PITTSBURGH—Emma Johnson was delighted with the entire Shen Yun performance at the Benedum Center for the Performing Arts on Feb. 15, but she especially enjoyed the singing.
Based in New York, Shen Yun Performing Arts was established in 2006. Its mission: revive traditional Chinese culture—a rich history that has been all but wiped out by decades of communist rule, especially since the Cultural Revolution.
“The dancing was lovely, wonderful, and the music was spectacular,” Ms. Johnson said.
The dances she saw were inspired by 5,000 years of Chinese culture and were performed through classical Chinese and traditional ethnic dance.
Ms. Johnson also mentioned the spectacular costumes— hand-made garments in vivid colors that dazzle the eyes of many theatergoers.
Currently working in career development at Chatham University, Ms. Johnson was trained as a classical singer. “I am a soloist,” she explained. “I happen to sing so I have special appreciation for that.”
Having trained for over twenty years, Ms. Johnson considers herself a semi-professional singer. She is now member of the East Liberty Presbyterian Church Choir, where many of the members are professional musicians and music teachers.
Shen Yun tours with a full orchestra composed of both Western and Chinese instruments. The company also boasts three award-winning soloists.
Johnson’s music background gave her a greater appreciation of Shen Yun’s singers. “I thought they were powerful, very, very powerful,” she observed. “Good range, clarity—tenors, you know—how hard it is to come by good tenors. I really feel they were world-class tenors and sopranos.”
Reporting by Valerie Avore and Sharon Kilarski.
Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. Shen Yun Performing Arts Touring Company will perform at The Benedum Center for the Performing Arts, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Feb. 15 and 16.
For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org.