Orchestral performance hits the right note for Chinese visit

China's First Lady Peng Liyuan attends cultural event at Emirates Palace

An orchestra was held at Emirates Palace in honour of China's First Lady, Peng Liyuan. Getty
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Chinese and Arabian cultures came together at a grand orchestral performance dedicated to China's First Lady at Emirates Palace.

As part of the Chinese state visit, a musical tribute was paid to China's First Lady, Peng Liyuan at one of Abu Dhabi's landmarks.

A performance featuring three sopranos singing a popular Italian tune in Chinese became all the more captivating when they were joined by a local talent singing an operatic version of the Emirati favourite Allah Ya Dar Zayed.

As the show started, three Emirati musicians stepped on stage carrying their instruments alongside their Chinese counterparts.

As a tribute to the First Lady, they started playing a piece of Chinese music called A Small Murmuring River, composed by Yigong Yin.

It was followed by Abu Dhabi, a piece composed by Fayz Al Sayeed - a local artist known as the Ambassador of Tunes.

Soon after, the Emirati pianist Fatima Al Hashemi stepped on stage in a beautiful Chinese half-dress half-abaya outfit, and played Camille Sain Saens' piece, . The colourful performance grabbed the attention of onlookers as a moon and stars theme appeared on the screen in the background, with dry ice rising from the stage.

“I chose this piece because I thought this year we have the Franco Emirati cultural week, and we are in the UAE Chinese cultural week, so it would be nice to play for France as an Emirati, while Chinese musicians are playing with us,” she said.

The 32-year-old classical pianist, who is also the head of music at the Ministry of Culture, said this was the first time Emirati artists were playing alongside Chinese musicians.

"And this piece (The Swan) is neither from our culture nor from theirs, so it brought us together."

“We only had two days to train together, and it ran very smoothly because they (the Chinese musicians) are very professional,” she added.

After her soothing performance, the audience was soon engaged in a comedy tercet performed by the Chinese operatic trio: Hao Zhou, Xiaoyong Zhou and Pei Peng.

They sang Ala My Han - a traditional song that originated from a Muslim region in China.

“It might have Turkish or Islamic roots; I believe its roots came from the silk road,” said Mr Zhou.

The song, which is named after a Muslim girl, tells the story of three boys who are looking for that beautiful girl.

“So the three of us were like bad boys tired of waiting for her, then the song says she moved 360km away, so we say it will not stop us from finding her.”

“It is a funny song,” he added.

The trio said they chose it as their opening piece because they believed it had Chinese flavour as well as Islamic.

They then sang in Chinese to the tune of Nessun Dorma from Puccini's Turandot. And, as they started performing their third piece, O Sole Mio, an Italian song composed by Eduardo di Capua and Alfredo Mazzucchi, the Emirati soprano Rashed Alnuaimi entered and sang Allah Ya Dar Zayed.

He sang the verses in both Chinese and Arabic and, when he paused, the trio sang O Sole Mio in Chinese.

"O Sole Mio is popular and we thought the delegates and royals would know the tune," added Mr Zhou.