Opera Singer Says Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra Is ‘Pristine’

October 6, 2013 Updated: November 17, 2017

NEW YORK—Ms. Sofia Antonakos, an opera singer, had a memorable experience at the Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall on Oct. 5. 

The orchestra presents pieces from its own repertoire of original compositions, as well as a number of masterpieces from the Western classical tradition. 

Ms. Antonakos, a native of Greece, said the dynamic of the orchestra was beautiful. The singer has been training in New York City since August 2012 under Mark Oswald, opera coach of the Metropolitan Opera House.

“I loved it,” she said. “I loved it all.” She then added that she could tell by the reaction of the audience “that they were very touched by what they heard.” 

“Everyone had standing ovations, and I looked around, and people were almost in tears—and they were all very, very happy,” she said. 

Ms. Antonakos, who started private voice training when she was 10, and who has had extensive formal training, said she particularly loved the singers, remarking that each had his or her “own beautiful color,” and “own beautiful tones.” 

Of tenor Mr. Tian Ge, she remarked that he was “superb.” She added: “The mixture of color was fantastic—the way that he expressed what he was saying—I could tell that he was very passionate about his work. And it came across. Beautiful color, beautiful tones. I loved the drama.”

Of soprano Ms. Haolan Geng, she said that she was very beautiful. She remarked on Ms. Geng’s beautiful poise. “I could tell that the music was vibrating through her body, because she was so expressive. As the music went along she was using every part of her to express the music.”

Rich Culture

Ms. Antonakos said the overall performance sounded like it was about the beauty of art, and about nature, and that the performers were trying to express that beauty through culture. 

“I could tell that it was very rich in culture, very rich in the Asian feel, and that was my favorite part. But when it went more modern, it was more American,” she said. 

Dance and Rhythm

The New York-based Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra is part of internationally-acclaimed Shen Yun Performing Arts, which features Classical Chinese dance accompanied by orchestral music. 

Ms. Antonakos said that she could imagine the dancers of Shen Yun Performing Arts dancing to the music.

“Shen Yun’s all-original works combine Chinese and Western instruments and draw upon the rich culture of China’s 5,000 years,” the orchestra’s website states. 

Ms. Antonakos said that she had never heard rhythms such as those produced by the Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra.

Each of the four maestros had his own variety of sounds, his own rhythms, and his own interpretation of the music.

“It was very pristine,” she said. 

Reporting by Tracey Zhu and Zachary Stieber

Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra is on a seven-city tour with performances in Washington, D.C., New York, Boston, Houston, Dallas, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, from Sept. 27–Oct. 22. For more information, visit Symphony.Shenyun.com