TORONTO—The Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra presented a superb performance at Roy Thomson Hall on Oct. 23 that saw two curtain calls and three encores, and an article about the concert in the next issue of the Toronto Waterfront Magazine will be sure to delight and inform readers.
Karim Mirshahi, founder and publisher of the lifestyle magazine especially designed for the Toronto waterfront community, was among the enthusiastic audience on Sunday afternoon.
“I loved it. It was a great performance. … I totally enjoyed it,” Mr. Mirshahi said.
The Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra offers a unique musical experience in that it uses a Western symphony orchestra to present and revive China’s authentic traditions. A Western orchestra plays the foundation while traditional Chinese instruments lead the melodies.
Being of Persian background, Mr. Mirshahi said he could relate well to the sound of the Chinese instruments, since there are similar sounds between Chinese and Persian instruments.
“You’re bringing thousands of years of musical background and instruments together with more Western-type instruments. It’s great. I loved it,” he said.
Also in the audience were Toronto Waterfront Magazine managing editor Ross Munroe and his wife, Virginia Munroe, also an editor of the magazine.
“It was really inspiring. I thought it was a wonderful amalgamation of traditional Chinese music and Western music, and it’s really uplifting,” said Mr. Munroe, who has a musical background in playing the violin and trumpet.
“I found it enthralling. I loved it,” said Mrs. Munroe, pointing in particular to a piece called “The Mystical Udumbara,” about a flower that blooms only once every 3,000 years.
The udumbara flower’s appearance signifies the return of a great figure—the Buddhist “Holy King Who Turns the Wheel”—who is said to bring salvation to the world, as explained in the program book.
Against a background of Western string, brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments, the traditional Chinese pipa and erhu extol the subtle and ethereal beauty of the udumbara.
“Beautiful instruments too,” Mr. Munroe said. “Really subtle undertones with the Chinese instruments that kind of sends a shiver up your spine.”
Mrs. Munroe agreed, noting in particular how the erhu stood out for her. The two-stringed Chinese instrument has a history of 4,000 years and is often likened to the human voice.
“The erhu, we thought they were singers,” she said. “In the orchestra we couldn’t figure out where they were. The instrument is just like a human voice.”
She also praised the two vocal soloists: soprano Haolan Geng and tenor Tian Ge. A primary characteristic that distinguishes the Shen Yun singers is their use of the bel canto operatic technique to sing Chinese text.
“The soloists, the soprano and tenor, absolutely wonderful, completely enjoyed it,” said Mrs. Munroe.
Mr. Munroe said he and his wife will be attending the Shen Yun Performing Arts classical Chinese dance performance when it plays in Toronto in late February and early March at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. The Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra consists of members of the orchestras that tour the world every year with the classical Chinese dance company.
“We’re looking forward to seeing it with the entire extravaganza,” he said.
As for the Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra, “I’ll be emailing everybody and again saying the word ‘enthralling,'” said Mrs. Munroe.
Reporting by NTD Television and Cindy Chan
New York-based Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra comprises musicians from the four Shen Yun Performing Arts touring companies. For information about the October performances, visit: ShenYun.com/Symphony
The Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time and has covered audience reactions since the company’s inception in 2006.