Thursday, October 30, 2014

'Three' by the SYC Ensemble Singers - 14 Dec 2014

Click to enlarge
Congratulations to the SYC Ensemble Singers for reaching their 50th Anniversary with this upcoming concert on 14 December 2014. Celebrating with them are friends from Japan and the Philippines, the Gaia Philharmonic Choir and the Ateneo Chamber Singers respectively. Here's more information:

Event name: SYC Ensemble Singers presents THREE – A 50th Anniversary Concert with SYC & Friends
Date: 14 December 2014
Time: 4 pm
Venue: Esplanade Concert Hall

Ticketing: $35, $30, $25 available through SISTIC

The SYC Ensemble Singers reunites with Happy THREE Friends, Gaia Philharmonic Choir (Japan) and the Ateneo Chamber Singers (the Philippines) in a 50th birthday bash filled with hugs exchanged, music shared, and the aural fireworks of Love! Joy! & Hope! Also expect triple choir works specially written for THREE, including a new work by Vytautas Miškinis.

About THREE:

THREE is a biennial collaborative concert series founded in 2006 by Ko Matsushita, Jennifer Tham and Jonathan Velasco featuring their respective choirs, Gaia Philharmonic Choir, the SYC Ensemble Singers and the Ateneo Chamber Singers.

THREE aims to foster friendship and cultural ties between the three Asian choirs, and in doing so, promote greater cultural exchange and understanding between the three countries. THREE also supports the International Federation for Choral Music’s World Choral Day initiative. World Choral Day is designated as the 2nd Sunday in December, and aims to promote peace, solidarity and understanding between the nations through choral music.

The first THREE concert was held in Singapore, and THREE has been staged in Tokyo, Manila and Sapporo since. 2014 marks the return of the concert series to Singapore for the first time since its inauguration.

Tickets available at the Events Page.

Monday, October 27, 2014

SSO's Auditions for President’s Young Performers Concert 2015

Here's an opportunity for those aspiring to perform a concerto with the SSO. All the best!

Auditions for President’s Young Performers Concert 2015

The Singapore Symphony Orchestra calls for applications from outstanding young musicians for the SSO President's Young Performers Concert 2015. Auditions will be held for shortlisted Singaporean conductors and musicians performing on Western classical instruments such as strings, woodwind, brass and percussion.

Winter Journey - Vocal and Accompanist Masterclasses in Thailand

After last year's masterclass series with Graham Johnson, the Winter Journey series return for a second time from 10 to 17 January 2015, and are looking for opera and lieder singing participants to work with their elite faculty. It will be held at Chom Dong Villa in Hua Hin. Course fees include food, accommodation and a shuttle bus from Bangkok airport to the location. Download the PDF flyer and application form for more information:

Flyer (PDF):

Application form (Word Doc):

Saturday, October 25, 2014

SLO's 'The Merry Widow' in Review

Ah opening night at the opera!!! If you were in the theatre, hope you enjoyed the production that I had a hand in presenting. Yes I'm a cast member and owner of this website. Its so wonderful to make a debut in this company that I've admired for such a long time. So for what its worth, here is Hawk's review, unedited, of the SLO's Merry Widow tonight. More pictures will come soon!

Lehár - The Merry Widow
24 October 2014
Esplanade Theatre, Singapore

Baron Mirko Zeta
John Bolton Wood

Tiffany Speight

Count Danilo Danilovich
Nicholas Ransley

Hanna Glawari
Kishani Jayasinghe

Camille de Rosillon
Ashley Catling

Vicomte Cascada
Melvin Tan

Raoul de St Brioche
Jeremy Koh

Steven Ang

Thursday, October 23, 2014

If You Are Not Watching Mariah Tomorrow...

Damn Mariah for staging her concert extravaganza on opening night of The Merry Widow! But if you're not already going to the National Stadium tomorrow, how can you turn this down as well?

Get your tickets here, remember to quote promo quote 'Madscene' for 20% discounts off every 4 tickets!

Monday, October 20, 2014

RWS's Priscilla Queen of The Desert - 16 Oct 2014

Hawk and I had a drag of a time yesterday's performance of Pricilla, Queen of the Desert. This jukebox musical meshes the plot of the groundbreaking Australian film about three drag queens on a road trip with famous disco hits and Kylie songs into a disco song-and-dance extravaganza. It runs at RWS till 26 October. Get tickets at the Events Page (!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

International Festival Chorus's '40 Years of Song' - 15 November 2014 (Saturday)

The International Festival Chorus will present their Christmas-themed 40th anniversary concert. New Music Director Masako Johnson will make her debut with help from accompanist Francesca Lee. The main highlight of the evening is J.S. Bach's beloved Magnificat, featuring orchestra My Symphonic Hall and  a cast of soloists (I'm the bass soloist, yay!!!)

The concert will be held at the SOTA Concert Hall at 7.30pm on 15 November 2014. Regular tickets are $25 and concession tickets are $10. Email to make your order. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Interviews with SLO's 'Merry Widow' Cast

Hawk and I are up to our usual antics stalking down the cast of SLO's The Merry Widow for a little chit chat. What's different this time is that since I'm making my local operatic debut in a supporting role, I suppose I should put my money where my mouth is and join in the fun! So here are our sessions:

John Bolton Wood and Tiffany Speight play Baron Zeta and his wife Valencienne respectively. Both singers are top-tier Australian performers and have been working in top companies for many years. They also happen to be really delightful to speak to:

Next up is a chat with the local cast, which includes Jeremy KohSu Yiwen and myself. Being on the receiving end of an interview is still a new experience for me, I hope its something that gets better with practice:

Friday, October 10, 2014

20% Discount off SLO Merry Widow Tickets for Mad Scene Readers!!!

The Singapore Lyric Opera is offering 20% off all ticket ranges for the upcoming The Merry Widow for readers of The Mad Scene. For every batch of four tickets purchased, simply quote the promo code "Madscene" on the SISTIC website or at the counter to receive the discount. On my part, its so great to be working with such a professional team who is here to do a good job. Do check us out at the Esplanade Theatre from 24 to 26 October 2014. Tickets can be purchased at SISTIC.

Zubin Mehta in Singapore - 11 November 2014

Zubin Mehta will appear with the Israel Philharmonic, where he is currently appointed Music Director, at MBS on 11 November 2014. Here's more information:

World-Renowned Maestro Zubin Mehta Conducts Israel Philharmonic in Singapore

One of the world’s greatest conductors Zubin Mehta, will conduct the highly acclaimed Israel Philharmonic Orchestra on 11 November 2014 at the MasterCard Theatres, Marina Bay Sands. Known for a conducting style that is described as impassioned, forceful and flamboyant, maestro Mehta will lead the Philharmonic on Vivaldi’s Concerto in B minor for Four Violins, Mozart’s Symphony No. 36 (Linz) and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5. The “Linz” Symphony, written by Mozart in Linz, Austria, in four days, begins with a slow intensity, building up to a fiery allegro and a finale that races at breakneck speed, demanding Mehta’s masterful control of all the orchestral elements. Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 mirrors this emotionally charged build-up and is a narrative that blossoms from tragedy to rousing triumph. It is a stirring performance, first recorded by Mehta and the Israel Philharmonic as early as 1964. The programme will display Mehta’s mastery of his craft and an intimate, intuitive understanding of an orchestra he has conducted for over 45 years, having handpicked each of its 110 musicians.

Zubin Mehta and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
Date & time: Tues, 11 Nov 2014, 7:30pm
Venue: MasterCard Theatres at Marina Bay Sands
Price: $90, $150, $250, $350 and $450

Tickets available at SISTIC.

Congratulations to Rachelle and Byeong-In

In a country where even the government has to campaign for us to get married, it seems so unlikely that sparks can fly on a serious opera set of all places. But that's what happened in our previous production of Cosi fan Tutte, which has resulted in a romantic pairing between our Fiordiligi and Gulielmo in what can only be described as a whirlwind romance. We would like to extend our congratulations to Rachelle Gerodias and Park Byeong-In, may they lead a happy and fulfilling life together!

Monday, October 6, 2014

SLO Star Nicholas Ransley in BBC Opera

This old BBC production stars SLO Merry Widow star Nicholas Ransley in a 'flash mob' pastiche opera at a train station, featuring an original storyline about a football maniac (he supports Charlton whatever that is) being dumped by his football widow girlfriend who is in turn seduced by a sexy black man. Check out the hilarious original lyrics superimposed onto the tunes of Mozart, Verdi et al. Its all very fun and brings an interesting perspective into these tunes even for a seasoned opera lover. Video quality is bad and audio is only on one side, but the material is quite a hoot and singing is mostly good too (the tenor and soprano are anyway). Jump to 5:30 to skip the lengthy introduction and get right to the singing.

Oh yes, and I should mention on this site too that I, Steven Ang, am finally making my debut with the SLO in this production! I'll be performing the role of Njegus, a largely spoken role but one that has many scenes in all three acts. Just started rehearsals today and really excited about what's coming up. Wish me luck!

And do come and support Nicholas, myself and our large cast of UK and Singapore-based colleagues from 24 to 26 October 2014 at the Esplanade Theatre. Check out SISTIC for tickets!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Monkey Goes West - 21 Nov to 13 Dec 2014

Here's more information on W!ld Rice's festive year-end pantomime Journey Goes West, directed by Broadway Beng Sabastian Tan with script by Alfian Sa’at and music by Elaine Chan and featuring an adoable bunch of child actors in the chorus.

W!LD RICE looks East for its 11th holiday musical extravaganza for the whole family! An affectionate and cheeky retelling of the beloved Chinese fantasy classic, Monkey Goes West is an epic thrill ride that will take you from Haw Par Villa to Jurong West – by way of a colourful world filled with mythical monsters and naughty fairies. When orphan Ah Tang runs away from home after quarreling with his adoptive family, he finds himself transported to a new, strange land. There, he befriends a trio of fellow travellers: Wukong, the cheeky Monkey King; Pigsy, a brave but always-hungry warrior; and Sandy, a stubborn but loyal river ogre.

Together, the fearless foursome embark on the adventure of a lifetime, one fraught with trials and dangers aplenty. Can they contain the rowdy mischief of the fire-breathing Red Boy? Will they be able to defeat the monstrous shape-shifting King Bull? How in the world will they get their hands on the magic fan of the man-eating Princess Iron Fan? Most importantly, will Ah Tang ever find a place that he can call home, truly? Written by Alfian Sa’at, with music composed by Elaine Chan, this production marks Broadway Beng Sebastian Tan’s directing debut with W!LD RICE. Packed with catchy songs, hilarious gags, Wushu and magic, Monkey Goes West promises to brighten up your holiday season and keep you and your loved ones laughing well into the New Year. Come and be entertained... and enlightened!

Monkey Goes West marks Broadway Beng Sebastian Tan's directing debut with W!LD RICE. No stranger to the W!LD RICE pantomime, Tan has won great acclaim for playing the evil witch in two previous productions (Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs and Hansel & Gretel). He is thrilled to be taking on the role of director for Monkey Goes West. I wanted it to be based on Tripitaka's Journey To The West because, as a kid, this epic story captured so much of my imagination,” says Tan. “We want to bring audiences on a funny, fabulous, fantastical journey

The Westward journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and it starts by getting tickets on the Events Page!

Keyboard Rental - Korg SP-280

Offering a Korg SP-280 for a rental period of 24 hours - at $100 for cash-and-carry, additional $50 for delivery. Optional keyboard stand provided at no extra cost.

The SP-280 is a high end keyboard with extremely sensitive touch-tone weighted keys and pedal, and a very clear sound that is at once bright and warm. It is certainly brighter than many acoustic upright pianos I've encountered. Many concert pianists that have performed on it commented that it is very playable and feels almost like a good grand piano. Here are some specs:

  • Rich, dynamic acoustic piano sounds that are enjoyable to play
  • Authentic vintage electric piano sounds, perfect for live performance
  • High-output amp section produces plenty of volume
  • Stylish design
  • Natural Weighted Hammer Action (NH) keyboard faithfully reproduces the touch of an acoustic piano
  • Lightweight design makes transportation easy
  • Newly designed stand is light and easy to attach
  • Stereo audio input is provided, for playing along with external audio sources

Call 9180 9453 or email for more information.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Bellepoque's 'Letters to Juliet' in Review

Directed by Dr Hemang Yadav
Music Direction by Vincent Chen
Singers – Reuben Lai, Satsuki Nagatome, Melvin Tan, Angela Cortez, Sabrina Zuber
Actors – Sherilyn Tan, Darren Guo

The Chamber, the Arts House, Singapore
1st Oct 2014

I had a great time at Beelepoque's Letters to Juliet. The programme is such a treat; where else can you hear arias and duets from Gounod's ravishing Romeo and Juliet, Lady Macbeth's virtuosic entrance aria and songs from The Fairy Queen sung live so competently and with such dramatic flair?

Where production values are concerned this is one that has been well thought out and tightly rehearsed, well put together and relatable despite its cut-and-paste origins: an English literature teacher contrasts her current marriage problems to the women of Shakespeare (the problem being that her husband has become an egomaniacal, disrespectful, insensitive, callous, douchey and jealous MAN). It made the stories of Shakespeare relevant and gave the musical numbers dramatic context that made a difference to the usual stand-and-sing concert format.

Most of the musical numbers went very well, taking into context of a piano-chamber performance with locally-based cast, Melvin Tan and Angela Cortez sang an extended scene from Romeo; his voice deep, passionate and full despite some shakiness with the top note of his aria, her voice just audible in the lower-middle registers but shifts gears into ear-splitting volumes as it goes up. As far as I'm concerned, Satsuki Nagatome absolutely nailed her Lady Macbeth first-act aria, living out the character's nastiness with relish right from the initial spoken part, her coloratura and high notes firmly in place. She does have a way of discreetly adding consonants to some wide-ranging coloratura passages and some words got mixed up in the proceedings, but it shouldn't matter given how well it all came off.

Reuben Lai's singing of Purcell Hark the Echoing Air was another unexpected treat, milking every musical detail and its many coloratura passages for all its worth. Sabrina Zuber sang the exquisite If Love's a Sweet Passion with beautiful sensitivity. The last act duet from Rossini's Otello was the only excerpt that needs some settling in, sung with a lot of tentativeness that did no favours to the dramatic and florid music.

The concert ends with the Witches's Chorus from Macbeth, whose magical powers empowers our female protagonist into taking a stand against her @$$h0le of a husband. Loved the Addams Family-inspired elegant all black dresses. Here, my friend Hawk weighs in on his opinion:

Bellepoque’s Letters to Juliet - A Review by Hawk Liu

It was an evening dedicated to music written for Shakespeare’s stories. The presentation was a very interesting juxtaposition of the marriage woes of a modern day couple with the operatic arias and duets. The link was provided by the fact that the modern day wife was a literature teacher expounding on some Shakespearean literature. Under the fine direction and excellent acting from the couple, the emotions were real. Darren Guo carried off the husband’s insensitive arrogance so well that I would give him a kick for being such an asshole. Interspersed between the action were the opera numbers, expertly sung by all the singers. It was a treat to listen to lesser sung Rossini (enough Il Barbiere, please). The coloratura in Verdi, Rossini and Purcell were fearlessly sung, not to mention also the silvery tones in the Gounod duet. This is the first time Bellepoque has taken on a more serious story telling rather than the comic ones in previous productions. It’s an appropriate move given the choice of music.

It was an enjoyable evening of wonderful singing. It’s on til 4th October. Catch it soon!

As a collaboration with the Breast Cancer Foundation of Singapore, guests are treated to a pin and a cupcake decorated with the movement's insignia. Anyone that loves breasts should come and show their support. More information about the show available at the Events Page.