A concert in the Chinese Garden – featuring jazz pieces in Chinese arrangements by Przemysław Strączek – as well as workshops devoted to the music of the Middle Kingdom and the tea brewing ceremony are among attractions of the programme of this year’s Festival of Light, which will take place in the Royal Łazienki in August. Throughout the month visitors are also invited to stroll along the trail of choinoiserie.
The main attraction of the Festival of Light will be the concert "Jazz in Five Flavours", which will begin on 6 August at 18.00 in the Chinese Garden. The "Asian Strings Collective" band will perform in a Polish-Chinese line-up: Przemysław Strączek (guitars), Weiling Fang (erhu), Anna Krysztofiak (guzheng), Michał Kapczuk (double bass). The concert’s programme features music pieces by Polish jazz artist Przemysław Strączek, which were played in Singapore in the spring of 2015. The audience will have a chance to listen to jazz compositions tinged with the oriental quality of traditional Chinese instruments. The concert will be complemented with pieces played on the Chinese guzheng by Anna Krysztofiak.
On 6 August, it is worth coming to the Chinese Garden to participate in workshops devoted to the Middle Kingdom. The first class, entitled "Chinese Music Lesson" will take place at 11.00. Workshop participants – children and adults – will learn about oriental instruments (erhu, zhongzhou, guzheng, hulusi, yueqin, yehu, xiao) and the sound of Chinese melodies – both folk songs, classic pieces, and entertainment music. Together, they will learn a song and try their hands at playing percussion instruments.
The second workshop, entitled "Secrets of the Chinese Kettle" will start at 13.00. The participants will watch the tea-brewing ceremony known as Gongfu Cha, peer at tea utensils, and – together – drink the remarkable drink. A randomly selected person will also try to brew tea on his or her own.
The art known as Gongfu Cha is one of the greatest treasures of Chinese culture. It encompasses not only the artful activity of brewing and tasting tea, with a selection of valuable utensils, but also other domains of art, e.g. music, poetry, calligraphy and painting. It is an expression of a philosophy of life, based on a harmonious union of nature and culture.
During the Festival of Light, visitors are also invited to take strolls around the Chinese Garden, which will also involve viewing chinoiserie (Chinese-style objects) in the Royal Łazienki buildings. Tours will take place on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays – on 4, 5, 11, 12, 16, 18, 19, 23, 25 26 and 30 August.
Starting location: near the Myślewicki Palace at 18.00. Admission is free, but reservation is required due to limited space;
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Participants of the August tours will see chinoiserie in the Palace on the Isle, in the White Pavilion, and in the Myślewicki Palace; the objects in question will include, among others, porcelain items and furniture beautifully decorated with animal and flower motifs as well as wallpapers with the view of Canton, city in the south of China. Royal Łazienki employees will explain how the choinsoiserie trend sprang in Europe and reached its peak in the 18th century. They will also talk about the Chinese garden, explicate how the Chinese Pavilion and Chinese Arbour are decorated, and explain the symbolic meaning of the two stone lions standing by the entrance to the Chinese Garden.
Lanterns in Gardens
During the Festival of Light – from 4 to 31 August – a part of the Chinese Avenue and the Chinese Garden will be illuminated with tens of red lanterns from the Chinese city of Chengdu (in the Middle Kingdom, red colour symbolizes fortune and joy). In that period, the Royal Łazienki gardens will be open until 23.00, to allow our guests to take evening strolls along atmospherically illuminated pathways.