China National Traditional Orchestra, "Xuanzang’s Pilgrimage", first overseas tour is a successful travel to the West.

The China National Traditional Orchestra presented for the first time outside of China their musical drama Xuanzang’s Pilgrimage...

The China National Traditional Orchestra, a Chinese state-level performing arts institution, presented for the first time outside of China their musical drama Xuanzang’s Pilgrimage with Wu Promotion in UK and Ireland this July. From July 20th to 24th, CNTO has performed at the prestigious Sadler’s Wells Theatre and participated in the 41st Galway International Arts Festival, with the support of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the People’s Republic of China, China National Arts Fund and Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The success of Xuanzang’s Pilgrimage Europe tour not only made it a remarkable Chinese Orchestra performance, but showed also the Belt and Road initiative.

July 20th-22nd, 2018 The Sadler’s Wells Theatre, London, UK

With the success of 41 performances in China, Xuanzang’s Pilgrimage realized their overseas premiere at the Sadler’s Wells Theatre on July 20th to 22nd. With three full houses, Xuanzang’s Pilgrimage attracted some 4,000 local audiences and widespread concern and support from the public. Ambassador Liu Xiaoming and cultural section minister counselor Xiang Xiaowei of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland were present and communicated with Chinese artists after the performance.

Xuanzang’s Pilgrimage, the world's first musical drama by a Chinese Traditional Orchestra, contains the initiative and spirit of our era. “2018 is not only the 5th anniversary of the Belt and Road, but a high-speed development period of an ‘Golden Era’ between China and the UK. CNTO brought this meaningful performance to London as the first station of their tour, facilitated mutual learning and exchanges between Chinese and British culture. Furthermore, the brand new art form helped foreign audiences to deepen their comprehension to the Belt and Road. We sincerely hope that CNTO will bring more wonderful works with distinctive Chinese features to UK, and that Wu Promotion develops more cultural exchange through performances.” Ambassador Liu Xiaoming shared.

Xuanzang’s Pilgrimage was widespread reported by mainstream media all over the world such as The Guardian, The UK Chinese Journal, BBC, CCTV in UK, Xinhua News Agency and China Minutes. “The performance doesn’t just illustrate the story, it provides a showcase for traditional Chinese instruments. These many instruments offer a rich range of sonorities that support striking dramatic effects to match the perils of the journey. The staging is a combination of video projection, rather old-fashioned cut cloths and dazzlingly decorative costumes.” British Theatre Guide.

UK audiences thought highly of Xuanzang’s Pilgrimage. Audience Janet Ley commended: “In the description of this production it said that it is a multimedia spectacular and they were not wrong.
It was visually stunning, colourful and exotic. We were introduced to unusual instruments all played expertly. The music was moving, calming and delightful. The costumes and set are spectacular. A production that was good for the soul and we are so pleased we had the opportunity to see it. Well done to everyone involved in it.”

July 24th, 2018 Galway International Arts Festival, Ireland

On July 24th, the concert of Xuanzang’s Pilgrimage realized their performance at the 41st Galway International Arts Festival, which is one of the largest multidisciplinary arts festival in Europe. CEO of Galway International Arts Festival, Mr. John Crumlish, Artistic Director Mr. Paul Fahy and local audiences gave CNTO a very warm welcome with standing ovations and demanding several encores at the end of the concert. What’s more, CNTO was the only Chinese performing arts group invited to join in the Galway International Arts Festival.

H.E. Dr. Yue Xiaoyong, Chinese Ambassador to Ireland, Cllr. Seán Ó Tuairisg, Sheriff of Galway with his wife, Mr. Kevin Kelly, chief executive of Galway County Council, Mr. Niall McNelis, lord mayor of Galway city with his wife, Mr. Brendan McGrath, chief executive of Galway City Council, Dr. Michael Hannon, executive vice-president of Galway institute of technology and Ms. Cait Noone, vice-president of national affairs of Galway institute of technology attended the concert of Xuanzang’s Pilgrimage and shared their high praises for the musicians.

In addition, Liu Sha, the resident conductor of China National Traditional Orchestra and artists from CNTO attended an academic seminar at school of Oriental and African studies before the tour. Aimed at Chinese music culture and the contrasts of Western and Oriental instruments, the seminar was supported by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the People’s Republic of China and Wu Promotion.