AUCKLAND, New Zealand—Shen Yun Performing Arts arrived in New Zealand for its first show at Auckland’s ASB Theatre playing to an enthusiastic crowd on April 20.
New York-based Shen Yun is a classical Chinese dance and music company whose mission is to revive the 5000-year-old traditional Chinese culture.
In the audience was New Zealand’s world-renowned opera singer and teacher, Malvina Major, who was ecstatic in her praises of the performers.
Ms. Major counts amongst her successes winning the New Zealand Mobil Song Quest, the Australian Melbourne Sun Aria and the Kathleen Ferrier Award in London, according to her website.
“It was lovely, it was wonderful and it’s a wonderful contrast to the dance to have that little item in the middle,” she said referring to the vocalists. “It’s a wonderful contrast.”
She particularly admired the voice of the soprano, Chia-Ning Hsu who sang “What is the Meaning of Life”.
“Her voice was really beautiful,” she said noting that she had also enjoyed listening to tenor Tian Ge.
Shen Yun vocalists use the very difficult bel canto opera style of singing while retaining the proper Chinese articulation and diction which, says the Shen Yun website, is unparalleled today.
“The other thing that struck me tonight was the composition of the music. It has that wonderful … the music we associate with ancient China … in it, but it’s in a modern context—it’s wonderful, just wonderful,” she eulogized.
The music and the movements of the dancers worked together with absolute precision, said Ms. Major. “Everything was depicted in the music.”
Ms. Major was thrilled that Shen Yun was bringing back the traditional Chinese culture, saying that she found the stories portrayed in the dances delightful.
“And the other thing is the gracefulness of both the men and the women. And their rhythm-in the bodies of the men, you could see the rhythm … it’s just amazing,” she said.
After watching, The Choice a dance that recounted the difficulties faced by the persecuted spiritual group, Falun Dafa, Ms. Major said she had been surprised.
“It’s terribly sad,” she said explaining that she had not realised that persecution of spiritual groups was still taking place In China.
Falun Dafa is a meditation practice which includes a set of five exercises and whose followers aim to become better people by practising truthfulness, compassion and tolerance.
“I am absolutely delighted. I will come again if I possibly can. I will see it again,” concluded Ms. Major.
Accompanying Ms. Major was her friend and retired dairy farmer Patricia Hancock.
“It was just incredible,” said Mrs. Hancock, adding that she had never seen anything like Shen Yun before.
The synchronization of the performance, the colours and the costumes left a huge impression, said Mrs. Hancock.
“You just couldn’t fault a thing,” she said.
Reporting by Margo MacVicar and Diane Cordemans.
Shen Yun Performing Arts, based in New York, tours the world on a mission to revive traditional Chinese culture. Shen Yun Performing Arts Company will perform at the ASB Theatre, Auckland, 21 and 22nd April.
For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org.