“The soprano was operatic—she was magnificent. And, the tenor was very, very good. The pitch was perfect, their technique was flawless,” she said of New York-based Shen Yun’s performance on Sept. 25.
Lovell, a musician and music teacher, was effusive in her praise after watching a matinee session in Houston’s Wortham Center Brown Theater.
This week, Shen Yun—a performing arts company whose mission is to bring back China’s 5,000 years of traditional culture through music, dance, and storytelling—has multiple performances taking place in Houston.
“The soprano’s technique was different than many that I have heard. Her vibrato was different, the timbre of her voice, but it was very, very pleasing to the ear. I liked it,” she said.
Shen Yun’s singers have been trained in the bel canto style—in essence, the traditional technique of singing in the upper register—that has now been lost.
Lovell also noted that the instruments in Shen Yun’s orchestra blended perfectly. Shen Yun’s orchestra is unique in that it combines traditional Chinese and Western instruments.
“The soloists were wonderful, the pianist was wonderful, and the dancers were magnificent,” Lovell said.
Shen Yun ‘Top Notch’
“Top notch! Absolutely!” Peter Dorsey, Jr., said of the Shen Yun performance. “Very precise. There was some humorous moments; there were some more sad scenes. It was an even mix of comedy as well as tragedy.”
Dorsey Jr., an HR director for Honeywell, saw Shen Yun with his father, Peter Dorsey, a retired vice-president of sales for Officemax, and his mother, Susan Dorsey.
The pageantry was impressive, said Dorsey Sr: “The colors, the explanation of what was behind it, the symbolic meanings of dance and the story, and the music … it was all woven together very nicely!”
Shen Yun’s dances portray ancient legends, history, folklore, as well as stories of morality and spiritual teachings.
Dorsey said the performance had him reflect on the meaning of life: “That we’re all in the same boat, that we’re all human and we all have a past. It’s good to know what that is and it’s good to have something to navigate from or navigate toward with the idea of where you came from.”
For Susan Dorsey, there were many aspects of Shen Yun that impressed her—the costumes, storytelling, and learning about China’s history. She also appreciated the spirituality in Shen Yun.
“That was phenomenal! I didn’t know what I was in store for when I came. I enjoyed it! It was class A,” she said.
Shen Yun was such a unique experience, said Rinda Phillips, a former ballet dancer who now runs and owns a Pilates studio. She came to see Shen Yun with her husband, Stu Phillips, a computer programmer.
“It’s magical—because they’re doing so much more than just their perfect technique, expressions, and their posturing,” she said.
“[The dancers] seem taller and longer than they are. As a dancer, the one thing you want to be able to do—is present length,” said Phillips, drawing on her dance experience.
Reporting by Sherry Dong and Diane Cordemans.