posted on February 20, 2008 01:18
There's been ample coverage, even in the state-run Chinese media, of Steven Spielberg's decision to excuse himself from an advisory role on the Olympic Games opening ceremony. But other artists are less queasy about playing Beijing before the Games in August. In fact there seems to be a queue of acts selling tickets on local Piao agency's website. Foreign governments are "pulling out all the stops, bringing over the big guns," a European diplomat told me last week. That means "huge culture budgets" at foreign embassies in Beijing.
The big classical names are already arriving: New York Philharmonic is here this week, at the new National Centre for the Performing Arts at Tienanmen Square. In the more edgy world of rock meanwhile America's Incubus and British emotion-maker James Blunt will play the Star Live, on March 12 and April 18 respectively.
So there will be plenty of money, if little political point scoring, by western artists in Beijing this year. Both acts are charging plenty at the 1,000-capacity venue's door: Incubus ticket range from RMB400 to 600 (EUR40-60) while Blunt wants to pay a minimum RMB380 for his show (the most expensive tickets cost RMB780). We'll be keen to see the attendance on the night. Celine Dion meanwhile landed the newly renovated Worker's Stadium, once the prototypical Chinese socialist sports grounds, for her April 13 RMB300-3,000 per-head one night in Beijing.More ...