Swiss Singer Says of Shen Yun, ‘You Can Feel the Inner Commitment’

April 24, 2024

Classical Chinese dance company Shen Yun Performing Arts arrived for its first performance at the Musical Theater in Basel, Switzerland, on March 22.

The company’s four scheduled performances in the Swiss city sold out nearly two months in advance. The artists received three curtain calls and an enthusiastic standing ovation.

Bo Katzmann, a singer and music producer, said, “It’s terrific. I felt entertained from the first to the last second. I was also surprised by the many emotions that come across here. How the artists not only dance perfectly but also really express all the feelings with their facial expressions. The music was wonderful, the costumes were magical, and also this part where the people disappear briefly and then reappear on the screen as … like avatars.”

“Beautiful. Lots of colors, great. I think it’s beautifully staged, also combined with modern technology. So very beautiful. Very lively stage design, very colorful, incredibly beautiful,” said Jasminka Sakac, a painter.

Hans Egli, a parliament member of Canton of Zurich said, “I personally am also surprised by the acrobatic performance, not just the dancing, the ballet-like performance, but also the acrobatics behind it. For me, that’s a high artistic level.”

“This combination of music and spirituality and beauty and the costumes all fit together. And for me, that is simply wonderful and perfect,” said Samuel Stauffer, a musician.

Mr. Egli said, “I was also impressed by the singer, by his powerful voice. And simply I was surprised by the content of the song because I didn’t know that Chinese culture is so connected to the Divine. I knew about the mystical side, but I didn’t know that there was a divine side, too.”

Shen Yun’s mission is to restore traditional Chinese culture, which ancient Chinese people believed was a gift from the Divine. Through dance and live music, the Shen Yun artists transport audiences around the globe to a time when moral values were on the rise and spiritual faith was the driving force behind a stable society.

Ruth Mettler Winkle, a naturopath, said, “It moved me deeply. It really moved me to tears because it showed the Golden Age. When we realize that the Divine is within us and around us, how [fast] does our heart beat?”

Jörg Fund, a general manager of a software company, said, “I also felt very touched, just as Ruth has now said, that the Golden Age really lies ahead of us and we can already feel it. And what fascinates me is that a culture that can no longer speak openly and which is also suppressed in its spirituality, comes here to tell us what is actually going on. And how it can, should, and must go on.”

Mr. Katzmann said, “I have to rethink and process all these stories again, but I think they were all a bit in the service of love and modesty and justice. And of course, I liked that very much. So, the moral of the stories was always a loving one, and I think that’s wonderful.”

Mr. Egli also said, “I think the values [that Shen Yun shows] are also my credo: to stand up for other people, to help other people. That’s what makes being human valuable, isn’t it? And I think that basically works in every culture.”

Singer and producer Bo Katzmann is considered one of the most successful contemporary Swiss artists and holds 13 awards. He gave his take on Shen Yun’s music.

“I’ve heard that the music was written especially for this show. And every year, a new show is rehearsed and new music written. It’s a wonderful mixture of Chinese traditional music from what I’ve heard, of classical romantic music and pop music somehow. And the mixture of these different styles is just great. Really very beautiful,” said Mr. Katzmann. “The two singers have a completely different vocal range from the Europeans now, for example. They’re a bit more nasal, a bit narrower. We call it twang in our sphere and it was beautiful, it was very fitting. I also really liked the string instrument.”

Mr. Stauffer added that Shen Yun is “world class. Absolutely world class. That’s why I’m here for the third time now. And I will come back next year.”

“[Shen Yun] is also transmitting a message. And I think it’s a message that’s important, that helps our society move forward. And I think that alone makes it important and worthwhile, all the training that [the artists go through] to show us these performances on stage,” said Mr. Egli.

Mr. Katzmann said, “first of all, I would like to congratulate [Shen Yun] for the huge amount of work that goes into [the performance]. You can feel the heart and soul of each person, you can feel the inner commitment. And I can only say: ‘Keep it up.’ I’ll be back next time you’re here again.”

NTD News, Basel, Switzerland