From l. to r.: deputy PM Etienne Schneider, Hu Wenge (Jingju Theater Company of Beijing), finance minister Pierre Gramegna, Luxembourg City mayor Lydie Polfer, Lihong Zhou (Bank of China Luxembourg) and Han Juming (Jingju Theater Company of Beijing)
Photo: Nader Ghavami
Bank of China formally celebrated its 40 years in Luxembourg on Thursday evening at the Grand Théâtre, where guests were treated to a four-piece performance by the Jingju Theater Company of Beijing.
The troupe of artists had been flown in from Beijing for the bank’s anniversary in a year which coincides with the 70th anniversary of the PRC. The Beijing operatic style, considered the most dominant form of Chinese opera, blends music and vocal performance, acrobatics, mime and dance. The carefully styled movements and elaborate costumes are symbolic, with layers of meaning to tell folkloric, historic and contemporary tales.
The performance kicked off with “Farewell My Concubine”, which portrayed the demise of the warlord of Chu, Xiang Yu (played by Han Juming), as he was ambushed by the Han army. Realising defeat is inevitable, he relieved himself with drink as his concubine, Lady Yu (Lu Jie), performed a final sword dance, which had the audience heavily applauding, before committing suicide.
Next up was “The Goddess of Heaven Scatters Flowers”, during which the goddess (played by Suo Mingfang), scatters flowers from the sky-- as Mingfang manoeuvred a 16m-long ribbon, she dazzled the audience with a whirlwind of colour and movement.
The third part seemed to be a crowd favourite, receiving the most applause and laughter. In “The Crossroad”, in which innkeeper Liu Lihua (Bi Jiawing) goes into the room of Ren (Wei Xuelei), misunderstanding that Ren would murder Jian Zan, a Song dynasty general who had been exiled. In the “dark” (albeit on a fully lit stage), the two performed a carefully choreographed and hilarious fight, with several close calls given that the two couldn’t see each other. Flips and twirls on stage and the comical fight brought smiles to the audience--and giggles from the few children in the audience could be heard throughout.
The final performance brought leading performer Hu Wenge to the stage, as he played a female character in “The Drunken Beauty”, the tale of Yang Guifei, the favourite concubine of the emperor, as she waits for his arrival and later learns the reason he didn’t arrive was because he went to visit another concubine. The character charmed the audience as she became drunk off several types of wine, the singing mimicking slurring.
Celebrating Sino-Luxembourg relations
In addition to celebrating Chinese culture during the event, the bank also took a moment prior to the performance to honour the late Grand Duke Jean, sharing a video of the monarch’s visit to China in 1979.
The Bank of China was the first Chinese bank to have a foothold in Luxembourg, with its branch in the grand duchy serving as its main European hub. It employs over 270 employees from more than 20 countries.