NEW YORK—Cristina Fontanelli, an opera singer and television personality, said she came away from Shen Yun Performing Arts appreciating more about the Chinese culture.
Ms. Fontanelli, a Brooklyn native, has been described in reviews as having no equal and being a vocal genius. She frequently appears at world-class venues such as the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., and New York’s Lincoln Center, where she saw Shen Yun perform on Saturday evening. She has appeared with and toured with many opera and theater companies, including the New York Grand opera, the Opera of Hong Kong, and the Cairo opera, and has toured throughout Asia, Europe, and the Americas.
Her vast repertoire includes being able to sing in eight languages.
Shen Yun’s award-winning sopranos and tenors—and the themes they conveyed—resonated with the star.
“They are very beautiful, their voices are beautiful. The songs they sang, I noticed very carefully, the lyrics of the songs, they are very profound. They are very meaningful,” she said.
The overall themes of the performance come from ancient Chinese culture and its virtues and principles.
“I was raised a Catholic, a Christian. I did not understand the Chinese also believe in Heaven and that your actions on Earth are watched and recognized,” she said. “It is a beautiful thing.”
Principally, she said she understands how the spiritual practice Falun Gong represents traditional values, and ties into the ancient Chinese culture.
Falun Gong is based on truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance, and has helped over 100 million Chinese return to the essence of the culture, according to Shen Yun’s website, but in 1999 the communist regime began a ruthless campaign against Falun Gong practitioners. They have held firm to their beliefs, though, and undertaken a vast peaceful resistance.
“Their spirit of compassion and tolerance manifest the very essence of China’s 5,000-year-old divine culture,” explains the company’s website.
Ms. Fontanelli said “it is important to know” about the traditional Chinese values.
“It makes me feel so warm-hearted towards the Chinese people, because it is universal: We all want truth, compassion and tolerance,” she said. “I just wish all the Chinese people could see this beautiful representation of the 5,000 years of the beautiful culture.”
Despite reviving the ancient culture, Shen Yun cannot currently perform in China.
“Shen Yun is based in New York where its artistic creators are able to freely express themselves and revive their ancient Chinese culture,” explains the company’s website.
“Such artistic freedom is unfortunately not present in China under the communist regime, which has co-opted and destroyed traditional arts. The courage and outspokenness of our artists is one of the reasons why Shen Yun is so well-loved.”
“We are fortunate in the U.S., and in a lot of the parts of the world, that we can see whatever we like,” said Ms. Fontanelli.
“This is a show of great beauty and it lifts up humanity,” she said.
Reporting by NTD Television and Zachary Stieber
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org.
Shen Yun Performing Arts is performing at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center through April 28.
The Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time. We have proudly covered audience reactions since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.