MIAMI—On Oct. 15, vibrant, multicultural Miami welcomed a fresh sound onto one of its many stages. The Adrienne Arsht Center presented Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra—with its perfect combination of Eastern instrumentation and Western symphony—leaving theatergoers loving what they heard.
Dr. Oaklander, a retired physician who has served as a past board member of the New World Symphony, said of the performance, “I loved it. It’s a huge orchestra.”
The New World Symphony is an American orchestral academy that prepares talented graduates for positions in orchestras and ensembles around the world.
“It was very good, and I loved both singers—the soprano and the tenor. They’re both great, a lot of talent,” Dr. Oaklander said.
Those who hear Shen Yun Orchestra are fortunate, as they experience something quite rare. The vocal performances Dr. Oaklander appreciated display an art form that was nearly lost.
The Shen Yun website says, “Ancient Chinese theatre and early European opera shared the same singing technique, believed to produce the most beautiful and pure tone of voice.” This is known as the bel canto technique.
“Only Shen Yun’s singers are now again using this traditional and ancient technique on the modern stage. Their ability to perform bel canto while retaining perfect Chinese diction is unparalleled,” the company website states.
Dr. Oaklander was also taken by the Chinese instruments—the erhu, in particular.
“There is some instrument that sounded exactly like voices,” he said, describing the two-stringed erhu, or what is commonly called the Chinese violin.
Yet it should not be mistaken for a violin. The erhu has been around for over 4,000 years. It has no frets, its bow is strung with horsetail hair, and the head of its sound box is made of python skin.
The Shen Yun website states: “In the hands of a master, the erhu transforms into a vehicle of joy, sorrow, grace, or tenderness. It has been said that the erhu is the instrument most resembling the human voice.”
“There really were voices!” Dr. Oaklander said jovially about the instrument.
‘Like a Blessing’
Also in the audience was engineer Joshua Schwartz, who singled out enjoying the singing, the lead violinist, and most of all, he said, “all the percussion.”
“I felt very positive and uplifted, and [was] smiling, and everybody seems to just be appreciative,” Mr. Schwartz said.
The stories behind Shen Yun’s music are often tales of inspiration and endurance, and carry themes of light overcoming darkness—having hope in the future world. In such stories, the main characters are deities, wise men, heavenly maidens, emperors, or kings.
“Behind all of Shen Yun’s music lies the belief that, like many enduring traditions, both classical Western and Chinese music are truly divine gifts,” the Shen Yun website explains.
Mr. Schwartz added, “It sounds heavenly. It sounds like a blessing, and being appreciative of being alive. I agree with that.”
After departing from Miami, the orchestra will travel north to Chicago and Boston. The tour’s last performance in the South this season will be in Atlanta on Oct. 27. For information about the orchestra’s October performances, visit ShenYun.com/Symphony.
Reporting by Jada Yeung and Adam Miller
The Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time and has covered audience reactions since the company’s inception in 2006.