OTTAWA, Canada—Many families came to enjoy Shen Yun Performing Arts together on the afternoon of Jan. 4 at the renowned classical Chinese dance production’s third performance at the National Arts Centre as part of its global tour this season.
Among them were three generations of accomplished lawyer Lionel Levert’s family.
“It was a great show, great show! We surely spent a lovely afternoon,” said Mr. Levert, introducing his daughter and granddaughter.
It is New York-based Shen Yun’s eighth season gracing the stage at the NAC. Mr. Levert said he had seen Shen Yun a few years ago and was again delighted by the program this year.
“I saw it a few years back and actually I couldn’t recognize any of the choreographies. Then I heard that every year was always a brand new show,” he noted.
“Very well set, lovely costumes. … It’s exciting for us to see all of these programs.”
Through excellence in classical Chinese dance and music, Shen Yun takes viewers on a journey through 5,000 years of China’s traditional culture, inspired by principles such as benevolence, justice, propriety, and faith in and reverence for the divine.
Originating from the three religions of the Middle Kingdom—Confucianism, Buddhism, and Daoism—these ideals are the essence of traditional Chinese culture, and they resounded with Mr. Levert.
“I’m very much interested in religion, so whether it’s Buddhism or Daoism, I’m always interested in knowing more, and when I see the expression on stage of some of those beliefs, it always resounds. … I always enjoy that,” he said.
“It’s very spiritual,” he added, noting that it was moving to read the lyrics of the songs performed by the virtuoso singers.
Using traditional bel canto operatic technique to sing Chinese text, baritone Qu Yue, soprano Guang Ling, and tenor Tian Ge presented powerful vocal pieces reminiscent of sacred music, with original lyrics that reflected philosophically about the meaning of life.
Mr. Levert also gave special mention to erhu soloist Mei Xuan, who played a stirring and expressive piece on the two-stringed “Chinese violin,” an instrument with a history of over 4,000 years.
“The sound is really, really quite pleasant,” he said.
“I enjoyed that as well,” said Mr. Levert’s daughter, Pascale, who is a law student at university, following the footsteps of her father.
Seeing Shen Yun for the first time, she had warm praise for the production as well.
“Beautiful … just wonderful,” she said. “We enjoyed it.”
Retired from the public service since 2006 after a distinguished career as a legislative drafter for the Quebec government and then the federal government, Mr. Levert still devotes part of his time advising various countries in Asia on legistlative services, including Vietnam and Malaysia.
He served as Canada’s Chief Legislative Counsel from 1995 to 2001, and spent the last five years of his career leading a legal reform project in Bangladesh. For several years, he chaired the federal government’s program Promoting Access to Justice in Both Official Languages, as well as the Commonwealth Association of Legislative Counsel.
Reporting by Donna He and Cindy Chan
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
The 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.