Julie Nesrallah on Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra: ‘It’s just perfect’

“It was my first time, and it was perfection. I thought the orchestra played with so much warmth, nuance, and passion. I thought the conductor was brilliant. I thought all the soloists were absolutely dazzling.”

“It was a brilliant combination of the East and the West. [Shen Yun] played the Tchaikovsky [“The Sleeping Beauty”], …”Carmen Fantasy,” Wagner [Kaisermarsch WWV 104], interspersed with the Chinese compositions, which was amazing. They had a little bit of this, a little bit of that, very different layers and flavors. Just a perfect, beautiful night out, I would recommend it to anyone, it’s just perfect.”

“I loved the violin solo. The ‘Carmen Fantasy’ is famous, and because I sing the ‘Carmen’ as well, I was able to sing the words in my head … her virtuosity was so exciting, especially the very soft high notes, they were just beautiful. Also even just the lines, it’s not just her playing, even her lines, and the negotiating of all the different registers, it was just incredible, it was dazzling.”

“I would recommend it to anyone. It’s just perfect.”

“You have these very tender, delicate things happening [with the Chinese instruments performing], but then there is the support of a full orchestra, and this combination is just—I like to use the word ‘delicious’ because you get all this flavor, but with this big sound underneath. It was amazing, excellent. And you’re watching these women play [the erhu], and they’re so elegant, and they have so much poise and composure on top of it. So the sound, but also the visual of it was very beautiful.”

“The singer [Haolan Geng, soprano] had a voice that was so strong and compelling, and the whole presentation was just superb, just perfection. I loved it.”

“When she opened her mouth, it was so powerful. She’s so small, and this voice that came out, it was shimmering like silver. It carries all the way—so much strength that carried all the way to the end of the hall. … The sound of her voice was just very powerful. … A very unique voice, lots of silver in her tone which I like. I like it very much.”

“It is important to keep that bel canto technique alive because it is quality, and I think people, even if they don’t know what bel canto is, will feel quality. They know it when they hear it.”

“This is much different than anything I’ve ever heard before … The concept is brilliant, and D.F. [Shen Yun’s artistic director] is the composer of all this. It was just one after another. It was unbelievable.”

“His compositions were very powerful, and very importantly, entertaining. When you have a long day or long week, you go to see this show, and you feel good, you feel uplifted.”

“I liked that [piece “Homage to the Great Tang Dynasty”] very much because you could feel the energy of the title, of something being created in the universe. It was very effective. [D.F.] is really excellent. It was all beautiful.”

“I think tonight’s experience was an amazing display of virtuosity, of talent, of something different, of extraordinary warmth, nuance, power, and extremely entertaining.”

“I’m sorry that I didn’t get to see the dancers [of Shen Yun Performing Arts when they were last in town]. Next time, I want to see the dancers. Just real perfection, and the conductor [Milen Nachev] was also a lovely presence. His personality was good and everyone in the orchestra looked happy to be there as well. Everyone was smiling and looked very happy and into it, which I think is really important.”

Julie Nesrallah, mezzo soprano, host of CBC Radio 2 national flagship classical music program
Roy Thomson Hall, Toronto, Canada
Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra
October 5, 2018