SYDNEY, Australia—Some of Australia's top celebrities, finance leaders and academics were abuzz on the opening night of the Divine Performing Arts Chinese Spectacular in Sydney on April 2.
Among over 300 VIPs were Home and Away star Lynne McGranger, entertainment icon Angela Ayers, and Order of Australia recipient Barry Crocker, as well dozens of government leaders and business executives.
The Entertainment Centre, Sydney's prime venue for large-scale productions, was transformed into a land of divine beauties, heavenly scenes and thundering drums.
"It was beautiful. was spectacular, very powerful," said NSW State MP Ian Cohen. Among his favourites was the "elegant" dance 'Nymphs of the Sea'.
Also attending the show was Don Lister, an acclaimed opera singer, who performed with Opera Australia and the New Zealand Opera. He was most impressed with the 'Drummers of the Tang Court' – a stirring performance of over 20 drummers, who manage to combine both precision of movement and rhythm.
"I thought it was fantastic - the precision and the discipline in the dances," said Mr Lister.
"I have operatic background myself. I thought the soprano and baritone were very good," he continued.
Attending together with Mr Lister was Helena Sindelar, also an opera singer, who performed at the Sydney Olympic opening ceremony.
For her, it was the cultural uniqueness that stood out the most.
"It's just so different. It's actually nice to see an event out of their own culture, even 1000 years ago, [brought] to life today. Not in our society. You don't see the battle of 1260 acted out on stage," she said, referring to the famous 'Legend of Yue Fei', where a general goes to battle to "serve his country loyally", portrayed in one of the numbers.
Ms Sinclair also praised the spiritual depth of the Spectacular.
"The lyrical quality was getting some kind of stillness inside. If there is no stillness inside, the movements don't mean anything. I can see some core inside, something that's noble in all the dances. I think that's quite a spiritual quality," she said.
The Divine Performing Arts envisages to resurrecting China's 5000-year culture and history. Many of the numbers reflect some of the ancient attributes of the Chinese civilisation, revolving around respect for the divine, fidelity and filial piety.
The production is largely based on the artistic mastery of classical Chinese dance, which combines traditional ballet with more acrobatic-type movements. This is believed to allow for greater emotional expression.
Sydney is the second Australian city this year to host the Spectacular, after a successful four-show run in Melbourne's glamorous State Theatre last weekend. The next stop is Brisbane, followed by Canberra and Adelaide.
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