Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Xu Shu-Ming Vocal Recital in Review

Concert Review Of Soprano Recital By Xu Shuming

Reviewed By: Xiao Chunyuan

Performed at Singapore Conference Hall on 14th August 2011, this recital showcased various genres of music such as Chinese, German, French and English art songs and three operatic arias. From what I understood, the soloist, Miss Xu Shu-Ming was born of China and studied under various teachers such as Miss Stella Zhou Ming Lun, Madam Nancy Yuen and Mr Lim Shieh Yih, just to name a few and this concert was to help her support her studies in the USA. She is currently a vocal student from the Department Of Vocal Studies at Longy Conservatory Of Music at Boston, United States.

Frankly speaking, I heard her singing during another concert which was organised by Hsinghai Arts Association. She was invited by the organisation as a soloist. I did not really enjoy that previous performance so when I heard that she was giving a solo recital, I decided to hear her because I wanted to see if she had made any improvements this past year.

Upon looking at the program booklet, the list of songs did not match the ones that was printed on the ticket. Some pieces were changed at the last minute. The accompanist was Mr Su Heng, one of the best accompanists in Singapore Chinese art scenes. I must say the host for the concert was very horrible, speaking in Chinese-style English and did anybody hear of the word 'Interval' being called 'Internal'? Here’s the evidence:

As a vocalist, Miss Xu was introduced to the audience as a singer with a voice that encompasses three octaves. Three octaves! To me, to have this wide a vocal range is a rare jewel if you are a singer with good singing voice. But that is not the case for Miss Xu. On the singing, her voice is small and very weak. This can be seen when she tells the audience what she was singing as her encore, cannot be heard at all! Performance wise, I must say the whole first half of the programme was very horribly done. I couldn't understand a word of what she was singing, whether it is English, Italian or Chinese. The operatic aria Signore Ascolta, taken from the opera Turandot by Puccini, was sung half in Italian and Chinese. This meant the singer both did not know the words, and worse still, did not respect both the composer and the librettist, and for that I did not applause during the first half. Besides the performance, the host is also one horrible fellow. Do not know how to speak, and still claims he done hosting before. The second half was slightly better, although I still did not understand her singing of the Western pieces and underwhelmed by her lack of vocal power.

In summary, I must say I was very disappointed with the performance and I hope that the next time I hear her again, it will not be so horrible!


  1. haha~i am the host of that night.
    i never claimed done hosting before, i am just a amateur. i am Miss Xu's nephew,they asked me to do that, i just reluctantly agreeed. acctually i did not want to do that. when i heard they invited me to host this concert, i knew the organizer is also a amateur. you didnot see the original lines he wrote for me,that could be very ridiculous.
    however, still thanks for your sincere eveluation! and also hope my aunty's next performance will be better

  2. Dear Annoymous,

    I was based on the programme that night. On your introduction, here it is in Chinese:


    This quote is from the programme. Because of this, I believed you have done some hosting before.

    Yours sincerely,

    Xiao Chunyuan


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