FORT WORTH, Texas—There was a beauty and clarity in the voices of sopranos Yu Ming and Huang Li that was most moving for Michael Rosenberger.
“I could listen to them all day long,” said Mr. Rosenberger at the Bass Performance Hall on March 15 after a Shen Yun Performing Arts performance.
Ms. Ming sang of choosing the right future, and Ms. Li of heaven. They were original Chinese compositions sang in the bel canto style, a vocal technique being revived by the New York-based performing arts company.
The Italian singing technique that prevailed in Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries was, in fact, similar to an ancient Chinese vocal technique, characterized by beauty and evenness in tone, legato phrasing, and being demanding of skill.
According to the company’s mission, revival seems to be at the center of what it does.
The songs, philosophical in nature, reflect on human life, bringing in the beliefs and values of the traditional Chinese culture. It is an ancient culture of longevity—5,000 years—but pushed to the brink of extinction in recent decades as China has been under communist rule.
But in Shen Yun, these traditions take center stage.
“It was an insight into the culture of China and the different regions, and the different time frames—and the dances and the performances were fantastic. Some of the moves were incredible, the costumes, the special effects,” Mr. Rosenberger said.
He and Ms. Denise Hayslip, an administrator and a dietitian respectively for local school districts, said they’d greatly enjoyed the classical Chinese dance (another ancient form) and song performance.
Mr. Rosenberger pointed out one scene to illustrate his amazement with the production, where long blue fans were used to the effect of water—“I mean, it was like a waterfall. It was amazing, just beautiful and [a] spectacle.”
“I would recommend this to everyone,” Mr. Rosenberger added, expounding on the importance of learning about different cultures. Mongolians in the vast grasslands, Tibetans atop the Himalayas, and a fireworks celebration as the backdrop to a northeastern folk dance were just some of the ethnic groups and regions highlighted.
“You really got a sense of some of the geographic areas of China and around China and some of their different take on the arts,” he said.
And most moving was the deep spiritual nature of the culture—which is believed to be divinely inspired.
During the soprano’s performances, he was grateful to be able to read the translated lyrics on the backdrop.
“That to me was kind of the most, in an inner sense, the most moving,” he said. “That to me was the most moving in a spiritual sense … I was like ‘oh wow,’ they’re singing about how we’re moving away from our traditions and our cultures and that we need to be reminded of that and move back in the other direction.”
Reporting by Amy Hu and Catherine Yang
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. For more information, visit Shen Yun Performing Arts.
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.