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Forget allegations of spies and economic intrigue. Put aside the controversial Senkaku Islands and celebrate as the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing unites with the New National Theatre in Tokyo to commemorate the 40th anniversary of normalized relations between Japan and China. Two opera performances in Tokyo, on July 27 and 29, will be followed by two performances in Beijing, on Aug. 3 and 5, as the brightest singers and musicians in China and Japan take the stage together for the first time in history. Fittingly, they present the concert version of “Aida,” Giuseppe Verdi’s tale of cross-cultural love stretched across the barbed-wire field of politics.

“I am very proud they chose me for this concert in Japan and Beijing. Music is a special language,” says renowned Chinese soprano Hui He, who will sing the title role. “Internationally, every musician has the chance, musically and culturally, to find cooperation.”

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