BUENOS AIRES—A celebrated former judge was among hundreds of theatergoers at Teatro Ópera Citi on Dec. 15, 2012, who came to see Shen Yun Performing Arts International Company during its 8-day run in the nation’s capital.
Octavio Aráoz de Lamadrid , a former judge-turned-lawyer, said he loved “everything” about Shen Yun—a classical Chinese dance and music company that aims to revive 5,000 years of traditional Chinese culture through the performing arts.
“Everything was excellent,” he said after the performance.
“I loved the show. I thought it was very good—very dynamic, entertaining, very colorful—it was great.”
Mr. Lamadrid is no stranger to Chinese history. In 2009 he became known for his ruling in a historic genocide case when he issued arrest warrants for two top Chinese communist party officials for their role in persecuting the spiritual practice Falun Gong.
The case set a precedent for Argentina because it was the first time that extraterritoriality had been used in the country to pursue crimes against humanity.
Mr. Lamadrid said he appreciated the “historical path” that Shen Yun displayed, referring to the story-based dances in the performance that span China’s 5,000-year history.
“I liked it a lot how they conveyed it,” he said, adding that he appreciated how the emcees explained the stories and their meaning before each dance.
According to the official website, Shen Yun seeks to revive divinely-inspired Chinese culture and art forms, which were all but destroyed by the Chinese communist regime.
“After more than 60 years of Communist rule in China, and especially after the Cultural Revolution, Chinese traditional culture has been all but completely demolished. However, the deeper spiritual core of the ancient culture, with its values of benevolence, honor, propriety, wisdom, and sincerity, as well as a reverence for the gods and the heavens, cannot be destroyed,” says the Shen Yun website.
“In order to restore and revive Chinese traditional culture, a group of overseas Chinese artists established Shen Yun in New York in 2006.”
Mr. Lamadrid said the music in Shen Yun was enjoyable because it was very “balanced” and gave him a pleasant, joyful feeling.
“I loved it; the sensation was very nice—it’s a joy,” he said.
Shen Yun features an array of unique musical performances—the company travels with its own orchestra that combines both traditional Chinese and Western-style instruments.
“The ability to seamlessly blend these two systems to create one fresh, harmonious sound is what makes the Shen Yun Performing Arts Orchestra unique,” says the Shen Yun website.
Mr. Lamadrid said the combination of East and West in the orchestra was excellent. “It is well done, really very good,” he said.
“I thought it was very balanced, the orchestra, the singers, everything was very good.”
The show also includes performances by vocal soloists who use a unique bel canto vocal technique while singing Chinese lyrics.
“The singer must grasp the highly difficult technical requirements of bel canto operatic singing while retaining the proper Chinese articulation and diction—today, this is unparalleled,” says the Shen Yun website.
Mr. Lamadrid called the many costumes seen throughout the performance “incredible.”
“Every costume in a Shen Yun performance is presented with brilliant colors, displaying a splendid spectacle—from the Tang Dynasty’s “Raiment of Rainbows and Feathers” to imperial dragon robes, phoenix coronets, and cloud capes, from the civil official’s headdress and robes to the warrior’s helmet and armor, and from the traditional rightward cross-collared Han clothing to the ethnic attire of the Manchurian, Tibetan, Dai, Mongol, and Uyghur ethnic groups,” says the Shen Yun website.
“The wardrobe is incredible, very colorful,” said Mr. Lamadrid, adding he was impressed with the level of talent in the performances.
“The skills of everybody are incredible, very good.”
With reporting by Martin Czertok and Justina Wheale.
New York-based Shen Yun has three companies that tour the world each year on a mission to revive 5,000 years of traditional Chinese culture
For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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