MONTREAL—Canadian jazz singer and actress Lynne Hamilton was brought to tears Saturday as she listened to an emotional performance by soprano Pi-Ju Huang of the Shen Yun Performing Arts.
Ms. Hamilton attended the Jan. 5, 2013 evening Shen Yun performance at Place des Arts and said Huang was exceptional.
“She was striking. I loved it. It moved me to tears when she sang,” said Ms. Hamilton during the intermission.
“The power of her voice, the exactitude of her notes, she didn’t miss anything and she conveyed her emotions very well with much, much control.”
Ms. Hamilton is a blues and jazz singer from Quebec, and has performed at venues across the province for nearly two decades. In 2005 she released her first CD of jazz covers, Let it Breathe, and is currently working on an album of her own compositions. She also regularly performs lead roles with theatre companies in Quebec.
Ms. Hamilton said the profound message of the soprano’s song, Do Not Lose Your Way, as well as Huang’s skill in conveying complex emotions is what moved her to tears.
“She didn’t want to waste her life,” she explained. “I think she felt sad about the wasting of our lives and being reincarnated over and over again, she felt saddened by that.”
According to the Shen Yun website, vocalists perform in bel canto operatic singing style with Chinese lyrics—a difficult musical feat unparalleled in the world.
“The lyrics are all original compositions. Brimming with philosophical reflection about human life and deep layers of meaning, they traverse the boundaries of nation, race, and culture and have been fondly received and appreciated the world over,” states the website.
New York-based Shen Yun is a world-renowned classical Chinese dance and music company that aims to revive 5,000 years of traditional Chinese culture.
The show features a collection of story-based dance as well as vocal performances that aim to capture the essence of China’s divinely-inspired culture.
Speaking from her experience as an actress in musical theatre, Ms. Hamilton was deeply impressed with Shen Yun’s precise coordination between different elements such as a digital animated backdrop, dozens of dancers, props, a live orchestra, and hundreds of costume changes.
“I remember putting on productions and it’s difficult. The way they time themselves precisely is quite remarkable. It’s excellent,” she said.
She said the dancers played their characters exceptionally well, portraying a wide range of emotions through dance.
“They’re beautiful. They portray their emotions very well, they portray their hand gestures, their facial emotions, especially the Tibetan musical when they were happy and energetic. It came across to the audience very, very well,” she said, adding the handmade costumes in Shen Yun were exquisite.
“The costumes are gorgeous. The costumes are beautiful. Absolutely spectacular,” she said.
“The women with their long, long sleeves and the way that they used them to express their emotions—Very beautiful.”
Reporting by NTD Television and Justina Wheale
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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