A feast of TV Spring Festival galas

Updated: 2012-01-28 10:08

By Xu Lin (China Daily)

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BEIJING - Chinese and foreign residents get a little tired of watching nearly the identical Spring Festival Gala on CCTV they have watched every year now have a lot more options this year.

There are dozens of galas by local television networks throughout China, 51 Chinese New Year shows in all.

A feast of TV Spring Festival galas

Among the television events, the Spring Festival Global Gala by Beijing Television Station (BTV) stands out because of its star-studded international cast and its push to show a mix of Eastern and Western cultures. The BTV gala was aired 7:30 pm on Jan 24. Stations in Hong Kong, Singapore and the United States had broadcast the show at a later time. A day before, on Jan 23, Dragon TV in Shanghai presented a gala similar in star power. A-list actress Zhou Xun and basketball legend Yao Ming were among many celebrities in attendance.

The BTV gala lasted 130 minutes and featured nearly 150 foreigners. Artists from around 20 countries, including more than 700 Chinese artists, participated in the event. BTV began producing the show in 2010 with the aim of promoting the Chinese culture. The gala has no language barriers; hosts and hostesses at the gala spoke both Chinese and English.

While CCTV's gala featured Chinese-language performances, such as cross talks and sketches, the BTV gala focused on both Chinese and Western music, dances, acrobatics and magic tricks. "These programs are easily understood for audiences from all over the world. The gala has no specific theme, and all we want is that everyone has fun," said BTV gala producer Shi Tao.

The Canadian violin-based worldbeat group Barrage played the Chinese folk song "Running Horses" with 15 Chinese musicians who played the matouqin, a Mongolian stringed instrument with a horse's head carved at the end of the neck.

Shi said the foreign artists in the gala were very professional. "Communication is the most important thing in such an international team," he said. BTV has invited famous foreign performers since 2010 and this year Danish soft-rock band Michael Learns to Rock, French singer Joyce Jonathan and Swiss magician Peter Marvey participated in the gala.

Shi said Chinese audiences who prefer to learn about Western cultures enjoyed this year's show. "We adjusted our programs a little bit as many audiences are Chinese," Shi said.