Artists enjoy their birthday surprises at the NCPA

NCPA December/20/2018
When artists of different nationalities, ages and categories brilliantly shine on stage, the NCPA never forgets the birthday celebrations put aside by these artists all for the sake of art. Today, let us look back at their wonderful moments of birthday parties at the NCPA.

The Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra with Yannick Nézet-Séguin in 2008
Photo by GAO Shang

The first get-together in celebration of the 90th anniversary—Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, the Netherlands
On June 23rd, 2008, the NCPA greeted the first performance by the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra in China, which coincided with its 90th birthday. When the orchestra presented a wonderful performance to the Chinese audience, the NCPA also prepared a surprise packet of cakes, desserts, flowers and champagne for orchestra players. The orchestra crew and the NCPA staff not only burst into smiles when savoring the sweet tastes, but also gained ground in mutual friendship. On June 9th-10th, 2017, headed by German conductor David Afkham, the world-famous Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra visited the NCPA for the third time. In a twinkling of an eye, nine years had elapsed since their first get-together.

The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam with Mariss Jansons in 2008
Photo by GAO Shang

12 years vs. 120 years—Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, the Netherlands
On November 3rd, 2008, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, also from the Netherlands, which had visited China between an interval of 12 years, chose to jointly celebrate its 120th birthday together with Chinese fans at the NCPA. On such a special day, the NCPA offered a tour across Beijing. The birthday surprise continued on until November 4th, 2008—an exclusive birthday cake, customized by the NCPA staff before the opening of the concert, made all the musicians feel pleasantly surprised. This was not only the first concert of Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam immediately following its 120th birthday, but also the first concert after its last visit to China12 years earlier.

Maestro Krzysztof Penderecki with violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter in 2018
Photo by NIU XIaobei

A unique birthday song—Maestro Krzysztof Penderecki
On the evening of October 17th, 2018, maestro Penderecki made his NCPA debut with a wonderful concert presented by violin virtuoso Anne-Sophie Mutter, conductor Maciej Tworek and Sinfonia Varsovia. After the concert, a specially-prepared early birthday party was held during the autographing session, when Ms. Mutter and Chinese fans celebrated the maestro’s 85th birthday in advance through a chorus of the birthday song and an exquisitely-prepared birthday cake.

Dramatist Suzuki Tadashi with his old friends in 2017
Photos by GAO Shang

Hello, my friend—Suzuki Tadashi, Japan
In June 2017, a special guest, dramatist Suzuki Tadashi, came to the NCPA. His NCPA debut were marked by The Trojan Women and Dionysus, which were presented in the Third NCPA International Theatre Festival. Meanwhile, his 78th birthday drew near. On June 20th, 2017, two days before the opening of the performance, the NCPA hosted a special event of “East-West Drama Art Dialogue” for him, and invited three long-standing acquaintances of Suzuki Tadashi. XU Xiaozhong, the Artistic Director of Theatre of the NCPA and Founder of BesetoTheatre Festival, LI Liuyi, director who directed the rehearsal of Suzuki Company of Toga (SCOT), and HUANG Ying, a young director personally recommended by Suzuki Tadashi to participate in the NCPA International Theatre Festival. Witnessing congratulations from the audience and receiving support from old friends, Suzuki Tadashi said with emotion: “I wish to have the opportunity to find the works that really deserve to be passed down.”

Ivan Liška, Director of Bayerisches Staatsballett in Munich in 2011
Photo by GOU Yige

A special peach-shaped birthday cake—Ivan Liška, Director of Bayerisches Staatsballett in Munich, Germany
In 2011, as one of the four major ballet companies in Germany, the Bayerisches Staatsballett visited China for the third time, while visiting the NCPA for the second time. When the Artistic Director Ivan Liška took every effort for the upcoming ballet performance, his 61st birthday was coming soon. On November 8th, 2011, on the site of a press release, Ivan Liška, who was seriously immersed in the state of the press release just now, saw a big Chinese-style pastry: a peach-shaped birthday cake slowly carried by the NCPA staff with a trolly. He couldn’t help but shout out excitedly. the NCPA staff and reporters jointly beat rhythms and sang a birthday song together to celebrate his 61st birthday.

Happy birthday, His Excellency Prime Minister—A Birthday Party for Austrian Prime Minister
The year 2010 marked the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Austria. In order to eulogize this long-standing friendship, the Austrian Embassy in China specially selected the NCPA, and hosted a special performance in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations at the NCPA Multi-functional Theatre. The day of this performance coincided with the birthday of the Austrian Prime Minister. The staff of the Austrian Embassy wished to borrow a piano from the NCPA to hold a small-scale birthday party for him. While arranging for the borrowed piano, the NCPA staff also booked a big birthday cake in advance. When the performance was over at the Multi-functional Theatre, the Austrian Prime Minister, who was going to leave in a hurry, was amazed to see about three or four hundred persons around the theatre gate. Accompanied by familiar piano music, they sang a birthday song together. The young Austrian Prime Minister felt both so delighted. He did not expect that at the last moment of his birthday, other people added a touch of warmth to his busy schedule, which had deeply moved him.

Chinese actor LIU Ye in Amber, 2008
Photo by WU Jian

Delight at the age of 30—LIU Ye, a Man in the Prime of Life
In 2008, LIU Ye, a Chinese actor who specializes in film and television plays, chose to return to the theatre stage. Also in 2008, he cooperated with actress YUAN Quan to rehearse the drama Amber, a work by director MENG Jinghui. On March 23rd, 2008, the performance formally kicked off. When LIU Ye and all other performers answered a curtain call, the stage background board appeared with Chinese characters of “三十之烨 (LIU Ye, Man of Thirty in the Prime of Life)”. A blessing video clip was played with focus on his early film works The Underdog Knight, Dark Matter, City of Life and Death, as well as his growth experiences over the years. At the end of the video, LIU Ye couldn’t help sighing: “I am 30 years old this year. My friends support me to make progress step by step until the mature age of 30. Before 30, I felt immature, decadent and painful. I was haunted by all types of emotions. But I have not been beaten by a severe life and all sorts of things. From now on, I will strive to roll out more and better works by virtue of my maturity and self-confidence”.

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