time we performed together was in Kansas City a few months ago. Violinist Weigang Li - then a student at the Shanghai Conservatory-was one of the first young Chinese musicians to go out from China in 1979. He came to San Francisco where he discovered music for string quartet, went home and founded The Shanghai Quartet, now 30 years old - the same as us. We were brought together by composer Chen Yi who was Chanticleer's composer in residence not long after she came to the US from China in the early l990's. We asked Chen Yi to write for the unusual combination of string quartet and vocal ensemble - "From the Path of Beauty, " on tonight's program, is the result.
Fans waited for us, just like at home.
After the concert we joined the patrons who have travelled to China to see us ( and, of course, China) for supper at the Yung Foo Elite Club. Formerly the British Embassy, this beautiful building in the French concession has been restored into a dining club in the style of Shanghai in the 20's.