Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Interview with SLO Artistic Director Nancy Yuen

To say that Nancy Yuen is no stranger to Singapore's operatic stage is simply putting it mildly. She will be performing in the Singapore Lyric Opera's upcoming 25th Anniversary Gala Concert this coming Friday, 13 November with Lee Jae-Wook, Song Kee-Chang, Anna Koor and Martin Ng with our friends in the SLO Chorus, Children's Choir and Orchestra, led by Joshua Tan Kangming.

More importantly, she has been appointed the company's new Artistic Director this year. We speak to Nancy to find out her plans for the company:

The Mad Scene: What are your plans for the SLO as its new artistic director?

Nancy Yuen: My plans are to nurture local singers and allow the to be on par with international artists. I plan to put together talented artists to continue creating exciting opera productions and to also work on improving the accessibility while allowing it to be more relatable to the mass audience. SLO will have a Young Artists Programme coming up, which will provide training and opportunities for young local vocal graduates. We plan to further present opera to the local communities by reaching out to schools, community centres and perhaps even shopping malls.

We also hope to organize an ASEAN Voice Competition in 2016, which will be open to singers from age 13 onwards. We will work with neighbouring opera companies to co-present opera works, extending our network and bringing SLO to the region. We are also hoping to recruit more singers to our SLO Chorus and SLO Children Choir with a number of activities planned just for them.

Nancy Yuen and Song Kee-Chang
The Mad Scene: Audience attendance has been steadily declining even though artistic quality for SLO productions have been consistently high. What do you think are the contributing factors?

Nancy Yuen: There have been in increase in the talents and productions especially in Singapore’s art scene recently, and audiences are spoilt for choice. SLO has to continue working hard and to ensure that we offer top-notch productions/concerts to appeal to the mass audience.

The Mad Scene: What do you plan to do to bring audiences into the theatre?

Nancy Yuen: I believe in education. If we start introducing operas to students at a young age, there may be some of whom will take interest in the art form. Once the youths begin to understand more about opera, it may bring out a desire in them to learn more about it.

The Mad Scene: Is administration a new career path you are exploring in addition to teaching and performing? Where does this new assignment fit into your work in the performing arts industry?

Nancy Yuen: I am no stranger to administration work, having been the Head of Vocal Studies for a number of years. In many ways all my work are related: teaching, helping students to be better singers; performing helps me maintain my vocal chords in healthy condition and being the Artistic Director helps me focus things from the other side of the coin, so to speak.

The Mad Scene: Thanks for your time Nancy! Looking forward to attending the gala concert!

Tickets for the SLO's 25th Anniversary Gala Concert on 13 November are available at SISTIC. Click on the link below for your's!


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