Orchestral maneuvers

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Conductor Tang Muhai (second from left) is commissioned as the artistic director of the symphony orchestra of the Silk Road International League of Theaters.[Photo provided to China Daily]

Zhang adds that the first stop of the upcoming international tour will be Budapest, Hungary, since Mupa Budapest-formally known as the Palace of Art-is one of the earliest members of the league.

When the orchestra was launched in July, a strategic cooperation of the Silk Road International League of Theaters was signed in Beijing by guests-including Peter Hoppal, State Secretary for Culture at the Ministry of Human Resources of Hungary, Tamas Lakner, dean of music and visual arts at the University of Pecs and conductor Tang-and the first tour date and location was decided.

"As next year marks the 70th anniversary of diplomatic ties between China and Hungary, we will present the concert as a gift to the friendship between the two countries," Zhang notes.

Initiated by the China Arts and Entertainment Group, a State-owned company which was founded in 2004, the Silk Road International League of Theaters serves as a large platform for performing arts to promote cultural exchanges between China and other countries.

Since it was launched at the Tianqiao Performing Arts Center in Beijing in October 2016, the Silk Road International League of Theaters was officially inaugurated in Beijing in March and has grown into an alliance of 88 members from 33 countries and regions.

"The Silk Road International League of Theaters offers an avenue for our members from all over the world to communicate," says Li Jinsheng, president of China Arts and Entertainment Group.

"Since the birth of the league, we have introduced many performances by foreign troupes and helped Chinese artists perform in theaters abroad," he adds, giving examples such as the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre's Chinese tour of Romeo and Juliet, and the Chinese performances of Anton Chekhov's play, The Seagull, by the Belarus Janka Kupała Theater.

The first joint production under the Silk Road International League of Theaters was Marco Polo, an original Chinese opera produced by Guangzhou Opera House and based on the story of the Venetian explorer who traveled along the ancient Silk Road in the 13th century. It was staged in Beijing in May, and featured a star-studded lineup of producers and singers from countries including China, Denmark, Germany and the United Kingdom.

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