Sunday, December 25, 2016

FREE: Madison Academy of Music Concert at National Gallery - 31 Dec, 4.30pm

The teachers and students of Madison Academy of Music will be performing in a free, hour-long recital at the National Gallery. Performers (in order of photo collage) are Wayne Teo, Polina Chmil, Matthew Mak, Khew Yun-Zhen, Gevorg Sargsyan, Steven Ang, Leslie Tay and Alvin Tan. Show is from 4.30 to 6pm. Check out the link below for more information!

And oh, here's the link if you wish to take lessons from the teachers at Madison. Free trial included!

Monday, December 19, 2016

'Cirque Adrenaline' at MBS - till 25 Dec 2016

In the past few years, we have had loads of action-packed acrobatic extravaganzas come to town. Cirque Elozie, the stylish Le Noir (which came twice), and the granddaddy of all circus shows Cirque du Soleil have graced Singapore with their awe-inspiring antics. Are we ever going to have enough of them?

The answer is no, for as a friend told me, such shows just never get old.

Thus, enter Cirque Adrenaline, one that promises more death-defying stunts, but ramped up a notch!

Now playing at the MasterCard theatres at Marina Bay Sands, which has become the go-to destination for such acts, the latest "cirque" in town promises “a whole new level” of thrills as it blends traditional and new acts for a “new genre” of circus performance.

It includes a Ukrainian couple suspended by ropes in mid-air, twirling around while hanging on top of each other. There is also an act where up to three motorcyclists manage to avoid crashing into each other and a stuntwoman while roaring around inside a structure called the Sphere Of Fear.

And feast your eyes on the star attraction: a spinning contraption called the Wheel of Death, fastened just in front of the front row of the Grand Theatre, where two men run, jump and even skip rope in mid-air with no safety harness or net. Seeing them occasionally lose their balances and land slightly askew just to grab on to a railing in time to avoid a fall made us aware of the thin line between life and certain disaster. The athleticism and sheer daring of the duo brought the house down many times.

However, I personally was most impressed with an underrated act where a game stuntman balances on a wobbly column of metal cylinders stacked on top of each other that gets higher and more unstable with each height increase. The performance is truly a breathtaking feat, and one wishes it had received more fanfare.

While the abovementioned daredevil acts always leave the audience wanting more, the tension is always unfortunately dissipated with more than one clownish sequences where hapless members of the audience are brought up on stage to take part in trivialities that belong in variety shows. One such act involving four audience members “acting” on a film set drags on for too long and tries the patience. We just want to get back to the professionals and the amazing stunts, please?

Perhaps we will never get tired of witnessing these stunts because they show us the triumph of the human spirit; that with practice, man can do extraordinary things.

Or perhaps we want to worship at the altar of these super humans, who can do what we mere mortals can't.

So if you're inclined, do mosey on down to the Marina Bay Sands for that little bit of inspiration after a day feeling like a mere mortal - or perhaps just a few hours of thrills and hopefully no spills.

Tickets for Cirque Adrenaline are available at SISTIC (

BHSO's 'O Fortuna' in Review - 18 Dec 2016

Braddell Heights Symphony Orchestra (BHSO)
O Fortuna
Carl Orff - Carmina Burana

Xi Wang - soprano
Melvin Tan - tenor
Alvin Tan - baritone
Adrian Tan - conductor
Joy Chorale with chorusmaster Khor Ai Ming

Esplanade Concert Hall
18 Dec 2016

Review by Hawk Liu

The BHSO has really come of age in this performance. What I hear is a notable ensemble becoming professional in terms of sound and precision. From the word 'Go', it is clockwork. There isn't any of the uncertainty of playing that I used to hear. There were many tricky bits and the orchestra handled them with confidence.

Adrian Tan has chosen to take the piece on a quicker pace and that is generally good for a piece that has many 'sleepy' movements. However, it does sometimes give the feeling of the piece being hurried along in some places that requires some room for rubato in transitions between sections within each movement. That is apparent already from the first movement. The last (repeat) movement of the work flowed better.

Soprano Xi Wang
The chorus comes up tops in terms of diction, albeit underpowered in loud orchestral sections. The children do add a bit of 'raw' sound when combined with the adults, but not in a bad way for this particular work. Soprano Xi Wang has the perfect instrument for the work - rich of tone, bright, sounding wonderful and joyous in her numbers. I do wish she has given a bit more time to linger on her phrases in the last Dulcissime in typical romantic fashion - can't help remembering how Kathleen Battle, in performance, sings with such joy and expression in the same piece. Alvin Tan has the near perfect sound for the work - pure yet having much capacity in expression. His second solo number did stretch the voice to its limit, being challenged by the crazy high notes and loud orchestral accompaniment. But that is understandable, given that it is Orff's intention to stretch the limits of the soloists.

Joy Chorale
Alvin Tan

As a visual performance, it is ravishing. From the soprano's radiant red dress, to the swan costume of the tenor, to the solo dancer and then the immaculate curtain call - it is lovely to watch. (Sloppy curtain calls can be irksome.)

The performance ends with a sing-along of Christmas songs - very appropriate! Unfortunately, I notice that the wonderful diction of the chorus in the Carl Orff, does not carry over into the English of the Christmas songs! :(

The same review can be found in Hawk Liu's website

Friday, December 16, 2016

More Press Coverage and Videos of Martin Ng, Boris Kraljevic and Li Jie - Concert Tomorrow!

The press coverage of Martin Ng's opera gala concert The Italian Baritone with features in Zaobao, Business Times and The Flying Inkpot. Check out our interview with him and Li Jie as well if you haven't already do so!

And while we have seen and heard quite a few videos of Martin in concert, here is a video of Li Jie performing In der Fremde by Schumann in Germany. This song will be in the programme as well, something different from our Italian opera heavy programme.

Here's a clip of Martin rehearsing for Cortigianni, Rigoletto's dramatic aria that is a major highlight of the night's programme.

And really, how often do you see a concert with a piano accompanist who can play like this?

What an exciting concert its going to be! It would be such a pity if we don't get to share our music with you! So give your friends, family and yourself the gift of music this Christmas, and get your tickets at Peatix ( or offline at Madison Academy of Music Singapore before its too late!


Thursday, December 15, 2016

Hawk Interviews cast of MBS's 'Cirque Adrenaline' - till 25 Dec 2016

MBS's currently running acrobatic stunt show Cirque Adrenaline is a heart-stopping show that includes motorbike stunts, high-flying trapeze artists, strong men, aerial acrobatic displays and a blazing fire act. Hawk Liu attends a preview and interviews cast members Alex Mischenko & Nastya Mischenko to find out what we can expect.

Tickets available at SISTIC!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Interview with Martin Ng and Li Jie - 'The Italian Baritone' on 17 Dec 2016

The Italian Baritone by Martin Ng, featuring soprano Li Jie and pianist Boris Kraljevic looks set to be an exciting, unmissable concert of aural and dramatic fireworks! We speak to Martin and Li Jie to find out their thoughts about this upcoming concert. Artist bios and tickets are available at Peatix so please go and get your tickets soon!

The Mad Scene: Hi Li Jie and Martin, thank you for speaking to us at The Mad Scene! Firstly, Martin, why choose this programme to present in Singapore?

Martin: Thanks Steven, it's always a pleasure to be interviewed on The Mad Scene. I wanted to feature the period of the Golden Age of Italian opera for the baritone voice. It is an era where Italian opera was THE artform that was performed in major opera houses all over the world. Works of the great Italian operatic master like Donizetti, Puccini and Verdi with their lush melodies and their electric theatricality. Another interesting feature is that excerpts of all three opera of the famous Verdi trilogy will be performed: La Traviata, Rigoletto and il Trovatore. As such it promises to be a very exciting evening of music making.

The Mad Scene: Li Jie, how has the years studying and performing in Germany affected your life and art?

Li Jie: I have been in Germany for 3 years already. I now have a deeper understanding of German culture, German classical music and even European classical music. My command of German has improved tremendously. I am very happy that I can study in Germany. I learnt a lot from different music teachers in my music conservatory in Germany. I have a lot of opportunities to perform in Germany as well. This is very important to me, it has given me a lot of different stage experiences and I now feel more relaxed when I perform onstage. The audience in Germany are very nice and supportive; I love performing in Germany. It is a part of my life now.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

'归(gui)' by the NAFA Dance Alumni in Review

Dance performance by the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) Dance Alumni

Venue: Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, Studio Theatre
Date: 26 November 2016
Time: 8.00pm

Review by Jocelyn Chng
Photography by Jeff Low

归(gui) is the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) Dance Alumni’s first production, bringing together the works of graduates from different cohorts in the same platform. Putting together such a production, in the Singapore context, is no easy feat, and for that the NAFA Dance Alumni Committee deserves recognition.

For many of the choreographers represented, this platform is probably a rare opportunity for them to showcase their work. Although there are some good moments in each of the five pieces presented, most of them feel incomplete in some way; such a platform is therefore valuable as a chance to experiment with ideas, to see what works and what perhaps needs to be re-worked.

The performance opens with What is…? by Seow Yi-Qing, a fun, tongue-in-cheek improvisational piece in which Seow interacts with the space and with crushed plastic mineral water bottles strewn on the floor. In a segment where the stage is darkened, she also plays with flashlights, shining them teasingly into the audience. This piece drew some comments from some audience members about how such a work is considered dance – a long overdue and much needed conversation in a scene where what is dance is rarely questioned.

We Leave our Mark in Space by Goh Jia-Yin and Triumph and Disaster by Wiing Liu share similar aesthetics as well as choreographic issues. Both are light-hearted yet reflective, making use of bright lighting and various pieces of music. While both works have the potential to be very entertaining and thought-provoking at the same time, in their current forms they are riddled with issues like overly sudden music changes, awkward transitions between sections, and abrupt endings. In Triumph, the audience interaction section holds especially good potential, but unfortunately fizzles out towards the end when, after gamely participating in a mass dance with hand gestures, the audience is left hanging and the performers abruptly exit. The inadequate commitment in the overall execution further hinders this work’s success – the self-reflexivity of the piece and popular culture references are all good fun, but require complete commitment from the performers in order to work. Pieces of this nature are thus especially challenging to perform, and more work is needed to make this piece truly triumph.

When I Ate the Sun by Kenneth Tan, a very personal work, is probably the most complete and well thought-out piece. The programme writeup for this work cryptically lists only a date, “06 May 2009,” leaving it to the audience to generate their own responses to this clearly emotional work.

Overall, the pieces in the programme seem to have been arranged to intersperse light-hearted or more upbeat pieces between darker or slower ones. However, the flow may have been smoother had the performance been curated thematically. Admittedly, Seow’s improvisational work, although interesting and thought-provoking, does feel out of place in the programme, and may have worked better as a pre-show performance or semi-durational piece done outside the theatre before the audience enters.

Nevertheless, this has evidently been a meaningful experience for the choreographers, performers and organising committee members involved, and such a platform for the continuing development of work by the NAFA Dance Alumni should indeed be supported.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Martin Ng's 'The Italian Baritone' - COMING SOON!!!

Martin Ng's gala concert The Italian Baritone with Boris Kraljevic and Li Jie is happening in two weeks! Get your tickets at Peatix ( or at Madison Academy of Music (!

Here are some videos of Martin and Boris performing in Montenegro:

It goes without saying that Boris is a very accomplished pianist, and so it is our pleasure that he will perform two pieces by Rachmaninov with us. Here is a video of him doing just that. Imagine how amazing it would be when heard live!

Soprano Li Jie has had quite a busy year performing across Europe, many times with Martin. Here she is performing Rossini's Cat Duet with baritone Xiao Chunyuan at our Esplanade Recital Studio:

Here's the official programme for the evening:

~ Come paride vezzoso from L'elisir d'amore (Donizetti)
~ Resta immobile from Guglielmo Tell (Rossini)

Li Jie:
~ In der Fremde (Schumann)

~ Cruda funesta smania from Lucia di Lammermoor (Donizetti)

Li Jie:
~ Signore ascolta from Turandot (Puccini)

Martin and Li Jie:
~ Duet: Pura siccome un angelo from La Traviata (Verdi)


~ Pietà rispetto e amore from Macbeth (Verdi)
~ Ah! Pescator from La Gioconda (Ponchielli)

~ S. Rachmaninov: Musical moment in D Flat Major, Op 16 No 5
~ S. Rachmaninov: Etude-tableaux in C Sharp Minor, Op 33 No 9

Martin and Li Jie:
~ Duet: Figlia! Mio padre from Rigoletto (Verdi)

~ Cortigiani vil razza dannata from Rigoletto (Verdi)

Li Jie:
~ Meine Lippen by Lehar

~ Nemico della patria from Andrea Chenier (Giordano)

Martin and Li Jie:
~ Udiste...Mira di acerbe lagrime from Il Trovatore (Verdi)

Once more, tickets for Martin Ng - The Italian Baritone are available at Peatix ( and at Madison Academy of Music ( Get yours today!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Fong Kai De Piano Recital - 23 Dec 2016

Fong Kai De may be only 16, but he has already scored a distinction in the ABRSM LRSM examination. His success in international competitions include Silver Prize at the 7th All Japan Junior Piano Concours held in Tokyo.

Supporters of young musical talent should not therefore miss his recital on 23 December at the Esplanade Recital Studio. On the programme are works by Beethoven, Rachmaninov, Prkofiev and Chopin.

Check out this link below for more information including where to get tickets!

A Musical Fantasy - Piano Recital by Song Ziliang

Russian-trained pianist Song Ziliang presents a concert on 16 December 2016 at the SOTA Concert Hall. A Musical Fantasy promises to be a departure from the usual classical recital format, namely as audiences can request for their favourite pop songs to be played by clicking through on this link.

Fancy hearing your favourite pop tunes played by a professional concert pianists between 'serious' pieces? Here's your chance! Please SMS or Whatsapp 9271 3366 to reserve your tickets!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Journey - Compendium of Vocal Scores by Xiao Chunyuan

Just like our local singers, instrumentalists, dancers and actors, local composers need public support as well in order to grow. London-trained local composer and baritone Xiao Chunyuan has marked a new milestone in his career with the publication of Journey, a collection of songs that he has composed over the years.

Journey is available for purchase at only $25 at Gramercy Music (188 Buki Timah Road) and Music Book Room at Bras Brasah Complex. Make your music library more diverse by adding Journey to your collection!

Monday, November 21, 2016

SLO Gala Concert 'Love and Passion' in Review

Singapore Lyric Opera Gala Concert - Love and Passion
Esplanade Concert Hall, Singapore
18 Nov 2016

Jason Lai - Conductor
Wang Bing-Bing - Soprano
Anna Koor - Mezzo-Soprano
William Lim - Baritone

Also featuring artists from SLO–Leow Siak Fah Young Artists Programme:

Teo Kai Xin - Soprano
Jeremy Koh - Tenor


Singapore Lyric Opera Orchestra
Singapore Lyric Opera Chorus
Singapore Lyric Opera Children's Choir

A Review by Hawk Liu

Every time the annual opera gala comes along, I anticipate with trepidation, wondering which same pieces would be performed yet again. I am glad this time they have ventured a little bit more into new territory with the likes of merce, dilette amiche, Si puo, Je veux vivre and the Triumphant March from Aida.

With a solid cast of soloists and some new repertoire, it was certainly a delightful evening. The orchestra played well - good use of dynamics and great interpretations. I think the conductor did a good job in bringing out the 'opera' from the orchestra. Unfortunately, I found the brass section uneven sometimes. In general, the playing was too loud for the singers and even the chorus - the perpetual problem in many performances. The entire chorus with the children's chorus was no much for the orchestra in volume, especially in the final chorus of Carmen and Aida's March.
The children's chorus was outstanding in the Italian excerpt from Turandot, producing solid, lovely vocal tones. Unfortunately they faltered a little in the same aspects in the German of Hansel und Gretel, losing the focus in their tone. Indeed, Italian is the best language to sing in. The adult chorus had a good sing throughout, with the Cavalleria Rusticana's pieces particularly moving and harmonically beautiful.

The soloists were all wonderful to watch and I appreciated the acting they put into their performances. The standout for the evening had to be Teo Kai Xin's Je veux vivre. The voice loved the concert hall and rang out well. She got her well deserved enthusiastic applause. William Lim was engaging in Si Puo and the orchestra worked very well with him in this piece.

I was very sad at the end of the concert, not because it was the end, but because it ended yet again with Traviata's Brindisi which is played to death in every concert around the world. I got to say the singers were interesting in this Brindisi and I wasn't as bored as I thought I would be...BUT....please may we NOT have the Brindisi in ANY concert for the next ten years?

On a positive note, I found this gala very interesting to watch despite some uneven performances and I, as a member of the local audience, would love to see the annual opera gala grow by venturing a whole lot more into new territories in their repertoire choices.

[Note from Ed: by the way, awesome programme notes!]

Friday, November 4, 2016

European Cultural and Performance Tour in June 2016 - 'The Sound of Madison'

Here's your opportunity to tour numerous places in Austria, Germany and France and perform in an ancient castle!

The Sound of Madison tour in June will take you to the most memorable cultural sites in Europe, including locations where the iconic The Sound of Music movie was filmed. You will also get to visit Mozart's birthplace and perhaps watch some concerts or operas. We will also be dining at a Michelin star restaurant and go shopping in the central districts.

And for those who are up for it, you will also have the opportunity to perform in our concert at Flehingen Castle with our talented students and teachers! If you are a musician but not in the mood to perform, you can opt to take masterclasses with the professors of Karlsruhe University.

Find out more information about the tour, including a full itinerary and tour costs (with a flexible installment plan), via the official website below. Please register your interest by 1 December so that the organizers may follow-up with you efficiently:

Please call (+65) 6836 1088 or email: for more information. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Interview Feature: Black Pearl: Tribute to Maria Callas - 8 and 9 Nov 2016

Black Pearl: A Tribute to Maria Callas is Bellepoque's latest production this year, with a show that is conceived in Italy and features soprano Silvia Cafiero in her Singaporean debut. It also features local actor Gerald Chew in a supporting role. Here, we speak to Silvia and the show's playwright Federica Nardacci about the show, playing on 8 and 9 November 2016:

Monday, October 24, 2016

RWAS's 'The Flying Dutchman' in Review - 23 Oct 2016

Wagner - der Fliegende Holländer
Venue: Victoria Theatre, Singapore
Date:23 October 2016

Review by Alvin Koh

Richard Wagner Association (Singapore)'s The Flying Dutchman would have made Wagner himself proud if he were to be alive now.

Performed by a star-studded cast and a committed and vivacious chorus onstage and offstage, the production was most apt as the first Wagnerian opera to be produced and presented in Singapore, not only because the opera itself was pivotal in the change of winds (pun intended) in the operatic style during Wagner's time and in his career (distinguishing him from his predecessors and near-contemporaries), but that it was a most auspiciously grand and yet humble introduction to the world of a Wagnerian musical thread in the newly furnished Victoria Theatre, which has an operatic history, albeit not glorious yet.

The cast were amazing and Singapore has to be proud of one of her representatives in this cast, Mr. Jonathan Tay as Steersman. He sang with conviction and his acting was sincere. (We too look forward to seeing Miss Nancy Yuen, Mr. Kee Loi-Seng and Mr. Martin Ng with optimism this coming Thursday .)

Mr. Oleksandr Pushniak as the eponymous Flying Dutchman and Mr. Andreas Hőrl as Daland were consummate in their craft as they acted and sang with aplomb. Beautiful diction, sang with long legato lines which surely contradicted the erroneous perception of Wagnerian operatic singing as merely 'loud and louder' with less musicality than the popularly termed 'Bel Canto operatic style' by her exponents, Bellini and Rossini. Instead, artistic sensitivity and sensibility was clearly seen in Mr. Pushniak's stellar performance of one of the very demanding baritone roles in opera.

I could not help but made the inference that Daland's black and white coloured costume, reminiscent of a certain clown persona, said something about his comical and seemingly cardboard character (which only showed development in the end.)

Miss Kathleen Parker had to be the great highlight of the evening with not only her great colourful and expansive singing but also her fine acting, which reminded me of a Michael Chelkov and Grotowski quality. She used her voice with economy, reserving the 'money notes' and the highly expected Wagnerian luxurious fortissimo vocal colours to the most appropriate moments needed to convey the intended message, no more and no less. It was and is indeed rare to hear a young Wagnerian soprano, the heaviest of the western operatic female fach, live in Singapore. Rarer to experience her as a thespian in a complete grand operatic art form.

The impactfully simple, yet never simplistic visuals, costumes and props formed one of the highlights which supported the cast and chorus brilliantly. The creative ubiquitous use of the South East Asian traditional Wayang Kulit (Shadow Puppetry) in the opera and especially in the overture was captivating and enhanced the mime and gestures of the characters Senta and Mary. Traditional and contemporary motifs, often stylised and seen in the costumes, setting, frozen uniformed hand gestures at the finale, psychological gestures and props were used tastefully in the opera. Eclecticism was achieved without seams.

One can go on writing about The Flying Dutchman but it seems pointless here to continue, not because it gives away too much of the game but that at some point, words fail! One simply has to experience the opera oneself.


RWAS's The Flying Dutchman performs on 25, 28, 30 October, local cast performing on 27 October (Thursday). Checkout the Events Page for more information! 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Video Interviews with Cast of RWAS's 'The Flying Dutchman' - 23 to 30 Oct 2016

Hawk Liu pokes his nose into rehearsals for The Richard Wagner Association Singapore's first-ever production of The Flying Dutchman. First up, soprano Kathleen Parker who will sing Senta in the run. Kathleen talks about her training and work.

Next, Hawk speaks to Andreas Hoerl who will sing Daland in this production. Andreas gives an overview of working in opera in Europe, and why you should come to watch the Singapore production of Die Fliegende Holländer.

The Flying Dutchman (Die Fliegende Holländer) runs from 23 to 30 October at the Victoria Theatre. Check out the Events Page for more information!

Friday, October 14, 2016

SLO Gala Concert 'Love and Passion' - 18 Nov 2016

The Singapore Lyric Opera's annual Gala Concert this year, entitled Love and Passion is on 18 November 2016. Performers on the line-up are soprano Wang Bing Bing, baritone William Lim, mezzo Anna Koor and Leow Siak Fah Young Artists Programme singers Teo Kai Xin and Jeremy Koh. Also appearing are the SLO Orchestra, Chorus and Children's Chorus, led by Jason Lai. Check out SISTIC for tickets!

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Happening Today!!! Musique Melange by Madison Academy of Music

Cast of Performers:
Gevorg Sargsyan – Cellist and music director
Khew Yun Zhen – Pianist
Wayne Teo – Pianist
Steven Ang – Baritone
Leslie Tay – Tenor
Alvin Tan – Baritone
Matthew Mak – Pianist
Roman Tarasov – Guitarist
Ani Umedyan – Violinist

With Special Guests –

The Brothers (Indonesia) from Asia's Got Talent (semi-finalists)

Get your tickets at Peatix!

Jeeves and Wooster in Review - Running till 16 Oct 2016

Lunchbox Theatrical Productions in association with
Mark Goucher and Mark Rubinstein present
P.G. Wodehouse’s
Jeeves and Wooster in
Perfect Nonsense
Original Director – Sean Foley
Adapted by The Goodale Brothers
Joseph Chance as Jeeves
Matthew Carter as Wooster
Robert Goodale as Seppings the Butler
6 Oct 2016
Capitol Theatre, Singapore

A Review by Hawk Liu

With one actor playing Wooster and the other 2 actors playing multiple characters in something of a screw-ball comedy/farce, one would anticipate lots of ridiculous costume changes, as well as actors' quickly exiting and entering from different directions. Yes, they did all that and on top of which they moved all the cleverly designed sets in quick time and precision. The actors were lively throughout, They all must lose a few kilos after each performance! They even made a joke out of that at the end of the play where Wooster asked Jeeves if they had to do all that again at the next evening's performance.

The characters were well played out with different physical expressions to distinguish between the different characters a single actor might play. There were a number of moments where it was hinted to the audience that 2 characters played by the same actor had to be on stage at the same time. How did they pull it off? Come and see!

In coming to a show like this, one must be prepared to encounter an early 20th century English theatrical sensibility with its references to characters that some British folks might have grown up knowing. If you do not fit into this category and had no prior exposure to even the television series Jeeves and Wooster, you would be lost in the significance of the characters being played out. It didn't help that other than Wooster, the other characters had rough and throaty voices that made clarity of diction difficult for me. In short, I lost the plot very early on in the Act One. The saving grace in diction was Matthew Carter, who played Wooster. His impeccable diction was greatly helped by his wonderfully clear vocal tone.

The Second Act was more interesting for me. There was a scene where 2 characters were skillfully played out by a single actor, Joseph Chance (the actor who also played Jeeves). There were many other gems in the play. Again, I must warn that for a play that is so verbose, diction might be a problem and one can lose the whole plot for that. If the humour of the early 20th century English is what you might like, this could be your thing to see.

Jeeves and Wooster is running till 16 October 2016 at the Capitol Theatre. Check out SISTIC for details!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

'Wicked' 2016 in Review - till 20 Nov 2016

Wicked- Still defying gravity after all these years
by Alan Tay

Music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz
Musical staging Wayne Cilento
Directed by Joe Mantello
29 September – 16 October 2016
Grand Theatre, MasterCard Theatres at Marina Bay Sands

It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening. Good and well-paced story, exquisite music with intelligent lyrics and funny rhetoric, beautiful harmonious voices, wonderfully executed choreography, extraordinary dazzling costumes, bigger than life sets. Green never looked so breath-taking. I forgot my sun-glasses though!

Talk about looking at life through rose-colored glasses. Green is the colour. Research says that it has a calming effect. However, under all that glitz and glamour, is the story of an unlikely friendship between the popular ditzy blonde Glinda and the green skinned outcast Elphaba. Ever eternal themes like trust, loyalty, integrity, resilience, tenacity, honesty, kindness, seeing the best in another, are juxtaposed against lies, betrayal, despair, treachery, and the like as the two friends go to meet the Wizard of Oz to address and hopefully curb the issues that were engulfing munchkin land. Naivety and wide-eyed wonder get a fast reality check as the truth enfolds and both of the lead characters have to make hard choices that change the course of their lives.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Monkey Goes West - 18 Nov to 17 Dec 2016

W!ld Rice's hit pantomime Monkey Goes West returns to the stage this year. It stars Chua Enlai as Princess Iron Fan, Siti Khalijah Zainal as Sandy, Joshua Lim as Ah Tang, Darius Tan as King Bull, Frances Lee as Pigsy, Kimberly Chan as Red Boy and Sugie Phua as Monkey King. Broadway Beng Sebastian Tan directs Alfian Sa'at's book and lyrics, Bang Wenfu conducts Elaine Chan's music. Plus a gaggle of little kids in cute costumes to make you go aw....!!!

Check out the Events Page for information on tickets!

Friday, September 30, 2016

Richard Wagner's 'The Flying Dutchman' by RWAS and OperaViva - 23 to 30 Oct 2016

Melodious and enjoyable, this is the most accessible of Richard Wagner's operas and resonates with everyone through its themes of ships, ghosts and wish fulfilment. The Dutchman was cursed to sail the seas for eternity, and only a woman's love could set him free.

Don't miss an outstanding opportunity to experience the joy of opera.

An innovative staging of Wagner’s early masterpiece developed by two of Singapore’s leading theatre practitioners, the production sets the story in a timeless Southeast Asian context. The opera will be visually striking and theatrically engaging while presenting the fully-staged work with prize-winning soloists and full size chorus and orchestra.

Co-Produced by Richard Wagner Association (Singapore) and OperaViva Limited in association with The Finger Players.

Directed by Chong Tze Chien and Glen Goei

Conductor: Darrell Ang with the Singapore International Festival of Music Orchestra

Chorus: Schola Cantorum led by Albert Tay

Victoria Theatre: 23, 25, 27*, 28, 30 October
Tickets – SISTIC $46, $66, $106, $146

*Asian cast performance, all other shows are sung by the International cast

For further details see

Thursday, September 29, 2016

'On Display' by dance group RAW Moves - 4 and 5 Nov 2016


Date/ Time
4 and 5 November : 1-4pm and 7-10pm
6 November: 1-4pm

Goodman Arts Centre
Multi-purpose Studio 1 and 2 (Containers)
(90 Goodman Road, Block O, Singapore 439053)

On Display is an inquiry into the ‘performance’ of the human body through the act of objectification. This inter-disciplinary collaboration between choreographer-dancer Chiew Peishan and photographer Caleb Ming, explores the idea - performance becomes life itself.

Reflecting upon the act of looking and being looked at, On Display hopes to make movement relatable and meaningful to the everyday life.

As audience interact with the performers in the gallery space, who watches whom?
As the different bodies move through the traditional gallery, what becomes ephemeral? What drives permanence?

This is a durational work apt for all ages.

Tickets available at

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Singapore Pocket Opera Theatre's 'Pocket Opera Gala' in Review - 24 Sep 2016

Singapore Pocket Opera Theatre's Pocket Opera Gala
Review by Alvin Koh

The Pocket Opera Gala by Singapore Pocket Opera Theatre was an unusual operatic concert; Besides the use of cell phones and taking selfies in one duet, it unapologetically makes witty fun of the performers and the audience in the form of the emcee, Paige Freeman, whose invisibility, except during the curtain call, added a sense of mystery and begged the question, "Who on earth is this audacious emcee with such verve?" Thanks to her, the introductions were never boring.

The order of a gala programme is important and the producers of Singapore Pocket Opera Theatre (SPOT) had planned well, beginning the first and second halves aptly with a suitable overture and intermezzo, setting the mood smoothly. The SPOT String Ensemble did an admirable job. While the first opera excerpt from The Magic Flute was a little too voluble in relation to the singers with its intonation problems, the Cavalleria Rusticana intermezzo was touching with beautifully phrased passages.

Each of the vocalists had not only a more than supple tone, sufficient artistry and vocal technique, but also an amiable and affable charisma that shone. Notably Felicia Teo, soprano, whose confident and sensuous disposition in Quando m'en vo' can be distracting for many of the male audience, though not in a bad way at all. Her amazing vocal palette, artistry, consummate acting and sumptuous voice made her performance of this oft-heard aria one of the evening's major highlights.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

'Lucia's Wedding' by Satsuki Nagatome - 1 Oct 2016

Locally-based Japanese soprano Satsuki Nagatome returns to the stage, this time in an original pastiche production entitled Lucia's Wedding.

The production will be directed by Dorine de Lopez and script by Caroline Martin, and a large cast of singers including tenor John d'Ancona, mezzo Chieko Sato, sopranos Magali Daillencourt and Serenade Lim, baritone (and TMS contributor) Alvin Koh and dancer Fionna Kwok. Our very own Hawk Liu is also contributing as lighting designer and stage manager. Vincent Chen will accompany the evening's proceedings.

Tickets are apparently selling fast so do grab yours soon. Check out the Events Page for more information!

'The Black Pearl - tribute to Maria Callas' by Bellepoque - 8 to 9 Nov 2016

Bellepoque returns to the stage this year with actor Gerald Chew and soprano Silvia Cafiero onstage, in a scripted and sung tribute to Maria Callas, with stage direction by Sabrina Zuber and music direction by Claudio di Meo. Tickets go on sale at Peatix from 1 October onwards.

'Operacalypse Now!!!' by L'Arietta - 5 Nov 2016

Chamber opera group L'Arietta presents their sophomore production, a Halloween-themed evening titled Operacalypse Now!!! On the programme is a doublebill of  Figaro’s Last Hangover / Figaro and the Zombie Apocalypse and The Widow of Ephesus. There is an open rehearsal on 3 November and a prize for audience members who come dressed in their Halloween finest. Check out the Events Page for more information! 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

'Musique Mélange' by Teachers of Madison Academy - 9 Oct 2016

Madison Academy of Music proudly presents Musique Mélange (Music Medley), featuring artists from Singapore, Armenia, Russia and Indonesia, all of whom are teaching at Singapore's premier boutique music school Madison Academy of Music.

When you were last engulfed by a perfect “pa de deux”, marveled at the technical artistry of a chansonnier or enjoyed the ever familiar tune of "La Vie En Rose" did you ever think, who are the people behind all that music? Could you imagine, that so many familiar tunes are all attributed to the same nation? Musique Mélange is a celebration of music of France!

France is widely known for its museums, genteel language, gourmet food and fine wines. Its soil has inspired poets, artists and composers alike, cementing a reputation of France being a cradle of innovations and creativity. Let’s toast to that!

Musique Mélange is a show full of unforgettable ambience, passionate performance and astonishing melodies. All in the benefits of quality time - together with you!

Cast of Performers:
Gevorg Sargsyan – Cellist and music director
Khew Yun Zhen – Pianist
Wayne Teo – Pianist
Steven Ang – Baritone
Leslie Tay – Tenor
Alvin Tan – Baritone
Matthew Mak – Pianist
Roman Tarasov – Guitarist
Ani Umedyan – Violinist

With Special Guests –

The Brothers (Indonesia) from Asia's Got Talent (semi-finalists)

Tickets available at:

FREE: NUS Symphony - Orchestra Symphony in the Park - 24 Sep 2016

The NUS Symphony Orchestra (NUSSO) would love to extend an invitation to their free concert at the Singapore Botanic Gardens on the 24th of September for members of the public. The concert will be conducted by maestro Lim Soon Lee, featuring the prize-winning young violinist Ronan Lim.

The performance will feature popular soundtracks from film classics such as Star Wars, Harry Potter, The Dark Knight Rises, Schindler's’ List and Jurassic Park. Check out the flyer above for more information!

'Pocket Opera Gala' by the Singapore Pocket Opera Theatre

The Singapore Pocket Opera Theatre, headed by singers Jeremy Koh, Felicia Teo and vocal coach/pianist/conductor Vincent Chen, is a small collective that is making waves in the Singapore opera scene, presenting top notch performances of opera excerpts in many community spaces. Check out their upcoming concert and do show your support!

Pocket Opera Opera Gala
Sat Sep 24, 2016
Chamber, The Arts House

The Pocket Opera Opera Gala will be SPOT's highlight event for the year 2016. Come join us for an evening of beautiful operatic excerpts and instrumental pieces such as the Flower Duet from L. Delibes Lakmé, Musetta's Waltz from G.Puccini's La Bohème and the Intermezzo from P.Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana.

The Gala will feature homegrown artistes:

Charmaine Tan
Evelyn Ang
Felicia Teo

Jeremy Koh

Alvin Tan

Vincent Chen

SPOT Music Ensemble (SPOT ME)
Jocelyn Ng
Nadine Ng
Ryan Yee
May Lee
Chiang Yaw Yeang
Jolene Goh
Eunice Koh
Ophelia Toh
Chee Jun Hong

Tickets available at:

The Graduate Singers' 'TGS x Japan' - 12 Nov 2016 in Singapore

NUS Alumni group The Graduate Singers present a tour of performances in Singapore and Japan. Entitled TGS x Japan, the concerts will see them tackling a wide ranging programme including many Japanese works with their music director Adyll Hardy. Check out their description below for more information:

TGS x Japan (Singapore Edition)
Date: 12 November 2016
Venue: School of the Arts Concert Hall, Singapore
Time: 7.30pm
Ticket: $25 (excluding $2 handling fee; bulk discount with purchase of 10 tickets and above)

TGS x Japan (Japan Edition)
Date: 6 December 2016
Venue: Blue Rose, Suntory Hall, Tokyo
Time: 7.30pm
Ticket: ¥2,500 (adults) ; ¥1,000 (students)

Singaporean choir, The Graduate Singers (TGS), has joined in the SJ50 celebrations and will stage its first ever full-length concert abroad in Tokyo with songs from acclaimed local composers.

The celebration is a two-part concert series named TGS x JAPAN, and will include a concert in Singapore on 12 November before the choir departs for Japan to perform on 6 December at Suntory Hall Blue Rose in Tokyo.

From Singapore to Tokyo, TGS will feature choral works from both countries in its aim of strengthening cultural ties. The concert in Singapore will have the Japanese Cultural Society Choir (JCS Choir) as guest performers. JCS Choir will present two songs, and collaborate with TGS for another two songs.

In 2013, TGS was the first Singaporean choir to be part of Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY)’s Concert Series, Messiah… Refreshed!, held at the Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center. This year, in conjunction with the 50th Anniversary of Singapore-Japan Diplomatic Relations (SJ50), the choir will stage its first full–length concert abroad in Tokyo.

Said Music Director, Mr. Adyll Hardy, “We want to expose Singaporeans to more choral works by renowned Japanese composers and help facilitate cross-cultural exchange through engagement and collaboration with Japanese artists. By going overseas, we hope to further strengthen Singapore’s choral presence and showcase original works and arrangements by Singaporean composers.”

They will be performing works by Dr. Zechariah Goh, recipient of the National Arts Council Young Artist Award (Music) and COMPASS Artistic Excellence Award by Composers and Authors Society of Singapore; Chen Zhangyi, Young Artist Award winner and lecturer at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music (National University of Singapore); and premiering the choral version of 'Nutty but Nice', a Christmas medley previously arranged for T’ANG Quartet by Singaporean composer, Syafiqah ‘Adha.