Sydney: Audiences Profoundly Moved by Shen Yun’s Inner Beauty and Grace (Photos)

( Shen Yun Performing Arts International Company played at the Sydney Capitol Theatre in Sydney, Australia, on February 8-23, 2011, to exuberant and appreciative audiences. Many distinguished guests were full of praise for the world-class performance and its unique presentation of China’s ancient stories and legends.

The audience enthusiastically applauds the Shen Yun Performing Arts performance on February 10, 2011 at the Sydney Capitol Theatre

Renowned musicians impressed by precision of Shen Yun

Susan Collins, a violinist, with her husband Johannes Fritzsch, a conductor, at Shen Yun Performing Arts in Sydney, on Feb. 8.

Johannes Fritzsch, a renowned, German-born conductor attended the show with his wife, Susan Collins, a violinist and an Australian Centenary Medal recipient. The couple were very impressed by Shen Yun, especially the precision of the performers.

Maestro Fritzsch has been a conductor for 25 years and is the chief conductor of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra. He is also the chief conductor of the Philharmonisches Orchester Graz and Grazer Oper in Austria.

“It was lovely, it was beautiful,” Mr. Fritzsch said of the show. “Very well paced and very well put together. I found the flow of the show very good.”

He particularly liked the digital backdrops and the two dance sets, Plum Blossom, and Herding on the Grasslands, which he said were his favorites.

Mr. Fritzsch thought the Shen Yun Orchestra was “excellent.”

“It was very, very good playing,” he said, adding, “It was extremely well timed, so precise with the stage and with the music.”

“We have three daughters and they would have loved this show, the costumes, the color,” he said.

Susan Collins, who performed as recitalist throughout Australia, USA, and Europe, currently lectures at the University of Newcastle Conservatorium.

“The sound of the orchestra was wonderful,” Ms. Collins said. “Even the sound of the strings wasn’t what you would expect for a normal Western orchestra. It was so immaculate.”

“I have heard Chinese instruments, but never mixed with Western instruments before.

“It was very precise, we were really taken by the timing of everything. Everything was put together so well.

“They had incredible strength—these dancers were leaping so high then landing with no noise.”

They were surprised how little they knew about some of the show’s contemporary themes, such as the courage of practitioners of the meditation discipline Falun Dafa in mainland China.

“What was extraordinary to us is that we knew so little about it before,” Ms. Collins said.

“I actually read up quite a bit before the show. I think it was very beautiful, with a very simple message, and it was beautiful.”

Regional arts CEO: Shen Yun is “very beautiful”

Meg Larken, chair of Regional Arts New South Wales, and Elizabeth Rogers, CEO of Regional Arts of NSW.

Also in the audience was Meg Larken, chair of Regional Arts New South Wales, and Elizabeth Rogers, CEO of Regional Arts of NSW.

“Great music and wonderful dancing,” Ms. Larken said of Shen Yun Performing Arts’ performance.

“We are very grateful to have tickets tonight to come and see this, because it’s very new to us and quite different from the things we’ve done.

“I’m learning about the wonderful movement … the movements are different, the music is different and the dancing is just amazing.”

Ms. Rogers agreed, “It’s very beautiful, and the full orchestra in the pit and the dance company it’s amazing.”

Ms. Larken added, “It is beautiful dancing and very skilled. It is a large company, there must be twenty or so people on stage at any given time. We will tell our friends [to see the show], we will most definitely tell our friends.”

One of the performances Recalling the Great Qin, brings to life the terracotta army which is currently on exhibition at the NSW Art Gallery, and which Ms. Larken had seen earlier that morning.

She also talked about the performance depicting present day China’s human rights abuses, saying, “I do know what’s happening in China. What we believe in here [in Australia] is everybody having their family life and the freedom to choose their religion and the freedom to choose their expressions.”

Actress Judy McBurney says Shen Yun “a very deep journey”

Australian actress Judy McBurney at the Capitol Theatre, after her first visit to see Shen Yun Performing Arts

Australian actress Judy McBurney, was aglow after seeing Shen Yun with two of her friends.

“I’m glowing; I had such a beautiful time,” Ms. McBurney said.

“I actually saw this last week; this is my second time—I had to come along this week with my friends, and it was even better. It is just magical,” she added.

Ms. McBurney loved everything about the show.

“I love the message, I love the dancing, I love the music, I love the backdrop, all the technological stuff—the way they had angels coming down [off the screen] and then appearing on stage. I have never seen that before,” she enthused. “That is absolutely completely new to me and it is wonderful. They are extremely talented and very special people.”

One message that she took from the show was the need to be perennially aware.

“There is so much deceit going on in this world, and the message to me was, ‘Trust in God, trust in yourself and most importantly, be aware. Only with awareness can we survive and have a beautiful life.’ That is the message that I got that is most important, to be aware, and to trust your heart and to love.”

Ms. McBurney said that she also loved the Shen Yun Orchestra.

“It was incredible with the Eastern and Western instruments. They were a beautiful blend. I had to keep looking down to remind myself that is was a live orchestra. I thought it was just beautiful with the Chinese instruments and the Western instruments. Fantastic!”

Each of the solo vocalists’ songs seemed to pack a lot of meaning for Ms. McBurney.

“Amazing, they sang from their heart, and because I couldn’t understand what they were singing, I loved the way they had it on the backdrop, they had it written in English, as well. You could really get what they were singing, and it was extremely important to understand, because it was very deep, very spiritual, very beautiful.”

Ms. McBurney thought the pianist was also wonderful, accentuating the beauty of the female performers.

“She just sat there. She had music, but she didn’t look at the music. She was just playing and I thought, ‘amazing, just amazing and extremely beautiful.’ All the women were so beautiful and the men were so beautiful and strong, and I loved the costumes … they were fabulous, everything was perfect. I have never seen a show like this before—except for last week!”

Ms. McBurney also teaches deportment, costumes and wardrobe for the renowned model and beauty agency, June Dally-Watkins.

“I just thought they were so feminine, so elegant, so regal,” she said. “I think a lot of the ladies around today aren’t like that, especially in the West. A lot of us aren’t like that. The ladies, the dancers on stage, they were so beautiful and feminine. I think a lot of us should think about that and remember that we are not boys.”

Ms. McBurney was clearly moved by her experience of Shen Yun, as evidenced by her concluding remarks.

“I would say, it’s the most amazing experience I’ve ever had, and I’m an actress, I have seen a lot of shows, and you really can’t explain it. I said to the people I brought along tonight, just come along and see it, I really can’t explain. It is a real journey and it is a very deep journey, and come along.”

Musician and entertainer absolutely recommends Shen Yun

Accomplished musician and entertainer Margaret Britt saw the show at Sydney’s Capitol Theatre on Feb. 10.

Margaret Britt, an accomplished musician and international entertainer, said that she was not impressed by any particular part or section of the show, rather, she was impressed by “all of it, all of it.”

“I was just blown away by the whole lot, it was fantastic,” she said.

“We really enjoyed this tonight. I came with another lady who is a dancer. We thought the costuming and everything was fantastic.”

Ms. Britt can play six different instruments, and says she currently plays lead guitar, harmonica, plus lead vocals as a duo or band.

Having a developed, critical eye for musical quality, Ms. Britt thought the Shen Yun Orchestra was “awesome—the orchestra was just fantastic … love it, love it.”

Shen Yun a wonderful cultural experience says writer

Rosalind Bradley with her friend, Julie Tregarthen, at Shen Yun Performing Arts.

Rosalind Bradley, a writer from Sydney, said Shen Yun was “a wonderful Chinese cultural experience,” and that she was “very impressed” by the show.

She also learned a bit about China and its deep spiritual past.

“You know, you have got the history of China in dance … and that was wonderful,” she said.

Ms. Bradley described the dance set, Little Mischievous Monks, as “very fine, very precise … as you’d expect.”

“It was certainly very beautiful … the female dancers were very genteel. I thought generally the level of skill was absolutely beautiful—it was fantastic. It was quite a spectacle, it’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before,” she said

Ms. Bradley said that she will definitely come back next year and will share her experience of Shen Yun with others.

Richard Neville: “There’s a great heart at the soul of this performance”

Richard Neville with Linda Jackson at Shen Yun Performing Arts on Friday evening.

Richard Neville, author, social commentator, and champion of free speech, said that he found the show to be “fascinating.”

“I was intrigued by the mixture of entertainment, spirituality … It’s unusual,” he said.

Mr. Neville described some dance scenes as “absolutely exciting and unexpected. The images were terrific,” adding that he had found the production “courageous and interesting. I enjoyed it.”

The opera singers also impressed him.

“I was very moved by some of the individual performers,” he said. “The baritone, the concert conductor, the pianist, and the people singing to microphone with spectacular voices. It was very moving, so I know there’s a great heart at the soul of this performance.”

Although not an expert on China, Falun Gong, or the “discrimination” that is occurring in China, Mr. Neville said, “I’m very sympathetic to people who explore outside the mainstream, who are looking for more than just capitalism and material success. So I found it a really interesting mixture and I look forward to getting to understand some of the issues in a deeper way.”

Elaborating further, Mr. Neville said, “I think that even in Australia, which is quite a material country, people are eager to explore issues beyond just shopping, acquiring, vanity, and wealth.”

Mr. Neville concluded, “I think a whole generation of people is exploring consciousness issues and, of course, this program touches on those consciousness issues, so I think … it adds to the general kind of curiosity of individuals to find out more than just what goes on in the mainstream; to extend the boundaries of our curiosity and interest.”

Chinese version available


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