CALGARY, Canada—Among the many things Christopher and Natasha Barran share are their parents, their love of music, and their glowing praise of Sunday’s presentation of Shen Yun Performing Arts.
“It’s just amazing… absolutely amazing,” Christopher said after Shun Yun’s evening show at the Southern Jubilee Auditorium in Calgary. “I don’t believe it gets better than that, they’re among the best,” he added.
“Amazing!” Natasha agreed.
The siblings both described their impression of soprano soloist Haolan Geng who sang “Speaking of Predestination.”
“As soon as she was done, we just both jumped up and started clapping,” Natasha said. “Phenomenal … unbelievable,” she added. Christopher noted that he’s really able to appreciate the soprano’s vocal technique because he himself was trained in opera and knows what it takes to achieve “that power and that skill.”
The brother and sister have toured eastern Canada and performed overseas in Australia, Costa Rica, and across Asia, bringing their audiences what they like to call “world inspired” music. Christopher, who’s responsible for the musical arrangement, produced his album Song of The Angels with the help of multi platinum recording producer Michael Vail Blum in 2001 and is currently working on The Prince and the Gypsy with Natasha.
Natasha typically accompanies Christopher with her vocals, produces and writes songs, but also plays parts in well known theatrical productions. She played Aida in Elton John and Tim Rice’s Broadway musical Aida, Maria in Sound of Music and Velma in Chicago to name a few. Natasha attests to know some backstage quirks of grand productions.
“Those costumes are several hundred dollars each, their costume budget would have been in the hundreds of thousands. They were gorgeous … mind-blowing! Every time a different costume came on, I was like ‘Oh my God, I want that just to hang on my wall’ and then another one would come on, and ‘Oh my God.'”
Shen Yun costume artists research different Chinese dress styles across 5,000 years of China’s history and then use bright colours to tailor hundreds of costumes each season, according to the Shen Yun website.
The singer, songwriter, actress and occasional dancer claimed that the level of skill she saw tonight is almost unprecedented in the world of the performing arts. “The thing is that they made it look so easy that I think that people might have been lulled into the belief that it wasn’t as hard as it is, but I know how hard it is,” she assured.
Shen Yun Performing Arts is a New York based company that aims to revive traditional Chinese culture through dance and song. Many of the dance techniques, like jumps and tumbling techniques originated from traditional Chinese dance and impressed Natasha with their 5,000 year old history.
“One guy was doing splits in the air, five in a row, just from a standing position … one, after another, after another! Whoa, just unbelievable! Like all of them, just beautiful,” Natasha said.
The performance inspired and motivated Christopher. “Going to go home write some songs,” he said. For the rest of those who haven’t yet experienced Shen Yun, Christopher recommended they “go see it now!”
“It was priceless—couldn’t put a monetary value on that amount of art and all those years those people spent perfecting their craft and art,” he said. “You can’t put a price on that.”
Reporting by Justina Reichel and Kristina Skorbach.
Shen Yun Performing Arts has three equally large companies touring the world. Shen Yun Performing Arts Touring Company is playing at the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium in Calgary until Monday before continuing on to Edmonton for two shows at the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium.
For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org.