HOUSTON—World-traveling opera singer Naya María Rodríguez-Castiñado finally got her wish to see Shen Yun. To ring in 2013 with Shen Yun at Jones Hall Performing Arts Center with her sculptor sister and musician friend made them all happy, she said.
“For all of us to be together and to come together at such an event where there is such a beautiful expression of art, the visual, the dancing, and the music coming together, it’s something that we love,” she said.
Ms. Rodríguez-Castiñado is a lyrico-spinto soprano, and she had the good fortune to study with Luciano Pavarotti and dramatic mezzo-soprano Débria Brown. The music and dance of Shen Yun delighted her, she said.
The singing—the music is absolutely gorgeous.
“The singing—the music is absolutely gorgeous, and the fullness of the orchestra, and so many different colors, so many different instruments coming together to tell the story, and the dancing of course is beautiful.”
The Shen Yun Orchestra incorporates traditional Chinese instruments into a full Western philharmonic orchestra. Bel canto vocalists perform songs in Chinese, while digitally projected backdrops show the lyrics in both languages as well as beautiful scenes.
Ms. Rodríguez-Castiñado is from Texas, and her heritage is both Basque and Mexican. “Of course, for us the arts are very important, and the culture of other countries and ethnicities,” she said. “So the beauty of that coming together makes us very happy, and inspiration for what our ideas are for the coming year and things that we intend to do for ourselves.”
She enjoyed the dancer’s narrative skills, and the sense of fun and drama in When Shaolin Monks Protected the Emperor, she said. “There’s such a story that they’re telling in how they are interacting with each other. Like the emperor, with the monks, and you can clearly see the playfulness with them.”
For her, sharing the Shen Yun experience with her friends and loved ones is revitalizing. “It’s like recharging our batteries. It really does. It’s inspirational to watch the beauty, and discipline also.”
As an opera singer and actress, Ms. Rodríguez-Castiñado understands and admires the work that the Shen Yun artists do in developing their world-class skills. “Because there’s a great deal of discipline that goes into what they do. It’s a great admiration for the discipline, and then the appreciation of the beauty they create from that.”
Reporting by Sunny Chen and Mary Silver.
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world with a mission to revive traditional Chinese culture. The Shen Yun International Company will be performing in Houston through Jan. 1. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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