MONTREAL—As a singer himself, Schubert Fleurant was amazed and inspired by the music of Shen Yun Performing Arts after seeing the acclaimed classical Chinese dance and music production at Place des Arts on Saturday night.
“I really love the soprano. I think that was a great idea to incorporate some classical music into it, and opera into it. I think the show really rounded itself with arts and music combining together,” Mr. Fleurant said.
A fundamental characteristic of New York-based Shen Yun’s vocal soloists is their use of bel canto vocal technique while singing Chinese lyrics, according to the company’s website.
“The singer must grasp the highly difficult technical requirements of bel canto operatic singing while retaining the proper Chinese articulation and diction,” the website states.
State-of-the-art graphics technology is used to create vivid animated backdrops to display the lyrics in multiple languages to serve the local audience—Chinese, English, and French in Montreal.
The digital backdrops are also designed to complement and synchronize all aspects of each performance, from the costumes and colours to specific dance movements, from the storyline to particular notes played by the orchestra.
Mr. Fleurant said he felt the lyrics were “very inspiring, very spiritual.”
Chinese music is really a meditating type of music, a soothing type of music.
— Schubert Fleurant
His impressions spoke to the mission of Shen Yun, to revive 5,000 years of divinely inspired Chinese culture that has been all but completely demolished following more than 60 years of communist rule in China.
It is an ancient culture that has a deep spiritual essence, with its values of benevolence, honour, propriety, wisdom, and sincerity, as well as a reverence for the gods and the heavens, as noted on the Shen Yun website.
“It really calls for people to think about themselves in a higher meaning, … to elevate themselves, to not be closed to barriers, not closed to what’s going on in their inner world, but [be] open to God and other spiritual aspects of their own lives,” Mr. Fleurant said.
Shen Yun has three touring companies, each with a full orchestra, that travel around the world each year with an all-new production of classical Chinese dance and music.
The Shen Yun orchestra is unique in that it consists of a Western philharmonic orchestra that plays the foundation, while traditional Chinese instruments lead the melodies.
Mr. Fleurant called that “a tremendous idea.” “I’m very fond of classical Chinese instruments, such as the erhu. It’s beautiful. And incorporating Western musicians was a great addition to the show, so I’m really happy about that,” he said.
“It’s amazing,” he praised the original compositions and the orchestration of the music.
“I took the time to listen variations and intonations of the musicians, and I really felt each instrument really contributed to the show.”
I took the time to listen variations and intonations of the musicians, and I really felt each instrument really contributed to the show.
— Schubert Fleurant
Mr. Fleurant said he found a great deal of meaning in Chinese music, which offers him a different kind of enjoyment from Western music.
“Chinese music is really looking into my inner soul,” he said.
“I feel like introspecting, looking into myself, looking into my soul. Western music is more into the rhythm and to the beat, but Chinese music is really a meditating type of music, a soothing type of music.”
Along with his praise of the music, Mr. Fleurant applauded all other aspects of the Shen Yun show.
“I think the show was amazing. I think the dancers were great, the costumes were great. I really loved the interaction with the screen and the multi-media. Basically, it was amazing,” he said.
Reporting by NTD Television and Cindy Chan
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. Shen Yun’s New York Company will play five shows in Montreal Jan. 3-6 and one show in Quebec City Jan. 8 before going on to Kitchener-Waterloo, Hamilton, and Toronto in its tour of eastern Canada. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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