China Orchestra Plays for Pope for First Time, Hinting at Thaw

From New York Times:

The China Philharmonic Orchestra performed Mozart’s Requiem with the Shanghai Opera House Chorus for Pope Benedict XVI on Wednesday, an unprecedented concert that could signal a thaw in the historically chilly relations between the Vatican and the Chinese government.

The event evoked memories of Ping-Pong diplomacy, which helped lead to the restoration of relations between the United States and China in the 1970s, with music instead of sports as the bonding agent.

“Music, and art in general, can serve as a privileged instrument for encounter and reciprocal knowledge and esteem between different populations and cultures,” Benedict said after the concert, which was held in the Paul VI Audience Hall at the Vatican. “A means attainable by all for valuing the universal language of art.”

Read Pope underlines ‘great importance’ of Beijing Olympics by AFP, Chinese orchestra performs for Pope Benedict at Vatican from AP, and Pope reaches out to China at unprecedented concert from Reuters.

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