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.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

'Annie' at MBS in Review

Annie by Base Entertainment
Running till 11 September 2016 at MBS's Mastercard Theatres
Review by Jeremy Lee

One may think the latest production of Charles Strouse’s iconic musical Annie, brought to our Zika-infected island again by the gracious-as-always folks at the MasterCard Theatres at Marina Bay Sands, needs no introduction.

However, one may not have seen the original Broadway production, of which the current show bills itself as.

Exactly how original is original? Well for those who are only familiar with the 1982 movie version starring Albert Finney and Carol Burnett, or God forbid, the 2014 movie starring Jamie Foxx, Rose Byrne and Cameron Diaz (if you saw that travesty, we won't hold it against you but please wash your ears out with soap. Now.), this show may come as a shock as it remains faithful to the stage version that opened in Broadway way back in 1977..

That means you will hear songs you may not be familiar with, like "We'd Like To Thank You Herbert Hoover" and "A New Deal For Christmas", as they were cut from the show for the movie.

After getting over the shock of hearing these songs, you kinda realise why they were cut - they are among the weaker tunes, and some of them, especially "We'd Like To Thank You" need some understanding of the historical context of the play.

But admittedly, though, most of the people who would watch the show are families who want to see cute children singing "Tomorrow" and musical theatre die-hards like myself who already know everything. Of the non-die-hards, who has the time to find out who Herbert Hoover is?

(Herbert Hoover is a former president of the United States (1929-1933) whose reign coincided with the Great Depression (1929-1939) and who was widely blamed for it. This show is set in 1933 New York, and "We'd Like To Thank You" is a sarcastic ditty sang by the residents of a shantytown named after him called “Hooverville”. You're welcome.)

Back to the cute children. One would be delighted to know that they are very adorable indeed. I'm not partial towards children and usually don't fancy watching children on stage or screen (or anywhere else), but I do make an exception when the children in question are this good in singing and dancing.

11-year-old heroine Annie (Heidi Gray) is in possession of a very clear, plaintive voice, and her innocent-yet-strong vocals are ideal for show-stoppers "Tomorrow" and "Maybe". I've heard these songs a thousand times and I don't think I've heard them sung better.

Her compatriots from the orphanage win audience's hearts with their equally plucky singing and game antics. Sure, I spotted a few dancing flubs but they made up for it by sheer gung-ho and the fact that, well, they are children.

Of the adult actors, a stand out is Miss Hannigan (Lynn Andrews), the designated comic villain of the show, but so much more than that. She brings unexpected heart, impeccable comic timing and a brassy voice to what is often a thankless role.

So watch Annie to see an old-school musical with good production values and great performances that will your tug at your heart strings.

Annie runs till 11 September 2016. Check out the Events Page for details.

Related Feature:

Our exclusive interview with the Annie cast and production sneak peak.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

RawGround - SG51 - 8 to 10 Sep and 15 to 17 Sep 2016

Here is a new multi-disciplinary performance that will run from 8 to 10 September and 15 to 17 September 2016, at the Goodman Arts Centre Black Box.

RawGround - SG51

"The world is your playground. Why aren't you playing?" Ellie Katz

As part of the SG 51 Season, RawGround - a creative platform for company artists- turns into an imaginative playground for developing original voices via innovative collaborations.

Inspired by local writers, our creators achieve their own ingenuity through rediscovering and experimenting with the dialogue between literary text and movement.

Check out for tickets.

'Sleeping Naked' by In Source Theatre in Review

Sleeping Naked by In Source Theatre
2 September show at the Black Box, Centre 42
Review by Jeremy Lee

In Source Theatre’s latest play, Sleeping Naked, is a doozy if there ever was one.

Stony (Michael Cheng), a spiritualist, seeks purity at all costs, and the play does its best to convince us of that with lengthy monologues where he describes his ideals and how he wants to emulate late Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi, who slept naked with women to test his ability to withstand temptation.

He provides spiritual guidance to people, and aims to open an ashram one day. His beliefs aren’t tied to a single religion, however; he aspires to be Gandhi, who is Hindu, yet also talks about Adam and Eve from the Christian Bible and mentions the Tao Te Jing, a fundamental Taoist text.

But no matter. Stony's fatal flaw, one that makes him an unsympathetic character, is that he is so obsessed with his quest that he is blind to how it is affecting his nearest and dearest.

For it is the story of how Stony's family unravels under his nose that is the more engrossing one, not his spiritual quest.

Cheng plays the spiritual man adequately, but shines when he efforts his doting and tender side in the scenes with daughter Leng Leng (Eng Kai-Er), the duo sharing a playful chemistry.