The New York Touring Company of Shen Yun Performing Arts caused quite a sensation at the Wiener Stadthalle, in Vienna, Austria, on March 1-2, 2013. Audiences were treated to two high-spirited shows put on by the world's best Chinese dance and music group.
“Shen Yun Refreshes the Soul and Opens the Eyes,” Says Violinist
|Mr. Yury Revich, a violin soloist and a native from Russia, was amazed to hear the Shen Yun Orchestra, as well as the two-stringed erhu. (Florian Godovits/The Epoch Times)|
Many artists and musicians were in the audience, including Yuri Revich, a young solo violinist from Moscow, Russia who now lives in Vienna. He said he was thrilled to see Shen Yun.
“Some friends told me about this show and I also read media reports that sounded very interesting,” he said. “This gave me the impetus to buy a ticket, despite living on a very tight time schedule due to my world travels.”
“I made sure to be in town when Shen Yun performed at the Stadthalle,” he added.
“Shen Yun refreshes the soul and opens the eyes to something different and new that comes from China,” he explained. “I can only say, ‘What a large project!’”
Mr. Revich thoroughly enjoyed the Shen Yun Orchestra, which is unique because it combines traditional Chinese and classical Western instruments to create a distinct harmony.
“I’m so thrilled to have listened to the orchestra because of its excellent performance and high calibre.”
“Without a doubt, I gave the musical performance a great deal of attention because I’m a violinist,” he said.
“I was amazed at the cooperation between the string and woodwind players. The musical arrangements were perfect. I am excited to have experienced this part of Shen Yun tonight.”
He said it was his first time hearing the two-stringed erhu, also called the Chinese violin.
“Ah! The Chinese violin! I have been curious for some time to listen to that instrument during a live performance,” he said. “I have watched videos and other media, which just don’t do justice to the instrument. It was an experience I had longed for and finally came across. Amazing!”
He described the erhu musician as “a remarkable person,” adding, “Her technique is outstanding. The way she plays is amazing.”
Mr. Revich concluded, “The show brings laughter, happiness, and joie de vivre. This is what everyone should remember most about the show.”
“This Show Is Exceptional,” says Opera Singer
|"This show is exceptional," says Clemens Unterreiner, a singer at the Vienna State Opera. (Photo courtesy of the Epoch Times)|
Also seated in the audience was Clemens Unterreiner, an opera singer with the Vienna State Opera.
“I very much enjoyed the show because we were not only presented with classical elements that weave throughout Chinese culture, especially the Chinese dance cultures, but also the fusion with our European culture,” Mr. Unterreiner said during intermission.
He was especially happy to hear the Chinese bel canto singers. “We were pleased to get to listen to a soprano, as well as a tenor. This blending of cultures is very special and of great importance in these times.”
He elaborated, “We live in a global world, so the interchange of cultures, the understanding of cultural diversity, is of great importance.
“The message that can be integrated through the arts and culture, especially concerning various problems affecting the international community, is unique. This integration was done perfectly through the choreography and the music.”
Mr. Unterreiner explained his thinking from yet another angle. “One is drawn towards a completely different culture and a totally different thought process. The cultural diversity appealed to me the most.”
He said that he has always had great interest in the relationships between different cultures. “Bringing ancient culture and traditions to the present is remarkable,” he explained.
“In a manner of speaking, the rediscovery of ancient culture, to bring out all of that, which was buried, is of great importance. I’m pleased that today’s people are learning about the past and are reconnecting to the roots and traditions of the past. What an important mission!”
He also commented on being able to hear the Shen Yun songs in Chinese.
“It’s exceptional to listen to the songs in another language. I have worked with Asian opera singers and it pleases me tremendously to listen to such voices in a different language. But, especially because the language we hear today is not heard on the stage of any opera house.”
He said he was delighted to see Shen Yun include contemporary Chinese history, and commented on how artistically Shen Yun presented the Falun Gong human rights issue.
“Making such a statement is very important in today’s times. However, making the statement in a cultural context was very impressive,” he said.
Before returning to his seat to watch the second half of the show, he said, “I think that there is a blending of different concepts. Therefore, I’m certain that I will gain the most complete understanding of the intent of the artists by the end of the show.”
The Chinese Musicians’ “Performance Was Flawless,” Says Retired Musician
|Professor Guenter Lorenz, retired musician of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and his daughter, Gerlinde Lorenz, were impressed with Shen Yun. (Photo courtesy of the Epoch Times)|
Another arts enthusiast, Professor Guenter Lorenz, attended the show with his daughter, Gerlinde Lorenz.
Mr. Lorenz is a retired musician of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and is renowned for playing the oboe and English horn.
He was clearly impressed by Shen Yun, saying, “This show is just so different from what we generally see in our region. The time just passed so fast and everything is worthwhile seeing.”
His daughter, Gerlinde, agreed: “The show was fantastic … There were times when I was deeply touched, but I can’t tell you for sure which scenes touched me the most. But, the scene, 'An Early Spring,' was quite emotional for me.”
Mr. Lorenz was also impressed by the Shen Yun Orchestra, calling their performance “flawless.”
“One could hear that the music was different from what we are used to. They worked well together and I assume they play very often as one group,” he explained.
Ms. Lorenz thought it “was important that the Shen Yun performance was accompanied by a live orchestra,” adding, “I must say that they played perfectly. … It was very well done.”
They both enjoyed the digitally animated backdrops and how they enhanced each story with scenes from China’s regions and dynasties.
“The optical illusion presented by the backdrop was amazing. What astounded me was how people flew up and came back down on the backdrop!” Mr. Lorenz concluded.
“Never Forget the Connection Between Heaven and Earth,” Says Art Restorer
|Maria Ranacher was impressed with the spiritual content of Shen Yun Performing Arts (Photo courtesy of NTD Television)|
Another delighted guest of the show was Maria Ranacher, a restorer of paintings and other art objects. She is also involved in the conservation of Austria’s cultural heritage.
Ms. Ranacher said that she had looked forward to watching the show since the day she held the tickets in her hands.
“I’m deeply touched seeing the revival of the ancient Chinese culture, the skill of the dancers, the elegance and the spiritual content in the show,” she enthused.
“The message brought by the show about Falun Dafa, also called Falun Gong, was very impressive. I do know about the repression of religion and freedom in China,” said Ms. Ranacher.
She was referring to the dance sets depicting the brutal persecution of Falun Dafa, a Chinese spiritual practice that was taught in China since the early 1990s, but has been persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party since July 1999.
Ms. Ranacher’s heart was touched by the spiritual message in Shen Yun. “The marvellous scene that shows the connection between heaven and earth [saying] that we can be certain that the divine will watch over us when we are on earth, touched me deeply. The connection between heaven and earth was represented exceptionally well by the artists.”
She continued, “I was very impressed with the spiritual content and that the people, despite the suffering, hold strong in their belief. In my opinion, it is also of great importance that we in the West never forget the connection between heaven and earth.”
Ms. Ranacher related her profession to Shen Yun's mission, saying, “It is of utmost importance to me, personally, that culture and art be kept alive and not destroyed by today’s commercialization.”
She concluded by saying that Shen Yun’s digitally animated backdrops “enhance the scenes” and that the effect “was very impressive.”
“A Fantastic Message,” Says Dancer
|Ms. Beatrix Trinks attends Shen Yun Performing Arts at the Wiener Stadthalle on March 2. (Photo courtesy of The Epoch Times)|
Audience member, Beatrix Trinks, who teaches meditative dance, attended the show accompanied by her friend.
“We both enjoyed the performance. It was fantastic. The dance performances were awesome,” said Ms. Trinks.
As a dancer and teacher of dance, Ms. Trinks watched the body control of the dancers on stage, and was impressed with the synchronization.
“I can visualize the amazing dance in step—everything looked so effortless,” she said. “But I know how much training is required to reach that point of lightness.”
She continued, “There was airiness and a charm, as well as a lot of positive energy, which is unique in our time. We received a fantastic message!
“It was great in scope, which I would call 'transcending,' and it was deeply steeped in spirituality. Overall, it isn’t about money and power, but about values that are being excellently expressed by the performers.”
Ms. Trinks said the performance enthralled and deeply touched her.
“Watching the pictures on the backdrop and the performance on stage, one gets a feeling that forgiveness is all important,” she said.
“The show represented so many values, that one could write an entire book on them!”
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