Ending on an encore

Updated: 2013-03-05 10:20

By Lin Shujuan (China Daily)

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Ending on an encore

Audience members surge forward to the stage and take photos of the star performers, after the show on Sunday night in Perth, Australia.

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Before they arrived, they heard that Perth is "the remotest city on Earth", and the nearest city with a population of more than 100,000 is Adelaide, South Australia, which is 2,104 km away.

Their first impression of the city confirmed that. They arrived on a weekend and there was hardly anyone on the streets.

But they soon knew better as the concert got underway.

Standing on stage in the packed theater with thundering applause and cheers, singer Cai Guoqing says he "wished this was my solo concert so that I could stay on stage the whole night".

He stayed on stage for two encores, as did the Peking Opera duo Yu and Li, and tenor Yan Weiwen.

The show reached a climax when soprano Dong Wenhua, and Chinese Vice-Consul-General Liu Yutong in Perth were invited on stage to render The Full Moon, one of the most popular songs in China since the 1980s which brought Dong to stardom.

"Tonight only proves that Perth, which might be the most isolated spot geographically, will never be forgotten," says Liu to a cheering audience.

Li Shuwang, who came to Perth for work three years ago as chief financial officer of Angang Group Investment (Australia) Ltd, describes the performance as a cure for home-sick Chinese.

"Perth doesn't have a nightlife culture. Most local residents enjoy staying at home with their families during the night, which is very nice," says Li, "But not for people like me, who work here alone while our families are back home."

Li says he has witnessed a rapid increase in the number of Chinese immigrants to Perth in recent years. This is because Western Australia enjoys a strong relationship with China, particularly in trade and investment related to minerals, energy, agricultural goods and education services.

According to Chinese Consul General in Perth Wang Yiner, Western Australia accounted for over 70 percent of Australia's total merchandise exports to China in 2011, and 80 percent of China's investment into Australia over the last five years.

"We miss our families, our friends and especially our culture," says Li, who also attended the gala show. "This (show) brings us home."

Guo Jinling, an official from the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office, who led the performance tour to Australia, says the office has always aimed to serve overseas Chinese population. She is glad and touched to witness the warm welcome.

By Tuesday, all the 11 performing troupes the office lined up for this year's global tour, had concluded 56 out of the planned 57-city visit.

The same performing troupe that has just entertained the Chinese communities in Oceania will have their last show of the season in Macao on March 28.

Contact the writer at linshujuan@chinadaily.com.cn.

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