Friday, November 26, 2010

SLO January 2011 Carmen Cast Announced

While the SLO is celbrating its 25th wonderful years of opera-making tonight, I'm pleased to announce the cast of January's Carmen. With the exception of French Sophie Fourier and Chinese Huang Rong Hai, we have a cast of familiar faces here. Worth noting is that Li Yang, last seen in the minor role of Papagena, moves to leading lady status as Micaela. Satsuki Nagatomi, featured recently on The Mad Scene for her appearance in the breast cancer fundraiser Pink Beats, will be making her SLO debut as the gypsy girl Mercedes. Here's the cast list:

Carmen - Sophie Fournier (France)
Don Jose - Lee Jae Wook
Micaela - Li Yang
Escamillo - Huang Rong Hai
Zuniga - William Lim
Frasquita - Cherylene Liew
Mercedes - Satsuki Nagatomi
El Dancairo - Melvin Tan
Remendado - Peter Ong
Morales - Gabriel Pang

Director and Set Design - David Edwards
Conductor - Joshua Kangming Tan

The Singapore Lyric Opera Orchestra
The Singapore Lyric Opera Chorus
The Singapore Lyric Opera Youth Choir
The Singapore Lyric Opera Children's Choir
Chorus Mistress - Khor Ai Ming

With additional male chorus from National Centre for Performing Arts, Beijing, People’s Republic of China


Wanna find out how the company will fare without the participation of La Yuen? Check out the Events Page for tickets!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Wagner Playing Cards and Portraits

Why not? Since the master and his works has legions of fans in every generation... Check out Prospero Art's online gallery, whose designs come thankfully without any lightsabers or bathhouse settings. Maybe it'll be just what you need for Christmas!

Ring Playing Cards:
Wagner Playing Cards:

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Win a Pair of SLO Tickets!!!

The Singapore Lyric Opera has generously sponsored a pair of tickets for their upcoming 20th Anniversary Gala (26 Nov, Friday) to readers of The Mad Scene. All you have to do, dear readers, is to send an email to, in not more than 3 paragraphs, your favourite SLO moment in their 20 year history. All entries will be posted in the comments section below (unlike the previous Wordpress program, Blogger does not allow for hidden email address hence the extra manual step.) Best entry as decided by The Mad Scene and the SLO wins the prize. You may use an alias but please provide your real name and mobile number.  You have till midnight of this coming Monday (22 November 2010) to make your contribution, so put on your creative writing cap now. Good luck!

Find out more about the SLO Anniversary Gala here.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Immediately after recovering from the company's 20th Anniversary celebrations, the Singapore Lyric Opera Chorus will present a selection of classical Christmas tunes at Joy - A Musical Memory of the Holiday Season and of Christmas on 10 Dec 2010. Here's an excerpt from their press release to show us what to get excited about:


30 August, 2010– Experience joyous memories of this year’s festive season with the Singapore Lyric Opera’s (SLO) Christmas concert, Joy – A Musical Memory of the Holiday Season and of Christmas, at the Esplanade Concert Hall on 10 December, 2010.

The concert will feature adored Christmas classics, including Goodall’s The Lord is My Shepherd, Lowry-Greene’s Mary Do You Know, Meece’s We are the Reason, Webber’s Pie Jesu, Franck’s Panis Angelicus, O Come O Come Emmanuel, and The Little Drummer Boy.

Christmas is also a time for sharing, which is why the concert includes the ever-popular audience sing-a-long session, so that the joy of singing can be shared! Ms Ng Siew Eng, General Manager of Singapore Lyric Opera says, “We want to share the joy of Christmas and what Christmas really means. The songs chosen reflect the Christmas spirit. Most of us discover through the songs that Christmas is not about presents alone
but about friendship and love. We hope to spread the message of LOVE and JOY through our songs”. Conductors for the concert are Ms Khor Ai Ming and Associate Conductor Cherylene Liew.
Tickets are priced at $12, $18, $25 and $35. Limited 50%-subsidized Keppel Nights
tickets are available. Visit for more information.


Check out the Events Page for more details.

Monday, November 15, 2010

LANXESS SNYO Mentorship Program

Because news story have been a little slow vocal music wise (or most likely that I haven't been updating as much as I should), here's a press release from the Singapore National Youth Orchestra to keep us informed of what orchestra musicians get up to when not accompanying singers:


Largest classical music mentorship programme for youths in Singapore

§ French horn virtuoso to mentor more than 150 students
§ LANXESS SNYO Classic concert debuts on 30 November
§ Join online quiz to win 25 pairs of concert tickets
§ 3 SNYO students get close to classical artist in Europe

Singapore, 11 November, 2010 – The Singapore National Youth Orchestra (SNYO) is organizing the largest classical music mentorship programme for youths in Singapore from November 24 to 29. Under the invitation of German specialty chemicals company LANXESS, French horn virtuoso Stewart Rose will conduct a lecture demonstration and hold a series of master classes. Significantly, this is the first time the SNYO has offered its mentorship programme to all members of its orchestra and all students from local mainstream secondary schools and junior colleges.

More than 150 students are expected to attend the LANXESS SNYO Classic mentorship programme. At the lecture demonstration, Rose will share how he started on the French horn, how he prepares himself mentally for each concert, his practice regime and tips for those who wish to pursue a career as a performer. Additionally, he will conduct 6 master classes for roughly 30 students and participate in 6 rehearsal sessions with the full orchestra.

The Chairman of the SNYO Management Board, Dr. Kee Kirk Chin, says, “The LANXESS SNYO Classic is the most extensive mentorship programme for the SNYO and classical music scene in Singapore. From the beginning, LANXESS and the SNYO share a common wish to create an inclusive programme that will enable as many young talented musicians as possible to learn from the best. Given the small community of horn players in Singapore, we consider the response to the mentorship programme to be very good.”

For the SNYO, having a French horn artist as its mentor is a prized opportunity since it is easier to engage mentors skilled in more popular instruments, such as the violin.

Dr. Kee adds, “We are very grateful to LANXESS for introducing Rose to the SNYO, as the French horn is known to be the most challenging instrument in the orchestra, and experts in this area are hard to come by. We believe that having Rose as a mentor will go far in helping raise the profile of brass instrumentalists in Singapore and encourage aspiring musicians to adopt these instruments.”

These opportunities are made possible under the LANXESS SNYO Classic, a three-year mentorship and cultural exchange programme jointly developed by LANXESS and the SNYO to nurture Singapore’s young budding classical musicians.

After the week-long mentorship programme, Rose will perform with the SNYO at the Esplanade Concert Hall on 30 November. The guest-of-honour is Mr. Masagos Zulkifli, Minister of State for the Home Affairs and Education Ministries.

Tickets are available at all SISTIC counters at S$9 each. Additionally, the public can take part in an online quiz at, where 25 winners will each receive a pair of tickets and all-evening passes to the LANXESS Lounge for dinner and cocktail refreshments.

Ian Wood, Managing Director of LANXESS Pte. Ltd., says, “LANXESS is actively involved in developing young people─in the chemistry field and other areas, such as classical music. We are honored to extend our close relationships with many famous classical musicians to the SNYO, as we work together to nurture greater classical music talent and appreciation in Singapore.”

LANXESS’ support for classical music in Singapore is an extension of its worldwide efforts to nurture young talent through cultural exchange. In addition to the LANXESS SNYO Classic programme, the company has sponsored tours of China by the Young Euro Classic Orchestra, the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra directed by Daniel Barenboim, and numerous other cultural, educational programme and events.

As part of the LANXESS SNYO Classic programme, 3 students will undergo a four-day study immersion trip to Italy in April 2011. They will be tutored by the renowned flautist Andrea Griminelli, visit music schools and attend concerts.
Please refer to Annex A, for a listing of participating schools for the LANXESS SNYO Classic 2010 lecture demonstration by Stewart Rose.

Singapore, 11 November 2010

About LANXESS SNYO Classic
The LANXESS SNYO Classic is a three-year mentorship and cultural exchange programme developed with the Singapore National Youth Orchestra. The programme is specially designed to enable young classical musicians to learn from a variety of world class artists skilled in different instruments. Each year,
a celebrated musician will work one-on-one with students in master classes and seminars as well as rehearsals and performances with the full orchestra at a celebratory public concert. In addition, outstanding orchestra members will be selected by the tutors of the SNYO annually to participate in study trips to North America or Europe, where they will receive lessons from leading instructors and top classical musicians.

LANXESS is a leading specialty chemicals company with sales of EUR 5.06 billion in 2009 and currently around 14,500 employees in 23 countries. The company is represented at 42 production sites worldwide. The core business of LANXESS is the development, manufacturing and marketing of plastics, rubber, intermediates and specialty chemicals.

Singapore National Youth Orchestra

The Singapore National Youth Orchestra (SNYO) is a National Project of Excellence under the auspices of the Ministry of Education. The orchestra comes under the purview of the Co-Curricular Activities Branch, Education Programmes Division, Ministry of Education. The orchestra is a non-profit organisation and is funded entirely by the Ministry of Education.

Members of the SNYO come from primary and secondary schools, junior colleges, international schools and tertiary institutions. The aim of the SNYO is to provide each student with an exemplary orchestral experience and the highest quality professional music education and training. As part of the holistic approach to the education system, SNYO aims to inspire and nurture career-minded musicians, enthusiastic amateurs and dedicated music lovers.

Forward-Looking Statement

This news release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by LANXESS AG management. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.

Friday, November 12, 2010

My Church Recital on 29 November 2010

I guess its about time to go public...

My first recital in a foreign country (or whatever you want to refer to Taiwan as), singing arias from Elijah, The Magic Flute, Christmas Oratorio and The Marriage of Figaro, accompanied on piano and pipe organ. Wish me luck!

Tom Hanks Explains Why Callas Rocks

So we were made to watch the movie Philadelphia during our human rights class (a compulsory module's more annoying than anything else since its many assignments take me away from practice time), to learn more about the American justice system (compared to the Taiwanese's), and gay and AIDS discrimination. Tom Hanks won an Oscar for his portrayal of an AIDS victim suing his company for wrongful discharge, but I really think the winning break was this scene where he showed us how he could understand and portray a person's fanatical love for opera and Maria Callas. Very impressive.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Joy to the World - a Christmas Concert

As Christmas is around the corner, here's a concert that promises to bring the festive joy to you. Baritone Matthew Chua and soprano Xiang Ting bring you favourite Christmas songs and arias, accompanied by pipe organ and piano. Here's a preview of what's to come:

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Shirley Verrett, 1931-2010

Alas, another one of my all-time favourites has passed away. This is what I will remember of the great mezzo cum soprano the most, her phenomenal Lady Macbeth at La Scala with Cappucilli and Abbado. Hope it'll be available on DVD soon:

Here's another wonderful testament of her powers, a sequence from her Met telecast of Tosca with Pavarotti. This one has actually been released on DVD recently so do look out for it!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

SLO 20th Anniversary Gala

The SLO's special 20th Anniversary gala concert 20 Years Of Grand Opera will be held on 26 November 2010. This promises to be an exciting event where stars from recent and vintage productions reprise their success with the company. On the bill are Lee Jae Wook, Ee-Ping, Jessica Chen, Anna Koor, William Lim, Leow Siak Fah, Song Kee Chang, Lamuel dela Cruz and Nancy Yuen. Here is an excerpt from their official press release:


Operatic Excellence, 20 Years of Grand Opera
November 26, 2010
Esplanade Concert Hall