Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Review: Handel's Julius Caesar in Egypt - 9 Sep 2023

Our audience member Daniel Emlyn-Jones from the UK is so kind to pen down his thoughts about Julius Caesar in Egypt this past Saturday. Here is his review of the show:


Review of ‘Julius Caesar in Egypt’ by Handel, presented by The Mad Scene

Goodman Arts Centre Black Box, Singapore, 9th and 10th September 2023

By Daniel Emlyn-Jones

This slick presentation by The Mad Scene of Handel’s famous opera made for a very satisfying evening of music. The Black Box in the Goodman Arts Centre is a roughly rectangular performance space, which provided a pleasant intimacy between performers and audience. The three-dimensional potential of the space was fully realised, and placement of a screen at the back with surtitles, capably operated by Lucas Wan, was an excellent choice. So often at the opera I find myself having to constantly turn my head this way and that to glance at surtitles, so this made for a welcome relief. 

The backing projection slides of ancient Egypt, conceived by Steven Ang, also added to the atmosphere. The opera was very well cast. Tatiana Konovalova’s luminous and satisfying champagne voice suited the great queen very well, and I found myself wanting to hear this voice in a larger acoustic (book the Esplanade Theatre next time please 😊). Her costume and makeup, brilliantly conceived by Francis Wong, coupled with some wonderful acting and graceful choreography complemented the singing beautifully. 


Steven Ang, playing Julius Ceasar, had great stage presence, and his dark baritone, which negotiated the demanding role with considerable ability, contrasted nicely with Tatiana. Voice appreciation is such a subjective business, and I often find myself longing for more chiaroscuro balance in the darker male voices (Jonas Kaufmann included!), but all in all these lead roles convinced. Francis Wong played Ptolemy with a deliciously camp delinquency and charismatic singing which I greatly enjoyed and Hugo Van Bever’s rakish portrayal of Achillas was equally effective, with some wonderfully humorous touches, such as when he delivers the line: ‘think about it’ to poor Cornelia! Cornelia (played by Chieko Trevatt) and Sesto (Ashley Chua), both sang exquisitely, and their duet before the intermission was so heartrendingly beautiful, I had to find my way to the restrooms while still crying! 

The performance was expertly devised by artistic director Steven Ang and resident director Hawk Liu. Having the singing in Italian and the dialogue in English was very effective, and the English dialogue, written by Hawk Liu, succeeded in delivering the story with crystal clarity. Pianist Francesca Lee accompanied the opera flawlessly. Shana Yap did sterling work with the lighting, which delivered at key moments but never became intrusive. Last but not least, Denise Liu gave a very friendly welcome front of house and was very tolerant when I got all my QR Codes mixed up!


This production by The Mad Scene shows what can be achieved when people who are passionate about opera come together with a shared vision. Thank you so much for sharing your art with us!  


Thank you Daniel for the really kind review! Please follow Steven Ang on Instagram

Saturday, September 2, 2023

Quick Chat with Hawk Liu - Julius Caesar in Egypt - 9 and 10 Sep 2023

 

Production director Hawk Liu with the cast of Julius Caesar in Egypt

Hawk Liu is a wearer of many hats - singer, teacher, astrologer, actor of stage and screen, videographer to the stars, and Singapore's sexiest legs over 50... but here we speak to him as the director of our exciting upcoming production of Julius Caesar in Egypt. Read on to get to know our maestro better, and check out our exclusive promo code at the end of the article! 

Julius Caesar in Egypt [G] (sistic.com.sg)

What I like about my role (musically and dramatically)?

As a director, i certainly enjoy being able to make opera accessible and also the way I would like people to see it, without the traditionally stuffy interpretation but also not needing to do a radically different take by being abstract.

What is your horoscope star sign, and what does it say about you? 

I happen to be a professional Astrologer. My sun sign, Sagittarius, says that I think I am always right - but that's not true - I am just right most of the time!

Tell us something that we would not otherwise know about you? 

I used to be able to walk on my hands and do somersaults and ballet pirouettes, but since my body weight distribution has changed quite a bit from back then, I don't think I can do those things anymore. Or maybe I should try again....

What do you like to do when you’re not at work? 

I am not very good at not working! All my hobbies are my work, so maybe I don't really feel like I am working.

Lastly, tell us why we should watch Julius Caesar in Egypt on 9 and 10 September?

You have to come watch the show cos it's going to be amazing and the characters were specifically directed to come alive for you, the audience!


Tickets for Julius Caesar in Egypt (9 and 10 September) are now on sale at SISTIC. Use the promo code 'Julius' for 10% off. Discounts are also available for NSFs, senior citizens and students! 

Julius Caesar in Egypt [G] (sistic.com.sg)

Friday, September 1, 2023

The Mad Scene Turns 15 Today!!!


The Mad Scene turns 15 today! So happy to be part of Singapore's burgeoning artistic community. What started out as an outlet for three opera fanatics to discuss our favourite recordings soon became one of Singapore's most read independent e-zines, which then became a production company and record label. Thank you for sticking it through with us and showing us your continued support. 


Coming up next is one of our biggest productions to date - our very own take on Handel's classic opera Giulio Cesare in Egitto, or Julius Caesar in Egypt for our English speakers. It has truly been a big project to undertake, and we are so grateful to have assembled such a wonderful team onstage and off to give you the most complete musical and theatrical experience. I hope that you will join myself, Steven Ang, Tatiana Konovalova, Ashley Chua, Hawk Liu, Chieko Trevatt, Hugo Van Bever and Francesca Lee on 9 and 10 September at Goodman Arts Centre. 

As a special thank you for your support, please use promo code 'Julius' for a special 10% discount, with further discounts available for senior citizens, NSFs, students and children. Check out our exciting promos below, and see you at the theatre on 9 and 10 September! 

Handel's Julius Caesar in Egypt - 9 and 10 Sep 2023 | Facebook

Thursday, August 17, 2023

Quick Chats with Francis Wong and Steven Ang

Tickets for Julius Caesar in Egypt are available at SISTIC. Find a special promo code for discounts at the end of the article! (Julius Caesar in Egypt [G] (sistic.com.sg)

FRANCIS WONG

Hong Konger baritone Francis Wong is always a pleasure to perform with - He is always a warm and friendly presence with a lovely lyric baritone voice and dramatic instincts to match. Having performed in numerous roles on stages around the world, we were fortunate enough to have him in our concerts A Musical Sanctuary (2019) and Cycles (2023). 

Franics is very excited to be making a role debut with us in Julius Caesar in Egypt, coming soon on 9 and 10 September. Here we have a quick chat to get to know him better. 

What I like about my role (musically and dramatically)?

This is one of the only true villains of this Opera. I have never played this type of roles before, so I really welcome the challenge. I am also a lover of baroque music so being able to perform Handel's work is a dream come true for me.

What is your horoscope star sign, and what does it say about you?

I am a Gemini. They say it's very witty and full of energy and ideas, they aren't wrong! 

Tell us something that we would not otherwise know about you?

Prior to becoming an opera singer, I studied to become a professional interpreter, and worked as one briefly. 

What do you like to do when you’re not at work?

Everyone knows I love traveling passionately. In my free time, I love to learn how to cook different exotic dishes. For relaxation, I play the harp. 

Lastly, tell us why we should watch Julius Caesar in Egypt on 9 and 10 September?

It's a rare opportunity for Singapore audiences to get to enjoy the essence of this wonderful opera in a shorter form, with dialogues in English and arias in Italian (but with English subtitles). I have also been helping with the wardrobes for everyone, so be pleasantly surprised! This "small" production packs a big punch! See u all there.

STEVEN ANG

Getting to present Handel's epic opera Julius Caesar in Egypt has always been a dream of mine, so it is extra heartening that I am able to gather such an amazing team to help me deliver my vision of this opera to a Singaporean audience.

This isn't, however, my first voyage to Egypt in the world of operatic stages, as I have played the Pharoah in the Singapore Lyric Opera's production of Aida. I look forward to visiting this beautiful ancient world again, this time as one of the most well-known people of this era of all time. 


What I like about my role (musically and dramatically)?

The fact that this character is a real-life person who's entire adult life has been one adventure to another, even at the time of death, and is such a legend that every generation has it's own tribute to him. I love that the story is based on real-life events even though some dramatic liberties were taken for dramatic exposition.

I have always been a geek for historical works, which is a big reason why I'm an opera singer and classical musician. Besides works of master composers like Handel and Verdi, I have also dipped my toes in performing the works of Shakespeare. The timelessness of pieces is what attracts me the most and I'm thrilled at the opportunity to put my own stamp on them at this point in time.

What is your horoscope star sign, and what does it say about you?

My horoscope is Pisces, the water sign. ILike my star sign I am known for being easygoing while being on the intoverted side at the same time. 

In addition, I love being in water, so regular trips to the neighbourhood swimming pool or water parks like Sentosa Adventure Cove and Wild Wild Wet is how I destress after a long week.

Tell us something that we would not otherwise know about you?

I have been growing as an Italia-phile since Covid. My experience with Italian prior to lockdown has mostly been song lyrics, but since then I have developed a love for learning to speak the language, as well as understanding the various regional and popular cultures better, outside of opera and classical vocal music. Drag Race Italia, the Italian spin-off of RuPaul's Drag Race, is awesome!

What do you like to do when you’re not at work?

People say that when you make your passion your work, you won't work another day in your life. But the opposite is also true, in that if you make your hobby your job, you won't have hobbies anymore! Haha....

So after a long day of teaching and rehearsal, what I really like to do is simply to lie down on my queen-sized bed and watch an endless stream of YouTube videos!

Otherwise, I love to just hang out with my partner, have dinner with friends and support them when they perform. Life in Singapore is so fast-paced that it's hard to maintain friendships, so it's important to put in the time when I can.

Lastly, tell us why we should watch Julius Caesar in Egypt on 9 and 10 September?

We have asembled a great international cast and crew this time. Everything that you loved about our first production of Macbeth last year will be dialed up many times more, including more elaborate costumes, performers, lighting and so on. English subtitles will also be provided.

The music that Handel composed encapsulates every range of expression, both in human emotions and musicality. This is a sweeping musical epic with political intrigue and romance coupled moments of comedy. You would not want to miss it!


Full cast trailers

Tickets for Julius Caesar in Egypt (9 and 10 September) are now on sale at SISTIC. Use the promo code 'Julius' for 10% off. Discounts are also available for NSFs, senior citizens and students! 

Julius Caesar in Egypt [G] (sistic.com.sg) 




Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Quick Chats with Francesca Lee and Chieko Trevatt

Julius Caesar in Egypt on 9 and 10 Sep 2023

We sit down for a couple of quick chats with pianist Francesca Lee and mezzo-soprano Chieko Trevatt, to discuss their participation in The Mad Scene's production of Julius Caesar in Egypt on 9 and 10 September 2023. English subtititles will be provided. Read on for an exclusive promo code! 

Julius Caesar in Egypt [G] (sistic.com.sg)

Francesca Lee


More than a decade on the professional stage, Francesca enjoys immersing herself in vocal repertoires and loves working with soloists and choirs alike, having performed at major art venues in Singapore, Hong Kong and Germany. Never restricting herself to any particular musical genre, she has been involved in various Singapore Lyric Opera productions as well as in jazz and musical gigs such as for the annual "L'apĂ©ritif Ă  la française" (2012) and "Pink Beats", a charity concert for the Breast Cancer Foundation in Singapore. 

Francesca has played for numerous projects by The Mad Scene, including Macbeth in April last year and Cycles in July this year. Here we have a quick chat to get to know her better.

What I like about my role?

I play the role of the one-person orchestra and provide musical accompaniment for our cast from the ivories.

I love taking on the challenge of having to mimic the sound of a baroque orchestra on a modern-day piano in order to not only transport our cast and audience to a Roman tale in Egypt, but also to bring to life the musical style and aesthetics of the era the composer Handel lived in.

What is your horoscope star sign, and what does it say about you?

I am a Scorpio and I wonder if I do live up to our notorious reputation! (laughs)

Tell us something that we would not otherwise know about you?

I have a huge love for cats and puffins.

What do you like to do when you’re not at work?

I indulge in my many hobbies, which include reading fiction and poetry, traveling, watching films, and I geek out on architecture and Mesopotamian history.

Lastly, tell us why we should watch Julius Caesar in Egypt on 9 and 10 September?

Caesar and Cleopatra are two historical figures who made their way into famous literary works and popular media across the centuries. I first came to know of them through Shakespeare’s plays rather than the history books!

Come check out Handel’s operatic take of the story between the Roman general and the young Egyptian queen!


Chieko Trevatt




Japanese mezzo-soprano Chieko has lived for more than 20 years as a Permanent Resident of 
Singapore, where her music journey began 10 years ago. After performing for a few years with the Singapore Lyric Opera adult chorus, she was accepted into the SLO Leow Siak Fah Artists Programme. She has performed the roles of Marcelina, Donna Elvira and Dorabella in their semi-staged opera productions, and has sung in numerous concerts. 

We are thrilled to have an artist of Chieko's calibre with us. 

What I like about my role?

My role, Cornelia is a widow of a Roman General. One of the things I love about this role is the beautiful and poignant music that accompanies it. The music is very calming and adds a lot to the emotional depth of the character.

What is your horoscope star sign, and what does it say about you?

 My star sign is Leo. Leo loves to be on stage. However, I see quite a bit of Cancer in myself as my birthday is nearly in between Cancer and Leo.

Tell us something that we would not otherwise know about you?

 I listened to Hard Rock music when I was a teenager.

What do you like to do when you’re not at work? 

I love green and I use lots of green plants for Japanese flower-arrangement, Sogetsu Ikebana.

Lastly, tell us why we should watch Julius Caesar in Egypt on 9 and 10 September?

The story of Giulio Cesare is incredibly dramatic and our performance is full of energy. You won't want to miss it.


Full cast trailers

Tickets for Julius Caesar in Egypt (9 and 10 September) are now on sale at SISTIC. Use the promo code 'Julius' for 10% off. Discounts are also available for NSFs, senior citizens and students! 

Julius Caesar in Egypt [G] (sistic.com.sg) 

Friday, July 7, 2023

Handel's Julius Caesar in Egypt - 9 and 10 Sep 2023


 Super proud to announce The Mad Scene's upcoming production of Handel's Julius Caesar in Egypt, featuring an international All-Star cast, including Steven Ang (Singapore), Tatiana Konovalova (Russia), Francis Wong (Hong Kong), Chieko Trevatt (Japan/UK), Ashley Chua (Singapore) and Hugo Van Bever (Belgium). Directed by Hawk Liu with musical accompaniment by Francesca Lee. Get your tickets at SISTIC via the link below!

https://sistic.com.sg/events/Julius0923?cid=madscene-hmfe-julius0923

Saturday, May 27, 2023

Baritone Franics Wong in Cycles - 1 July 2023

Baritone Francis Wong @franciswonghk from Hong Kong says Hi! Hear his rehearsal preview of Let Us Garlands Bring as well. Tickets at link below!


#liveperformance #classicalmusic #songcycle #finzi #performance


 

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

The Mad Scene Music Festival - 29 June to 1 July 2023

 We at The Mad Scene are proud to present two exciting concerts with a diverse group of young and experienced talents. Both concerts are at Goodman Arts Centre, 7.30pm. We hope you will check them out. 

Click to enlarge

29 June 2023 (Thursday, Hari Raya Haji) - A Musical Buffet 

A musical variety show featuring students and friends of Steven Ang. Click on the link below for the line-up of performers and programme!

A Musical Buffet | Peatix

1 July 2023 (Sat) - Cycles 

Next up, an evening of Song Cycles and Operatic Set Pieces, featuring soloists from Singapore, Hong Kong and Russia. The stars of the evening are Steven Ang, Francis Wong, Lowell Tan, Tatiana Konovalova and Fion Toh, accompanied by Francesca Lee. Check out the link below for full programme which includes arias by the Queen of the Night!

Cycles - An Evening of Song Cycles | Peatix

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Review: Handel’s Messiah by Consonance led by Tom Anderson


Guest contributor Alison Harvey shares her thoughts on Handel's Messiah by new choral group Consonance, led by Tom Anderson


Review: Handel’s Messiah by Consonance led by Tom Anderson
By Alison Harvey


The inaugural concert by the new choral collective Consonance at Victoria Concert Hall on Sunday 23rd of April was a joyous and uplifting performance of Handel’s Messiah. Messiah, being the most - performed choral work in the canon, was potentially an ambitious selection, but Consonance delivered, and the audience left feeling pleasantly revived. The first ever performance of Messiah in 1742 was at Easter, and it seems especially appropriate for Consonance to perform this somewhat over-exposed work at the right time of year and avoid the overcrowded Christmas period.

The charming preconcert announcements encouraging the audience to avoid coughing (unless in G Major) set the tone for a relaxed professional performance. The Chamber Orchestra played energetically and enthusiastically throughout, and special mention should be made of trumpeter David Marley (The Trumpet Shall Sound in Part III) as his bravura trumpet solo was handled with precision and flair. As accompanists to the soloists and singers the musicians were always appropriately balanced and complementary. 

Click to enlarge

Monday, April 24, 2023

Verdi's Macbeth in Singapore on Video

The full performance of Verdi's Macbeth is now available for streaming on our YouTube Channel. Hope you enjoy it. Please liek and subcribe!

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Messiah by Consonance, Tom Anderson - 23 April 2023, 7pm

 


Handel's Messiah will be performed complete and uncut on by Consonance, a new choral collective led by veteran conductor Tom Anderson and features only experienced singers who have spent time in numerous choral trenches for many years. 

Soloists for the evening are Rebecca Chellapah, Joyce Lee Tung, Alvin Julian Tan and Jonathan Charles Tay

Concert will be held on 23 April, 7pm at Victoria Concert Hall. Tickets are available at SISTIC: Messiah - G. F. Handel | SISTIC

Please follow our social media for more information:

Consonance – A Choral Collective (@consonance.choral) | Instagram

Consonance: A Choral Collective | Singapore Singapore | Facebook

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

My Student Yurie in Frozen at MBS

 


Please check out my student Yurie's performances as Young Elsa in Frozen, currently running at MBS. 

Please go to SISTIC for tickets, and contact me at themadscene@gmail.com or 91809453 if you are keen to try out my uniquely fun yet effective brand of singing lessons!


Thursday, January 19, 2023

Piacer d'amor - 11 Feb 2023 (Sat) - a Special Valentine's Concert


So happy to share my Valentine's concert Piacer d'amor on 11 February 2023, 7.30pm at the Armenian Church of Singapore. This special concert also features the talents of tenor Liew Wee Sing, soprano Sylvie Lin Ziying and mezzo Shania Tan.

Here's a little preview on Instagram: 

https://www.instagram.com/reel/CnlgqiWKGBs/?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet


And get your tickets at Peatix, link below! 

Piacer d'amor - A Vocal Recital | Peatix