Saturday, August 20, 2011

SLO Salome in Review

Phew... just got back from quite an exhilarating experience. The cast of singers were fantastic, all four leads sang wonderfully. Apart from a colourful Dance of the Seven Veils, the stage was rather bare, but it was the dramatic cohesion and involvement by the entire cast that made the evening worthwhile. Janice Watson and director Andrew Sinclair created an innocent little child, rather spoilt, ignorant to the ways of the world and very capable at thinking of harebrained schemes to get her way. The wry smile she directed at Mommy Dearest before beginning the dance was that of a sly little girl keeping some naughty tricks up her sleeve, a small gesture that spoke loudly. While she wisely saved her voice for the difficult finale, dramatically she went full-out in response to the energetic cast. The voice in full-bloom was quite a sound to behold, a full lyric soprano with lots of room for dynamic outbursts. In contrast, Dawid Kimberg's and Hubert Francis' full masculine voices rang out solidly across the hall. Bernadette Cullen as Herodias has comparably less music to sing but built a strong rapport with her cast-mates. The supporting roles were luxury casting featuring many SLO leading men and ladies, and the results speak for themselves.

About 15 minutes into the show there was some cock-up when the conductor literally stopped the performance and asked Watson to go turn on the lights in the orchestra pit. No wonder the orchestra playing sounded scrappy. But this turned out to be a good thing as the entire performance was started again and audiences were treated to an impromptu 'encore'. Orchestra playing sounded a little small by my admittedly limited impression of what 'chaotic Strauss' should sound like, but they played expressively and blended well with the singers. Too bad the audience turnout was not that strong, and during curtain calls the enthusiastic applause from a half-full theatre did not create much of an effect. Perhaps, contrary to what we diehards have been saying, what Singaporeans really needs is yet another Carmen. But then there are still another three performances in this run so if you haven't made plans to watch this production, please do make the effort to check it out, it really is quite an enthralling experience.

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