TORONTO—Veteran singer Dina Soliman has performed vocal music with her church for over three decades. So when she took in Shen Yun Performing Arts at the Sony Centre on Jan. 22, it was no surprise that she was captivated by its heavenly music.
Ms. Soliman, who was at the acclaimed classical Chinese dance and music production with her husband and two children, praised Shen Yun’s singers soprano Yu Ming and tenor Tian Ge for their technique and charm.
“They are amazing, they are wonderful,” she said. “They did a great job—the soprano was amazing.”
The vocalists sing Chinese lyrics using the bel canto technique. This means they must, while continuing to meet the challenges inherent in this operatic technique, retain proper Chinese pronunciation and diction, which is an unparalleled vocal accomplishment.
The song lyrics are all-original compositions by Shen Yun’s artists.
“Brimming with philosophical reflection about human life and containing deep layers of meaning, the texts go beyond the boundaries of nation, race, and culture, and have been fondly received and appreciated the world over,” says the Shen Yun website.
“Some audience members even express that Shen Yun’s vocal pieces are reminiscent of sacred music.”
Ms. Soliman, a Christian, appreciated the spirituality present in the lyrics, saying the universal medium of song helps to communicate deep meaning.
“If you put it into music you can learn it easier, you can send your message easier to people,” she said. “Music gives everything a different [flavour].”
She also appreciated the orchestra—a unique blend of classical Western and ancient Chinese instruments such as the pipa, erhu, and suona.
“The whole orchestra is wonderful. I loved it so much, it was really very nice,” she said.
“It’s very nice that it’s a combination between the [western] instruments and the Chinese instruments—that’s wonderful.”
According to the Shen Yun website, all materials used to make Chinese instruments originate from nature, and the significance and symbolism of each is closely tied to its natural origin.
“Perhaps due to the fact that their materials originate from the natural world, they are adept at evoking scenes both natural and heavenly,” says the website. “Truly, the things that Chinese music is capable of expressing are both lofty and profound.”
Ms. Soliman was also thrilled by the synchronicity between the orchestra, the dancers, and the high-tech digital backdrops, which all flow seamlessly together. So seamlessly, in fact, that it sometimes appears that the dancers can jump in and out of the screen.
“It’s a wonderful job, how they can match the music with the pictures, with the [backdrop] that was working behind the dancers,” she said. “Everything has to synchronize all together to get this wonderful performance. It’s amazing.”
Reporting by Becky Zhou and Justina Wheale
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. Shen Yun’s International Company will perform in Toronto until Jan. 25. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time. We have proudly covered audience reactions since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.