Friday, June 27, 2014

T'ang Quartet's 'Stringfellows' in Review

This is my first time attending a T'ang Quartet concert, given that I've been overseas all these years. The ensemble's trademark of marrying eye catching visual themes with high quality playing. my curiosity to see how their interesting visuals translate into an original concert experience was finally satiated that Sunday afternoon.

Entitled Stringfellows, this concert is a collaboration with four female string players. Rather than playing as the quartet we have come to know, their usual line-up is taken apart and integrated with with four of their female colleagues, violinists Lillian Wong and Tang Tee-Tong, violist Thian Ai-Wen and cellist Elizabeth Tan, all professionals with orchestra positions and concerto performances in their credentials.

Singapore Lyric Opera's Gala Concert

This year's SLO annual Gala Concert will be held on 22 August, featuring two debuts: Kishani Jayasinghe, a Briton of Sri Lankan heritage, and Arthur Espiritu from the Philippines. Early-bird discounts run till 22 July 2014. Check out the programme and performers' videos below:

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Local VS Foreign Talents

Pianist Albert Lin offers his thoughts on the almost exclusively 'foreign only' HR policy of the SSO. Growing up I read in an SSO publicity material that the orchestra consists of 70% citizens and PRs, whereas the Malaysian Philharmonic had 90% of foreigners. I naively believed that the orchestra is a strong promoter of local talent. It was years later that I found out that a large portion of these players were only given PR status after they were engaged to move and play here, which goes to show how much faith they have in our local talents.!reflections/c1gjc

MBS Sound of Music - Season Estended till 10 August 2014

MBS's presentation of The Sound of Music is extended till 10 August 2014. Co-produced by Andrew Lloyd Webber and featuring a local cast as the Von Trapp kids, looks to be a heavily anticipated event. Here's more information:

The Metropolitan Festival Orchestra's 'Bridging Frontiers' in Review

The Metropolitan Festival Orchestra with Maestro Chan Tze-Law at the podium showed an ensemble of largely young, technically secure and highly spirited players with a desire to impress and largely succeeding in doing so. This presentation of Asian and Western music, entitled Bridging Frontiers, is hopefully the first in a series of concerts where the orchestra takes centrestage in addition to more high-profile projects accompanying movies and musical theatre singers.

Starting with Dovrak's carnival overture, one is caught up in their spirited, energetic playing. Indeed this infectious energy is held high throughout the evening, driving forward with unyielding momentum and nary a note out of place. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Anderson and Roe's 'Flights of Fantasy' in Review

My friend and pianophile Andrew Ang attended the famous piano duo's recent concert in Singapore. Here's his report:

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

'Bridging Frontiers' by the Metropolitan Festival Orchestra - 21 June 2014 (Sat)

The Metropolitan Festival Orchestra goes on a second outing this coming Saturday with Bridging Frontiers, featuring two concertos on the programme: a Chinese-influenced piece for erhu duo by composer Liu Xi-Jin and Richard Strauss's Horn Concerto no.1. Personally speaking, the latter is a favourite of mine, as it is required playing for every horn player in the music college that I attended, so I'm looking forward to hearing it live again in a professional setting. Here's more information:

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Satsuki Nagatome's 'May Breezes' in Review

Satsuki Nagatome's concert May Breezes saw a performer's strong desire to impress and largely succeeded in doing so. The programme read like the track listing of a Golden Age diva's greatest hits CD: a wide ranging programme including top tunes by Gounod, Mozart, Mascagni, Early Verdi, the odd rarity in Spanish composer Manuel de Falla and of course, that most Japanese of composers, Puccini.

While the event was billed as a solo recital, it was really a gala opera scenes presentation save for an orchestra. Satsuki was the star of a large cast, with solo and duet numbers from her students, a cameo by baritone Brent Allcock, a flamenco troupe (Flemenco Sin Fronteras), a mandolin player (Dominic Wan) and a small chorus assembled by Laura Abello. Caroline Martin directed the many scenes. Vincent Chen is a most accommodating and lively accompanist. The whole look of it was extremely glamorous, with lots of bling and miles of satin custom-made into gowns, costumes and stage furniture coverings.

T'ang Quartet's 'String Fellows' 22 June 2014

The T'ang Quartet performs a new recital on 22 June 2014 with four female string players. Click on the banner below for more information:

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Alliance Francaise's 'Fete de la Musique'

The Alliance Francaise near Newton MRT is presenting Fete de la Musique, a day-long music festival featuring no less than 40 acts in 4 different locations! Performances start at 10am with the last act coming on at 10.30pm. Yours truly will be presenting a short programme that includes excerpts from Verdi's Macbeth and erm, Frozen at 4.25pm. Other appearing acts that have been featured on this website include the PsalmiDeo Chorale, Sabrina Zuber's Bellepoque act and the SLO Children's and Adult's Choirs. Check out the full list here:

Download and view programme.

Mozart's Coronation Mass in KL

Click to Enlarge
The Eat, Sing Travel People, which recently has been presenting full-length productions of operas in Kuala Lumpur, is presenting Mozart's Coronation Mass with a wind band next month. Here's more information:

'Le Noir' by Cirque du Soleil at MBS in Review

Billed as 'The intimate side of Cirque du Soleil', Le Noir impressed tremendously with its incredible acrobatics, humorous audience interaction and pared down presentation.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

MFO's ‘Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers' in Review

The Metropolitan Festival Orchestra's presentation of Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers was, to quote an old cliche, a true feast for the senses. This is my first time attending a performance at the Star Theatre; given the sheer size and depth of the place it may not be the ideal location for unamplified performances; the orchestra augmented with a large choral arm was miked up despite its size of Mahlerian proportions, probably also to help the orchestral sound blend in with the film's audio feed. Impressively, the orchestra and played every note from start to end, even the opening and closing credits, and blended perfectly in time with scene changes of the film.

Classical Tuesday Evenings at Gaia Italian Restaurant and Bar, Goodwood Park Hotel


I am pleased to announce a collaboration with Gaia Italian Restaurant and Bar at Goodwood Park Hotel, to produce a series of live classical music performances every Tuesday night from 7:30pm to 8:45pm from now till end of July. Each week will feature a solo performer on different instruments. So far we have got violinists, flutists, baroque lutenists and of course singers confirmed. Happy hour is from 6pm to 9pm, with cocktails made from premium liqueur and fresh fruit juice. The food, needless to say, is awesome. So for a classy weeknight dinner, come check out every Tuesday!

More information about Gaia Italian Restaurant and Bar at their official website.

Another Review of 'What the Butler Saw?' by The Stage Club

My friend Jeremy Lee is all nuts about theatre, so when he offered to share his thoughts on the Stage Club's What the Butler Saw?, how can I saw no?

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Steinway Youth Piano Competition Winner Announced

We at The Mad Scene are pleased to congratulate Nicole Tay Wan-Ni for wining the recent Steinway Youth Piano Competition. She will go on to represent Singapore in regional finals on 26 July 2014. Here's more info:

12-Year Old Pianist Nicole Tay Wan-Ni to Represent Singapore in the Steinway Regional Finals Asia Pacific

19 May 2014, Singapore: Steinway Gallery Singapore and Bank Julius Baer are proud to announce 12-year old pianist Nicole Tay Wan Ni as the national winner for the Singapore Steinway Youth Piano Competition 2014, held at Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music Concert Hall on 17 May 2014. As the national winner, Nicole will represent Singapore in the Steinway Regional Finals Asia Pacific on 26 July 2014 which will be held at the same venue. The young pianist was named national winner by an international panel of distinguished judges. The event was graced by Mr Yeo Whee Jim, Director of the Arts and Heritage Division, Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) as Guest of Honour.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Wild Rice Children's Pantomime Auditions

Wild Rice's First Stage programme for children is recruiting for its end of year pantomime. Here's more information:

Monday, June 2, 2014

Martin Ng's 'Bel Canto Spectacular' - 8 August 2014

Featuring soprano Tan Sin-Sim and pianist Beatrice Lin
8 August 2014, 7.30pm
Esplanade Recital Studio

You know, after I came back from Taiwan last September, it was a time to plan for the future. When Martin broached the idea of doing a recital of his beloved baroque and bel canto repertoire in Singapore, I thought it was a great opportunity on my side to explore being a presenter of talent other than myself. Being a fan of live performances, where the thrill of the unexpected combines with the luxury of unamplified music, I think the next step for this website is to expand into producing concerts of its own. There's so much great talent residing here that has we audience members have yet to hear in great detail, why not contribute a stage to them?

I'm so happy that Sin Sim has also agreed to hop on, as I've long been a fan of hers, and Beatrice's accompaniment is always a pleasure to sing with. Its a new adventure for a new day, and one that will hopefully turn into greater adventures down the line. It would be lovely to have your support too. Do come and join us!

More information including performers' bios here: