COSTA MESA, Calif.—For Jim Klapthor, a former broadcaster who currently works in media and public relations for a large insurance company, watching Shen Yun Performing Arts Saturday, April 16, was refreshing.
He attended the evening performance at Segerstrom Center for the Arts, which was sold out.
“There’s terrific talent on the floor,” he said. “There’s no question the stage is brilliant. There’s great talent. I thought the costuming was excellent, and helps to tell the story as well.”
Shen Yun is the world’s premier classical Chinese dance and music company, and tours to more than 100 cities in 20 countries across five continents each year on its mission to revive the rich beauty and values of China’s cultural heritage.
Each performance includes approximately 20 vignettes that serve as a portal into 5,000 years of Chinese civilization. Ancient myths and legends unfold before the audience’s eyes, while ethnic and folk dances from Tibet, Mongolia, and northern China warm their hearts.
Mr. Klapthor wasn’t expecting Shen Yun’s presentation format.
“It’s terrific,” he said. “The vignettes tell their own individual story, and so I found it very unique.”
The performance includes vocal soloists whose songs are brimming with philosophical reflection about life.
The soprano was a delight for Mr. Klapthor.
“Well, the diva was quite remarkable,” he said, adding that the songs were more dynamic and forthright than he expected, “but quite frankly, I found it refreshing.”
Shen Yun’s program book explains the uniqueness of the company’s vocal soloists.
It states, “Ancient Chinese theater and early European opera shared the same singing technique, believed to produce the most beautiful and pure ton of voice. Both in Europe and China, however, this original technique has largely been lost. Today, Shen Yun’s singers are bringing it back to the stage. They are further distinguished by their unparalleled ability to sing this form of bel canto with perfect Chinese diction.”
Shen Yun’s dancers are accompanied by a full, live orchestra that combines Eastern and Western instruments. Western instruments serve as the foundation, while ancient Chinese instruments lead the melodies. The result is quite pleasing to the ear. “The ensemble at once expresses both the grandeur of a Western orchestra and the distinct sensibilities of China’s 5,000-year-old civilization,” states the company website.
“The orchestra was really well received,” Mr. Klapthor said. Indeed, audience members clapped with their hands raised during the curtain call.
Audience members often express wonder about the precise coordination of the dancers and the orchestra, where the sounds even match the exact step of the dancers.
“There’s a lot of sophistication and a lot of practice and rehearsal that goes into it, I’m sure,” he said. “As a lay person, it’s very difficult really to understand how much precision is necessary to pull this all off, but they do it quite well.”
Mr. Klapthor summarily described his experience as a wonderful evening.
Reporting by NTD Television and Albert Roman
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.