China Shanghai International Arts Festival (CSIAF) is the only state-level International Arts Festival hosted by the Ministry of Culture of the People’s Republic of China and organized by Shanghai Municipal People’s Government. Since 1999, CSIAF, observing the commitment to both innovation and the classics, has successfully been held for thirteen years in a row.
The festival is a feast of all forms of domestic and foreign arts, such as music, dance, drama, etc. Many masters and superstars have presented their excellent programs on the stage including the great conductors Zubin Mehta, Christopher Eschenbach and Simon Rattle, the tenors Placido Domingo and Andrea Bocelli, the singers Mariah Carey and Beyonce Knowles, the flute soloist James Galway, the cellists Mischa Maisky and Yo-Yo Ma as well as the dancers Aida Gomez and Sara Baras, etc. Plenty of world-renowned orchestras and ballet companies including Berliner Philharmoniker, The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, The Czech Philharmonic, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Takarazuka Revue Company of Japan, Mariinsky Bellets, Bejart Ballet Lausanne and les Ballet de Monte Carlo have left their classical charms on the festival stage. Some spectacular Chinese dance drama, such as Dance and Decoration, Aida, Chinese Imperial Concubine, Farewell, My Concubine, Wild Zebra, Peony Pavilion and Marco Polo, bring higher passion for artistic creation to the festival.
It is also a festival for ordinary people. In the past 12 years, over 1500 public cultural activities have been successfully organized, which dramatically promotes the cultural development of the city. Whether from the performances presented in communities by artists at home and abroad to the festival “Daily Performance” stages co-presented by stars, professionals and ordinary people, or from “Citizen Arts Competition” to “The Yangtze River Delta Region Folk Song Competition”, CSIAF brings colorful performances outside of theaters to streets, neighborhoods and towns. They enjoy high popularity among citizens and artists and have attracted over 18 million audiences by far, thus becoming a bright and unique highlight of the festival.
The festival boasts open-minded vision and enjoys good reputation. Since the establishment of The Culture Weeks of guest nations and domestic provinces, it has successfully presented a series of activities for foreign cultures about Australia, Russia, France, Egypt, Mexico, Singapore, Japan and Korea as well as domestic cultures about Yunnan, Inner Mongolia, Qinghai, Hubei, Chongqing, Hong Kong, etc, all with distinctive features.
With a galaxy of experts in various fields and masters of great wisdom, Arts Festival Conference is another highlight of the festival. The past 12 years has witnessed over 100 forums and conferences on 36 topics, including the 2010 International Festivals Conference Shanghai, Shanghai Conference of Asia-Pacific Arts Festival Association Organizing Committee, the 7th International Network on Cultural Policy Annual Ministerial Meeting, etc.
China Shanghai International Performing Arts Fair (SPAF) serves as an important platform to recommend national culture to the outside world and bring in excellent foreign cultures to the domestic market. Up to now, delegates of about 1000 domestic and foreign arts festivals, agencies, performing groups, companies and institutions from over 160 cities of 60 countries in total have come to attend SPAF. Every year, initial intent of cooperation has been achieved for hundreds of outstanding programs on this platform, which greatly pushes forward the development of domestic performing markets.
As indispensable components of CSIAF, various exhibitions and colorful Festival in Festival series bring a big feast to the eyes of the audience. About 4.5 million people have been attracted to 137 domestic and foreign exhibitions such as “National Treasures from Egypt”, “Chinain Impression-Chinese Freehand Painting Exhibition”, etc, which creates a rather hot and animated scene.
The China Shanghai International Arts Festival is exerting increasingly greater influence on both domestic and overseas cultural stages, becoming a significant brand ofChina’s cultural exchange. In recent years, it has won over ten prizes at home and abroad, including the “China Top Ten Influential Festivals” by IFEA.
The 13th CSIAF ended on November 18 of 2011 with grand curtain falling at Shanghai Grand Theater. Minister of Ministry of Culture of PRC, Mr. Caiwu, as well as major officials attended the closing ceremony. Bayerische Staatsballet performed ballet “The Taming of the Shrew” after the ceremony.
During a month’s festival, more than 10,000 artists presented 50 programs (120 performances) to Shanghai stages. Original programs highlighted the repertoire of festival with” The Temptation of Life “by Bejart Ballet Lausanne, “Overcoat” by Gecko Theatre and “Dunhuang Rhyme” by China Gansu Opera House etc.
World leading orchestras, bands, soloists, dances are preparing numerous music and dance gala to the audience with sir Simon Rattle conducing Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, the Bejart Ballet Lausanne, the Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra under the baton of David Zinman maestro violinist Perlman, pianist Murray Perahia, Italian pianist, Ludovico Einaudi, Hagen Quartet one of the most renowned quartets in Europe, Helmuth Rilling with his Stuttgart Bach Academy, Ricardo Muti with Shanghai Symphony Orchestra and many more!
Nearly 2,800 public cultural activities were hold throughout Shanghai, presenting more than ten thousand programs, with 42 foreign troupes and 5,000 Chinese troupers taking part in, which attracted more than 4 million audiences. German Culture Week and Gansu Culture Week revealed the distinctive art style and culture background. A total of 13 exhibitions including Picasso solo exhibition, Freehand Brushwork 2011 won numerous visitors. Shanghai International Arts Festival succeeded in live broadcasting Berliner Philharmoniker Concert outdoors for the first time at downtown Shanghai. Discounted tickets were sold to benefit citizen which accounts 15% of total.