HOUSTON—“It was fabulous! It was even more than I expected,” said Ms. Pam Ivey of Shen Yun Performing Arts Thursday night Dec. 27 at the Jones Hall for Performing Arts in Houston. Ms. Ivey attended the performance with former radio show co-announcer Mr. Joe Ladd, who now manages country music stars.
“The costumes were so elaborate. The dancing—marvelous,” Ms. Ivey said. “And the music—it was fantastic. The bridging of East and West and the different kinds of instruments. When would you ever hear that?”
The New York-based company’s orchestra is indeed a unique one, blending traditional Chinese instruments like the two-stringed erhu into a classical Western orchestra.
“Music is international, it’s worldwide. Music is music, they blended it very well. I just want to hear more of it,” Mr. Ladd said. “It was fabulous, fabulous. I just wish I could’ve got a little closer to see the instruments that they were playing. And if you guys are here next year, I’m gonna get the front seat.”
Besides the orchestra, Shen Yun’s musical aspect also includes bel canto style solo vocalists performing original songs in Chinese.
“Obviously I don’t speak Chinese—it didn’t matter. It’s an international language—music,” Ms. Ivey said. “Didn’t have to know what they were saying to enjoy every minute. They were fabulous.”
The lyrics to the songs performed by tenors Huan Xing, Guan Guimin, and soprano Rachael Yuning Bastick were projected onto the backdrop in both Chinese and English. The emcees of the show also explained each song or dance prior to the performance, and the bilingual aspect added to the ambiance, Ms. Ivey said.
“I thought that was so engaging, when they taught us how to say a few things in Chinese,” Ms. Ivey said. “Everyone in the audience was trying it, nobody was shy. You want to, you want to learn as much as you can.”
Reporting by Yunxia and Catherine Yang.
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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