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Shanghai Culture Festival opens in Taipei

Art lovers who'd like to see sophisticated and entertaining arts of Shanghai should not miss the ongoing Shanghai Culture Festival as it presents a strong lineup of Chinese kun artists and kun drama, free outdoor performances in the Xinyi District and a film festival featuring the charming city.

Taipei City Government yesterday proudly announced the opening of the Cross-Strait Intercity Culture & Arts Exchange's Shanghai Culture Festival, saying the festival was the largest-scale cross-strait cultural exchanges ever held in Taiwan.

"The festival promises the best artists and drama from Shanghai, I am sure our audiences will be very impressed,” said Lee Yong-ping, deputy mayor of Taipei City, at a press conference held in Taipei yesterday morning.

Artists from Shanghai Kun Opera Company, Shanghai Traditional Beijing Opera Drama School, renowned erhu virtuoso Ma Xiaohui, and aerobatics performer Tsai Yung gave a little preview of their performances at yesterday's press conference. Ma's unique style of playing erhu and Tsai's stunning spinning on his head won great applause from media workers and audiences.

Sponsored by the Department of Cultural Affairs of Taipei City and organized by New Aspect Cultural and Education Foundation, this event follows the Beijing Cultural Festival held in Taipei in 2006 and precedes the Taipei Culture Festival which will be held in Shanghai next June. The event that started yesterday runs through November 8.

The Shanghai Culture Festival will present four complete Kun dramas and four programs of highlights from the Shanghai Kun Opera Company. The operas that started yesterday and end on October 25 include the award-winning new work Ban Zao, as well as classics The Oil-Seller and The Courtesan, the Tale of the Jade Hairpin and Lanke Mountain. Ticketing is available through http://www.artsticket.com.tw/CKSCC2005/EHome/EHome00/index.aspx

The festival also includes five free performances given by China's young acrobats and emerging artists at the Mitsukoshi Plaza in the Xinyi District. They will be running from tonight through Sunday night.

There will also be an exhibition of works from the Shanghai Art Museum hosted by Taipei Fine Arts Museum, until November 8, and six films about Shanghai are showing at SPOT from today to next Monday.