The China NCPA Orchestra performs a livestreaming concert on Sunday. CHINA DAILY
At 7:30 pm on Sunday, some 40 days after canceling all of its scheduled concerts, the China NCPA Orchestra, the resident ensemble at the National Center for the Performing Arts, returned with a livestreaming concert at the venue.
The online performance officially marked the reopening of the NCPA to concert audiences the following day.
The orchestra performed two of German composer Ludwig van Beethoven’s best-known works, Symphony No. 5 in C minor Op. 67 and Symphony No. 3 in E flat major Op. 55, under the baton of conductor Lyu Jia.
Despite the lack of a physical audience, the concert attracted more than 21 million views on social media platforms.
Gong Jicheng, vice-president of the NCPA, said, “We prepared for this concert for several weeks because we knew that one day we would resume our performances.”
From April 26 to Sunday, the NCPA canceled more than 140 concerts and public events due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Lyu, also the NCPA’s artistic director of music and the China NCPA Orchestra’s music director, said the performances of the Beethoven symphonies were dedicated to audiences who badly missed attending live concerts during the outbreak.
Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67, also known as “Destiny” is arguably one of the composer’s best-known works among music lovers in China and around the world.
Lyu said, “This symphony has been given numerous interpretations, but is generally understood to express the positivity and determination of humanity to never give up when faced with a tough situation.
“We chose to perform it during the first half of the concert because it reflects the difficult situation that we have experienced lately－especially the symphony’s ominous four-note opening motif, which is often interpreted as the musical manifestation of fate knocking at the door.”
Lyu said Symphony No. 3 in E flat major Op. 55, also known as the “Eroica”, was performed to signify the heroism shown by everyone.
“We’ve overcome all obstacles to return our lives to normal. In particular, this performance is a salute to the heroes of the outbreak－the medical personnel, delivery riders and others whose jobs suddenly put them at a greater risk,” Lyu added.
At 5 pm on Sunday, the NCPA opened ticket sales for the concert the following day, which again featured Lyu conducting the orchestra in the two Beethoven symphonies. It was the first live concert with a physical audience staged in Beijing since the local outbreak was brought under control. According to the NCPA, tickets sold out within four hours.
Gong said: “To keep audiences engaged, the NCPA staged nine online concerts, which attracted about 200 million views. However, virtual concerts cannot replace the joy of attending a live performance.”