Sunday, October 6, 2013

An Interview with Karen Seah

Karen Seah has done it all: a school teacher turned events management entrepreneur turned arts manager, tango dancer and opera singer. She will be presenting her first recital on 14 October (Monday) at The Arts House Living Room, featuring a programme of Puccini arias interspersed with two Chinese art songs. We had a short chat with her to find out what we can look forward to:

The Mad Scene: ok, firstly, why choose an all-Puccini programme for your first recital?

Karen: I like and learnt many Puccini arias. There will be two Chinese art songs. I did change the programme a little as an all-Puccini programme is heavy!

The Mad Scene: Do you feel a special affinity to Puccini's music?

Karen: Puccini gave very touching melodies. The stories are made of stuff one could related to easily. Madama Butterfly touches me a lot.

The Mad Scene: How do you feel about your first recital? Nervous, excited?

Karen: Honesty, more nervous. Never done it before. Some stress.

The Mad Scene: so what made you decide that its time for a solo recital?

Karen: Once I sang Si, michiamano Mimi 5 or 6 times back to back rather nicely. And I thought to myself, 'Hey, I could do a Puccini recital!' I also feel that its time to challenge myself and do a solo recital, after having performed in numerous other gigs. Be careful what you wish for, you might get them (challenges)!

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The Mad Scene: well take us back to the beginning, what got you hooked onto opera back then?

Karen: I thought that having classical vocal training would have impact on singing any genre. There is so much variety in opera. So, it's not only opera that I'm going for... it was that Puccini had such a way with storytelling. I was intrigued, so I learnt one Puccini aria after another. Madama Butterfly, faithfully waiting for her lover to be back is such a universal theme.

The Mad Scene: so you have sung quite a bit of Puccini then, what are the special qualities in his music that speaks out to you?

Karen: Strong melodic lines, plus the fact that Puccini had some great lyricists working with him, the blend of which I appreciate very much.

The Mad Scene: What are some of the arias and songs that you will be presenting to us? What are the highlights of your concert?

Karen: Dramatic. O mio babbino caro and two arias from La Boheme, it will be a short recital; plus 2 rather famous Chinese art songs to temper the heavy arias.

The Mad Scene: Bought any CDs or DVDs recently that you want to recommend to our readers? Opera or otherwise?

Karen: La Boheme, the film production starring Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazon, I like that one. The direction that goes into making an opera (La Boheme) which traditionally is found in theatre, making it work for film is creative. The respect and understanding that the director has shown for opera illustrates that opera can be accessible.

The Mad Scene: Lastly, tell us why we should come and attend your concert of Puccini arias?

Karen: This recital is for people who love Puccini, for people curious about Puccini, and for people curious about people who love Puccini. It is interesting in that one gets to hear someone sing Puccini and Chinese art songs in the same recital!


Check out the Events Page for tickets!

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