Thursday, November 30, 2017

'The Sound of Music in Four Minutes' by The SoDa Players

Not free to catch The Sound of Music production at MBS? Fret not, local group The SoDa Players provides everything you need to know about the classic musical in only four minutes; jsut click on the video below. How's that for a time saver?

Monday, November 27, 2017

MBS Sound of Music 2017 in Review - till 3 Dec 2017

by Jeremy Lee

Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to 1959, Mary Martin trod onto a Broadway stage and sang “The Sound Of Music” for the first time…..wait, what? What happened to Julie Andrews?

For everybody who thinks that the legendary The Sound Of Music started with Julie Andrews twirling around the hills of Salzburg...nah, that was just the 1965 movie. The production currently running at the MasterCard Theatres at the Marina Bay Sands till 3 December is here to put you right.

Turns out The Sound Of Music began life as a Broadway stage musical with iconic Broadway star Mary Martin originating the lead role of Maria von Trapp. And that, NOT the Julie Andrews movie, is the production that’s now being revived at the Marina Bay Sands, after a successful run at the same venue in 2014.

Well, what’s the difference, you may ask? First, the good news: Don’t worry, all your favourite tunes are still here, including, well, “My Favourite Things”. Toe-tappers like “Do Re Mi”, “The Lonely Goatherd” and “Sixteen Going On Seventeen” are still intact, and stirring numbers like “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” and “Edelweiss” are present too.

Some of these much-loved songs are just repositioned, that’s all. For example, “My Favourite Things”, sung by Maria and the children in the movie during the thunderstorm scene in her bedroom, is now sung much earlier in the show... and by the Mother Abbess, just like how it was supposed to be in the stage musical. Maria and the children now sing “The Lonely Goatherd” during the thunderstorm scene.

However, unless you’re a die-hard fan of the movie who knows every sequence by heart, you won’t detect much different from this production, and will thoroughly enjoy it as much as you enjoyed the movie.

Now, the better news: There are indeed some obvious differences between this production and the movie. The most striking of all is we have two “new” songs that the original stage musical had, which were cut from the movie. And both of them involve Baroness Elsa Schräder singing!

Audiences might be bewildered to hear the Baroness and Max, who were both distinctly non-musical in the movie, breaking out in song not once, but twice, in the ditties “How Can Love Survive” and “No Way To Stop It”, which both explain their somewhat cynical attitudes towards life and how they are at odds with the simplicity of Maria and the von Trapps. Upon listening to the songs, it’s quite evident why they were cut from the movie: They have a distinctly different feel from the rest of the songs in the musical, and presumably composers Rodgers and Hammerstein did this to deliberately set them apart from the rest of the more innocent and heartfelt songs. For Singaporeans who love to get a bargain, though, we should just take it as a bonus -- two additional songs we didn’t even ask for, and they are capably sung by Haylea Heyns as the Baroness and Jonathan Taylor as Max.

And as a bonus, the two songs that were added in the movie but were not in the original stage production -- “I Have Confidence” and “Something Good” -- are also here, so audiences will get the best of both worlds.

As for the performance, a clear standout is Janelle Visagie as the Mother Abbess. Though the role doesn’t get much stage time, she has the necessary gravitas and charisma to steal the show whenever she’s on stage.for the role, and most importantly she has the singing chops for a rousing version of  “Climb Ev’ry Mountain”. Visagie’s operatic background is put to good use in the Act 1 closing number, and it makes her the performer that evokes the fondest memories for aficionados of the movie.

Another notable mention is Carmen Pretorius, who like all the Marias before her has a very tough job to even come close to the magnificence of Julie Andrews. Though her vocals are far from the stylings of the English Dame (who, indeed, can match up to them?), she makes the role her own with a spunk and winning chemistry with the children. As with most Marias, though, she seems to have more chemistry with the children than her eventual husband Captain von Trapp (Nicholas Maude).

Parents may come to marvel at the children, who are indeed adorable. The production has chosen 18 young actors and actress right here in Singapore to play the 6 youngest von Trapp children (with the eldest, Liesl, played by the delightful Zoe Beavon). Each child character will be alternated between 3 children. So if you like children and want to support young local talent, you can’t miss this chance to catch them in action.

If you’re still reading this review, you’re probably already interested in the show, so what are you waiting for? We can guarantee you’ll have a great night out.

Intrigued? Here's your last chance to get tickets to The Sound of Music at MBS! Get your tickets at SISTIC!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Vocal Recital 'Sure on This Shining Night' - 16 Dec 2017

Come 17 December, a bunch of Singapore's young professional musicians will present a festive fare for two shows only. Teng Xiang-Ting (soprano), Leslie Tay (tenor), Alvin Tan (baritone) and Pauline Lee (piano) will give you a rejuvenating journey of Christmas music this December!

Sure on this Shining Night is an hour long recital which will feature works by the great composers such as Handel, Mozart, Debussy, Schubert and Bernstein. Be the first to hear Lee Jin-Jun and Aaron Lee’s newly composed Christmas Shopping, a satire on Singapore’s favourite pastime. Adam’s O Holy Night will fill you with awe, and let your soul be comforted by Andrea Bocelli’s The Prayer.

Event details:
16 December 2017, Saturday
6pm and 8pm (2 shows)
Esplanade Recital Studio

Ticket pricing:
Early bird discount for tickets bought before 1 December 2017 - 1 ticket for $20
After 1 December 2017 - Standard price 1 ticket for $30, or 2 tickets for $50

Recital Repertoire
Go tell it on the mountain (Traditional)
Sure on this shining night (Morten Lauridsen)
Comfort Ye / Every valley (Handel)
Laudate Dominum (Mozart)
Ave Maria (Schubert)
Noel des enfants (Debussy)
Noel des jouets (Ravel)
The Lord's Prayer (Albert H. Malotte)
I wonder as I wander (Britten)
Simple Song (Bernstein)
He's got the whole world in his hands (Traditional)
The Prayer (David Forster, Carol B. Sager et al)
Christmas Shopping (Composition by local composer Lee Jin Jun and libretto by Aaron Lee)
O Holy Night (Traditional)
Deck the Hall (Traditional)

Sounds like an entertaining programme for connoisseurs and newbies alike. Here are some performance videos of the singers on the bill:

Tickets for this concert are available at Peatix ( See you there! 

Friday, November 24, 2017

SLO's 'Unrequited Love' in Review

Singapore Lyric Opera
Opera Gala – Unrequited Love
23rd Novemeber 2017

Esplanade Concert Hall, Singapore

Jessica Chen - Soprano
Kee Loi-Seng - Tenor
Samantha Chong - Mezzo-Soprano
Pham Kanh-Ngoc - Soprano
Alvin Tan - Baritone

SLO-Leow Siak Fah Artists Training Programme Trainees:

Zhang Jie - Soprano
Zerlina Tan - Mezzo-Soprano
Chieko Sato - Mezzo-Soprano
Cherie Tse - Soprano
Leslie Tay - Tenor

Singapore Lyric Opera Orchestra
Singapore Lyric Opera Chorus
Singapore Lyric Opera Children's Choir
Jason Lai - Conductor

A Review by Hawk Liu

I went home really happy from tonight's Gala Concert for a few simple reasons - I didn't hear Libiamo, Habanera, Flower Duet from Lakme and any other sung-to-death grand opera arias. It was truly refreshing to hear a bunch of coloratura stuff in a single local concert for once. I smiled when I heard the announcement for the first two arias - Handel ! (I didn't want to read the programme because the colour-contrast design was not suitable for 'old-flower-eyes' like mine). Except for the Hänsel and Gretel children's chorus, I don't believe any of the other soloists' items were presented in a major recital before in Singapore. I enjoyed the new programme very much and a few of my friends liked the varied programme too.

It was a treat to hear so many different singers in one evening - Bravi! The audience love Pham in both Alcina and Semiramide. Blessed with a generous amount of coloratura in her throat, she dazzled. Although running out of steam a little towards the end of Semiramide, she made up for it by changing tonality a couple of times in the unaccompanied cadenza and ending together with the orchestra spot on pitch.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Interview: Beverly Yuen, 'A Walk into the Mandala" - 8 and 9 Dec 2017

Alvin Koh interviews Beverly Yuen, a veteran of the physical theatre scene and director of the newly formed Grain Performance and Research Lab. Here, we discussed the upcoming production A Walk into the Mandala. A highlight of the production is the use of brown rice to create beautiful images onstage. Here, Beverly and Alvin discuss what inspired the piece and what we audiences can expect from it.

Beverly Yuen rocking a purple Coach bag

The Mad Scene: Can you tell us about your present work, A Walk into the Mandala? What is it about?

Beverly Yuen: It is about mandala, and yet it is not about mandala. It is about who we are, living in a hectic world. It is about what we do and how we act in order to breathe, and in order to stay alive.

The Mad Scene: But why is “mandala” the focus of the play?

Beverly Yuen: Mandala, in the show, is a symbol for contemplation about the state of being we are in today, and how it feels like living in today’s society. Everything is almost fast forwarded. We can almost foresee the “future” and at the same time, we can’t. There is a huge dilemma of being here. We know, and yet we... don’t know.

As a symbol, the Mandala can be found in cultures across the world, from the swirling Dervish dances of Sufi monks to Hindu Rangoli floor paintings, and European stained glassworks. In Tibetan culture, the mandala aids concentration. The late psychoanalyst Carl G Jung believed that the mandala, as an art form, enables one to understand the inner psyche.

OperaViva's 'Opera Mixer' - Quotes from Cast - 25 and 26 Nov 2017

The stars of OperaViva's Opera Mixer: The Italian Edition (from left to right: Wendy Woon, Ben Lim, Alvin Tan, Leslie Tay and Melissa Chan) tell us their favourite part about being in the event.

"My favourite part of Opera Mixer is that I get to sing with awesome colleagues and I get to invite friends who are new to opera knowing that they will enjoy our carefully selected repertoire. It's like opera for all ages!” Alvin Tan, baritone

"I get to try out some exciting new repertoire that I probably wouldn't have tried singing a few years ago and get to indulge in the grand passions that we associate with Italian opera!” Leslie Tay, tenor

“I love being able to see the audience’s reactions and move around them in this casual and more intimate format.  It doesn’t get more real than that.” Melissa Chan, mezzo-soprano

“It would have to be all the laughs and shenanigans that’s part of the rehearsal process. Singing in a safe fun space with colleagues that one has chemistry with is hard to come by and is thoroughly relished.” Wendy Woon, soprano

Looks like a fun concert to be had! Besides hearing great live music, you will also get to mix with other opera lovers and share your drinks and snacks with us. Time to place new orders for packets of salted egg fish skin then! Check out the Events Page for tickets! 

Sunday, November 19, 2017

The Addams Family at Mediacorp's MES Theatre - till 3 Dec 2017

Everyone's favourite kooky undead family is here in Singapore!!! The Addams Family Musical, with music by Grammy winner Andrew Lippa, will play at Mediacorp's MES Theatre till 3 December 2017. Hawk Liu goes to interview the cast of The Addams Family and discuss their taste for the macabre. Check out the interview below:

This interview can also be found on Hawk Liu's website

Plus, we have exclusive images of the production, courtesy of Jeremy Lee!

Get your tickets now by checking out the Events Page!!!

OperaViva - Opera Mixer - 25 and 26 Nov 2017

OperaViva presents Opera Mixer, an evening of live singing where you can bring your own drinks and mingle with guests and performers after. Singing for you are soprano Wendy Woon, baritone Alvin Tan, tenor Leslie Tay and mezzo-soprano Melissa Chan with accompaniment by Ben Lim. Check out the Events Page for more information!

Saturday, November 18, 2017

A Walk Into the Mandala - 8 and 9 Dec 2017

If you are a fan of physical theatre, you probably would not want to miss A Walk into the Mandala by Beverly Yuen and her team at Grain Performance and Research Lab. It depicts the different stages of life that a quintessential urban being would experience as 3-metre wide rice Mandala forms on stage.

Some of the key challenges in the latest rendition of the production are that the performer drawing the rice mandala will have her face swaddled while creating the mandala on the floor, and she will be in heels most of the time throughout the piece while executing taichi and yoga moves.

A Walk Into The Mandala will be held at The Arts House Play Den on 8th (8pm) and 9th (3pm, 8pm) December 2017. Check out for tickets! 

'The Lion King' at MBS - 27 June to 5 Aug 2018

Here's more information (including a video) about the upcoming production of The Lion King, soon to be running at MBS in June 2018!

Michael Cassel Group in association with Disney Theatrical Productions are thrilled to reveal the full company of the international tour of the world’s #1 musical, Disney’s The Lion King.

A talented cast of impressive and diverse international performers will star in the landmark musical event which begins performances in Manila at The Theatre at Solaire on 18 March 2018 and will then transfer to Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, starting performances on 27 June 2018.

The cast of The Lion King features alumni who have performed in previous productions around the world including the London, Las Vegas, Shanghai, Basel, Hamburg, Taiwan, Singapore, Mexico, Brazil and Johannesburg engagements and the UK and Australian tours, along with a host of emerging talent from South Africa that will make this one of the most sensational casts to appear in acclaimed director Julie Taymor’s groundbreaking musical.

Announced today, the principal cast includes Ntsepa Pitjeng who is returning to the role of ‘Rafiki’, having performed the role in the USA, UK, Brazil, and Switzerland productions. Direct from London’s West End production is Mthokozisi Emkay Khanyile in the role of ‘Mufasa’. Also from the United Kingdom is music theatre performer Antony Lawrence as ‘Scar’.

Australian actor Andre Jewson will feature as ‘Zazu’; the charismatic New Zealand born performer Jamie McGregor will play ‘Timon’ and South African favorite Pierre van Heerden will return as ‘Pumbaa’.

Joining the company are six actors from the Philippines. Sharing the role of Young Simba will be Julien Joshua Dolor, Pablo Palacpac and Juan Tiongson; sharing the role of Young Nala will be Sheena Bentoy, Uma Martin and Felicity Napuli.

Rounding out the principal cast are South African performers Calvyn Grandling, playing the much-loved role of ‘Simba’, the up-and-coming star Noxolo Dlamini as ‘Nala’, Candida Mosoma who returns to the role of ‘Shenzi’, Bjorn Blignaut as ‘Banzai’ and Mark Tatham as ‘Ed’.

Calvyn Grandling playing Simba performing Can You Feel the Love Tonight:

Julie Taymor and her extraordinary creative team have brought together a truly diverse company, representing twelve countries in this production of enormous scale, beauty and heart. I cannot wait for new audiences in the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan to share an indelible theatrical experience for the first time, with this talented cast,” said Thomas Schumacher, President and Producer, Disney Theatrical Productions.

Lebo M, who provided additional music, lyrics, vocal score and arrangements to The Lion King, said; “The cast of the international tour that we have assembled, which features many of South Africa’s greatest and most exciting talents, is something that I am very proud of and I cannot wait to see the extraordinary talent when they come together for the first-time next year.”

Tickets for the Manila season go on sale on 3 November and Singapore tickets will go on sale on 13 November.

Get your tickets via the Events Page!

Monday, November 13, 2017

The Sound of Music - till 3 Dec 2017 at MBS

The evergreen musical The Sound of Music has returned to Singapore at the MBS Mastercard Theatres! The production from London's West End features an adult cast from the UK and a local cast of kids playing the Von Trapp children. You have till 3 December to check them out in action.

Check out our exclusive videos and images on our Facebook Group, and get your tickets at SISTIC!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Huang Rong-Hai and Teng Li-Feng Concert Programme - 11 Nov 2017

Curious as to what Huang Rong-Hai and Teng Li-Feng will perform at their concert? Here is the full concert programme!

Huang Rong-Hai 黄荣海
1.  花非花  (唐) 白居易诗   黄自曲 Chinese art song - A Flower is Not a Flower
2.  点绛唇 • 赋登楼   (宋) 王灼词  黄自曲

Teng Li-Feng 丁俐岎
3.  想亲娘  云南民歌  丁善德编曲 Yunan folk song - Missing My Mother
4.  我和我的祖国  张藜词  秦咏诚曲 Me and My Motherland

Huang Rong-Hai 黄荣海  
5.  Selve amiche, ombrose piante  Antonio Caldara
6.  Сон “Son” (Dream)  Sergei Rachmaninoff

Teng Li-Feng 丁俐岎
7.  风萧瑟—— 选自歌剧《伤逝》  王泉,韩伟词  施光南曲
Chinese opera aria

Huang Rong-Hai 黄荣海  
8.  A vucchella  Francesco Paolo Tosti
9.  大江东去  (宋)苏轼词  青主曲 - The River Flows East

Teng Li-Feng 丁俐岎
10.  Un bel dì vedremo from   Giacomo Puccini

2nd Half

Teng Li-Feng 丁俐岎
1.  Сирень “Siren”(Lilacs)  Sergei Rachmaninoff
2.  Весенние воды “Vesenniye vody”(Spring Water)  Sergei Rachmaninoff

Huang Rong-Hai 黄荣海  
3.  Каватина Алеко (Aleko’s Cavatina)   Sergei Rachmaninoff
  from <Алеко>

Teng Li-Feng 丁俐岎
4.  我爱你中华  苏阿芒词  敖昌群曲 - I Love You China

Huang Rong-Hai 黄荣海  
5.  Erlkönig  Franz Schubert

Teng Li-Feng 丁俐岎
6.  帕米尔,我的家乡多么美  瞿琮词  郑秋枫曲 - Pamirs, My Beloved Homeland

Huang Rong-Hai 黄荣海  
7.  I’ te vurria vasà  Eduardo Di Capua
8.  嘉陵江上  端木蕻良词  贺绿汀曲 - On the Jialing River

Teng Li-Feng 丁俐岎
9.  Sola, perduta, abbandonata   Giacomo Puccini

黄荣海,丁俐岎 二重唱
10.  Nella Fantasia  Ennio Morricone
11.  La Vie En Rose  Louiguy (Louis Guglielmi)

Word is that tickets are seeling very fast. Please call or message 9662 6076 or 9788 8868 to get yours now!