OTTAWA, Canada—Award-winning musician Gary Graham, musical director and founder of Theatre Newfoundland and Labrador, thoroughly enjoyed the Shen Yun Performing Arts’ show Sunday afternoon at Ottawa’s National Arts Centre.
“I think it’s fantastic. It’s a combination of all the arts, and it certainly is incredibly vibrant,” he said.
It was Shen Yun’s last show in the nation’s capital and the last of 2012 before heading to Montreal for a five-show run starting Jan. 3.
The New York based group, the world’s premier classical Chinese dance and music company, has toured over 100 cities around the world “with a mission to reclaim and renew the true, divinely inspired cultural heritage of China,” according to its mission statement.
Mr. Graham noticed the great positivity of the show and commented on the high quality of the artistry, calling both the costuming and the choreography phenomenal.
Throughout his long career, Mr. Graham has directed several dozen musical theatre productions. His amateur choirs received prizes at the regional, provincial, national, and international levels, and his vocal students have gone on to successful careers in Canada and abroad.
In 2004, he was invested into the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador for his role in developing the musical, cultural and artistic life on the west coast of the province.
As a musician, Mr. Graham thought the unique combination of Eastern and Western instruments in Shen Yun’s orchestra was very successful. With the grandeur of the Western instruments as the foundation and the distinct sensibilities of the Chinese leading the melodies, the result is a fresh, harmonious sound that is pleasing to the ear.
Mr. Graham also noted Shen Yun’s award-winning bel canto singers, including soprano Haolan Geng, tenor Yuan Qu, and soprano Pi-ju Huang. He was surprised at the emotion in the songs. The songs, which speak of goodness, hope, and faith, often move audience members.
“It’s a whole different style and technique,” he said.
Mr. Graham also appreciated getting a tour of China’s history, from its divine origins to today’s contemporary China, and learning more about the culture.
“That was very interesting,” he said.
Reporting by Pam McLennan and Madalina Hubert
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. Shen Yun’s New York Company will be in Montreal Jan. 3-6 before going on to Toronto, and other cities in eastern Canada.
For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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