By Rahul Vaidyanath, Epoch Times Ottawa Staff, Jan 13, 2008-
OTTAWA—The Chinese New Year Spectacular drew a sold-out crowd of 2,100 at the National Arts Centre, Ottawa’s premier theatre, on Sunday night in the first of 20 Canadian shows.
Among those who attended the Spectacular was Mary Jo Lynch, the director of Carleton International. That office links Ottawa’s Carleton University with the outside world through collaborative research and other projects carried out in many regions. It seeks to advance public awareness and understanding of global issues.
Lynch had previously seen Chinese Opera but this was the first time she had seen the Spectacular. “I think it is aptly named — it is spectacular, ” she said during the intermission.
“I really like the Mongolian bowl dancers. I thought that was absolutely beautiful . . . incredible grace and balance.”
Martha MacCaull, who works in sales in Ottawa, was attending her first Chinese cultural show and really enjoyed the soloists. “It was fabulous and the costumes were amazing, just everything . . . the dancing . . . it was just tremendous.”
“The themes throughout the performance of compassion, kindness and freedom were very powerful,” added MacCaull.
Lynch shared her thoughts about the spirit of the show and the importance of culture and history.
“The fact that culture and history are so important and that’s what really links people together in spite of differences and turmoil.”
The combination of a classical western orchestra augmented with Chinese instruments is an important characteristic of the music of the Chinese New Year Spectacular , which is presented by the New York-based Divine Performing Arts Touring Company.
“The music is beautiful,” said Lynch. “What I noticed most was the oriental influence but you’re seeing it in context. It is really well done.”
“The traditional Chinese instruments definitely came through,” said MacCaull.
“I was born in the East and raised in Canada, I think they portrayed it [Chinese music] very well,” said Anna Hum, who also attended the show. “Definitely I would come and see it again.”
Divine Performing Arts is based outside of China even though many of its artists received training in China. The artists in the show believe that being outside the Chinese communist regime’s influence allows for more creative freedom, leading to more pure and wholesome performance.
“The performance came across as free of any influences for sure, definitely,” said MacCaull. “I would see it again and recommend it to all of my friends.”
“Certainly, I would recommend it to people. I did hear many people at the reception say they’d come before and once you’ve done that, you want to come back…I’d like to see it again,” said Lynch.
After a second show in Ottawa on Monday, the Spectacular will move to Montreal and Toronto before continuing its world tour, which includes a 15-show run at New York’s famed Radio City Music Hall.
In all, the Spectacular will stage 220 shows in 65 cities, reaching a total live audience of about 650,000. The world-class tour will span five continents—Asia, Australia, Europe, and North and South America.
The show will return to Canada in the spring, when it will play in Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver.