TORONTO—Retired restaurant owner Farah Rasha was full of warm praise for the Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra after enjoying the concert performance on Oct. 16 at Roy Thomson Hall.
“The show is fantastic. It is a dream music, very nice,” Ms. Rasha said.
A restaurant owner for 34 years in Toronto as well as Montreal, Ms. Rasha said she used to attend classical music concerts often and that she has an appreciation for Chinese culture, history, and music because she has a son who lives in Hong Kong whom she visits every few years.
“The spirit, you feel like flying with that music,” she said.
The Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra is a unique composite of a full Western orchestra with traditional Chinese instruments such as the erhu, pipa, and gong. This combination of instruments produces singular, full-bodied music that gracefully soars and dances throughout the venue.
The evening’s program included pieces by Dvořák, Puccini, and Berlioz, along with original compositions by Jing Xian and Junyi Tan, among others.
“They are all wonderful, especially the Chinese music, I like it,” said Ms. Rasha. “The classics, I know we hear it everywhere, but the Chinese is different.”
While listening to the Chinese music, Ms. Rasha said she felt “peace, happiness, quite relaxing really, and wonderful.”
One of the most loved Chinese instruments that isn’t common in North America is the erhu, a small two-stringed instrument that is held on the player’s lap. The music it produces is haunting and ethereal and yet can be used to imitate a wide range of sounds from the loud beat of galloping horses to the gentle babbling of a peaceful stream.
Describing her reaction to the piece titled “Sorrow Melts Away,” which features three erhus playing together, Ms. Rasha said it was “like song, like they are singing,” and noted that the sound was similar to the human voice.
Ms. Rasha found all of the classical pieces to be wonderful and said she would tell her friends that they certainly missed a great concert.
With reporting by Madalina Hubert and Pam McLennan
New York-based Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra comprises musicians from the four Shen Yun Performing Arts touring companies. Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time.
The orchestra’s North American tour runs through Oct. 27. The next city on the month-long tour is Chicago. For more information, visit www.shenyunperformingarts.org/symphony.