Saturday, December 2, 2017

'That's Me' Vocal Recital by Martin Ng and Michelle Chow - 17 Dec 2017

After chalking up more operatic successes locally and abroad, Martin Ng returns to the recital stage in a collaboration with soprano Michelle Chow entitled That's Me. This being his 4th recital in Singapore, we ask him what is different this time and what highlights can we come to expect. Check out our chat below!

The Mad Scene: How’s concert preparations coming along?

Martin Ng: Quite ok, thank you! We’re busy rehearsing every Sundays.

The Mad Scene: What are you singing for us for this concert?

Martin Ng: Its quite an exciting programme that I am presenting: I will be singing the Aida/Amonasro duet from Aida and the Santuzza/Alfio duet from Cavalleria Rusticana among them.

The Mad Scene: Ooh! Ambitious stuff!

Martin Ng: Plus you will get to hear me sing a number of Chinese songs as well: 教我如何不想她 (How Can I Not Think About Her?), 多情的土地 (Oh How I Love this Land), 黃河頌 (Ode to the Yellow River) and 那就是我 (That is Me) in a duet arrangement. Lastly, I will also be revisiting Dulcamara’s entrance aria and presenting two art songs by Tosti.

The Mad Scene: Michelle Chow is your singing partner and producer here, how working with her as a fellow performer?

Martin Ng: She's a very passionate singer with a beautiful instrument. It's been a very fruitful partnership.

The Mad Scene: For those of us who have not heard her, describe her voice for us. What does she bring to the table in these dramatic operatic duets?

Martin Ng: It's a rich Italianate sound with a facility in high notes. And her voice is suited to the dramatic needs of the music.

The Mad Scene: This being your fourth recital in Singapore, how do you feel your art has evolved since the first?

Martin Ng: I think I've come a long way. In the beginning I was singing more bass-baritone repertoire like Bartolo and the coloratura Rossini stuff. That slowly shifted to the baritone repertoire and I am starting to sing heavier and dramatic music.

The Mad Scene: Yes, I remember you made quite a splash in the florid and pattering bel canto music. Why the switch to this heavier repertoire?

Martin Ng: The voice moved up with a more solid technique. And with the years the voice has also matured to take on bigger repertoire.

The Mad Scene: Was it a big shift in technique when you decided to make the move?

Martin Ng: I think the technique changed and that made the move inevitable. Bartolo is now slightly low for me.

The Mad Scene: So looking forward, what do you hope to accomplish in the next 10 years career wise?

Martin Ng: Continue to hone my craft and sing in more important theatres. I'm singing Klingsor in Parsifal next year with the NSO in Taipei. That's a huge challenge for me.

The Mad Scene: You have made some strides into singing Wagner though, having sung the Dutchman. Is this what you've imagined when moving into heavier repertoire?

Martin Ng: Not at all. For me it's just a one-off. I'm more at home with the Italian stuff. It's my natural habitat. And Italian repertoire is more about being in touch with human passions which is more my thing.

The Mad Scene: How did you feel about taking on these Germanic projects, with its more abstract and philosophical leanings?

Martin Ng: I think German is more about the spirit and Italian more about theatre. When singing Wagner I feel sometimes I'm almost singing a very dramatic oratorio.

The Mad Scene: You are performing in Singapore a lot more these past couple of years, in increasingly prominent parts. Where is home for you these days?

Martin Ng: Half Italy half Singapore. I'm glad I'm back more often as I am always glad to be among close friends and family.

The Mad Scene: looking back, has there been any regrets going down this artistic path? Ever wondered what could have been?

Martin Ng: Well I would probably be a rich but mediocre lawyer with car, condo, credit card and lots of cash. I would have a good hobby as a singer perhaps, but one doesn’t get to sing Wagner's Dutchman as a hobby though!!!!

The Mad Scene: Why, among the dozens of year-end performances, should we come to watch this concert?

Martin Ng: Because its Martin Ng singing Chinese songs! Butseriously, I think it’s a different side of me that audiences will get to see; I am going back to my Chinese roots with these dramatic art songs, while opera lovers will get to see me perform scenes that I have either performed in or will soon perform in full-length productions. Besides, you will also get to discover a new singer in Michelle!

That's Me by Martin Ng and Michelle Chow is on 17 December 2017 at Victoria Concert Hall. Please call/SMS/Whatsapp 9126 6768 or 9620 8428 for tickets! 

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