Sunday, December 30, 2012

In My Life - A Concert by Iris Koh - 11 Jan 2013

click to enlarge
Helping my friend Iris Koh spread the word: she is a multi-talented musician who has been working in the arts scene onstage and behind-the-scenes for many many years, receiving awards and recognition from industry insiders along the way. This is a celebration of her long career, featuring many guests including a songwriter, cellist, yoga teacher and a women's choir. Check out her FB Event here:

Thursday, December 20, 2012

New Opera Singapore's "Die schöne Müllerin"

New Opera Singapore presents a multi-singer-cum-dance presentation of Die schöne Müllerin this this Thursday (today) and Friday, featuring tenors Shaun Lee, David and Jonathan Charles Tay and baritones Jeremy Koh and Lim Jing-Jie, with Albert Lin at the piano.

Find out more information and get tickets at 

Monday, December 17, 2012

"Belle Epoque - Orient Express" in Review

This review was sent in some time back but slipped my notice after waiting for a few weeks for relevant production pictures from the team, but better late than never I guess. Check out Hawk's take on the show here:

Belle Epoque - Another murder on the Orient Express
30 November 2012
The Arts House, Living Room

Nicole Stinton, concept, direction
Dr Robert Casteels, Music direction
Sean Huan Yuh, violinist
Kristy Griffin, soprano, Australia
Sabrina Zuber, soprano, Italy
Tim Garner, actor, New Zealand
Jonathan Lum , tenor, Singapore
Tom Ragen, tenor, Australia
Melvin Tan, tenor, Singapore

A Review by Hawk Liu

Photo credit: Silvia Hagge de Crespin
Morriss Weissman (Tim), a film writer, finds himself on the Orient Express with a murder mystery that he inevitably tries to solve. He meets other crazy passengers who makes his task more than interesting. The host of characters appearing on the train are the most unusual bunch you'll ever meet and what seems to be just a crazy boy (Tom) chase girl (Kristy) situation, turns into a thickening of the plot. What are two Chinese suave brothers (Melvin, Jonathan  doing on the train? And most of all who is this omnipresent Lady Beatrice (Sabrina) who is connected to everybody?

I like the old-fashioned feel of the production as the story brings us back to the early 20th century music of Offenbach, Messager, Gilbert and Sullivan and some other older French composers. I love the mutli-lingual script with Chinese, French, Australian, American, and the accents are hilarious  The national references in light of the actual actors playing their characters are genius  Having lived in Perth for 4 years myself, it was such a good welcome to hear Tom do Australian-speak, not to mention his very funny attempt at French. Tom's Gilbert and Sullivan number is aptly chosen for him. Kristy appears quite French with her convincing accent and costume and was a delight to watch. Love her squeals throughout the show too. The Chinese brothers are quite a handful, imposing their presence very strongly. Melvin certainly sings his socks off - and he shows off the amazing range of his strong falsetto in the Bizet dance number. A big favourite is an Offenbach duet the brothers sing, which the audience cheered. What about Lady Beatrice? She slithers up everyone's sleeve in the show and everyone plays around her as she drinks and sings (a very decent doll song from Tales of Hoffmann, I must say). She drinks and faints, and then she drinks and sings. Love the acting Sabrina! Tim plays an admirable sleuth and the very tough job of being on stage almost the entire show, and reacting to everybody on stage. I know what a tough job that is! The musicians get to say lines too and Kristy flirts with the pianist more than once.

Photo credit: Silvia Hagge de Crespin
If you like old-fashioned things, it's a good show to let your hair down, not take the plot or the characters too seriously, and just sit back and have a few laughs and enjoy the music and the craziness. The twists and turns in the second half are just awesome!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

More Clips from Les Misérables The Movie

Opening this Christmas! Can there be a more ironic yet appropriate gift for the festive season than this tear-jerking tale of the tragic lives of these pre-revolutionary folks?

The following YouTube video is a series of five clips of those songs we have come to know and love. It's a series that loads up right after the one before is over:

'Making of clips'. The original creative team have even reunited to write a new song for Valjean!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Jason Robert Brown - Composer Spotlight Tonight

This came into my mailbox only yesterday so sorry for the late notice. Meet up with Jason Robert Brown, hailed as "the next Stephen Sondheim", at the cozy platform of the Esplanade Library. Here's more information:


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

BHSO Feature on Time Out Singapore

This month's classical music feature in Time Out Singapore features the Braddell Heights Symphony Orchestra, featuring their new musical director Adrian Tan and Conductor Emeritus Yan Yin-Wing. I had a great conversation with Adrian and Mr. Yan, and thought it would be a pity that there just wasn't enough space to include everything that we discussed. So here's the transcript minus the parts used in the article. You can read the completed piece on the Time Out Singapore website.

Talking Shop with Adrian Tan

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Goodbye Mr. Lim Shieh-Yih!

It is with a heavy heart that I report the passing of tenor Lim Shieh-Yih, one of Singapore's best singers and a beloved teacher of many students. In an era where the Chinese community was divided into English and Chinese speakers, Shieh-Yih crossed these social boundaries with his art, earning degrees first from China's Central Conservatory, then from the Juilliard School of Music before heading home.

I remember attending his homecoming concert in the early 2000s and was struck by how sweet and full the voice was, despite being down with a flu and had to cancel a few numbers. He has came a long way since, being highly sought after as a recitalist, concert performer and teacher. He sang the highly-prominent role of Emperor Altoum in SLO's highly acclaimed 2008 production of Turandot. As a teacher, he has taught at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts for many years, eventually being promoted as head of vocal studies.

As Emperor Altoum, with Jessica Chen as Turandot and Lee Jae-Wook as Calaf
For some strange reason The Mad Scene has never done an interview with Shieh-Yih; I usually feature interviews in conjunction with upcoming performances, and being in Taiwan I guess there are a few events that I've missed out on. However he's not entirely absent from social media: you can check out his performances on his official YouTube channel, including a complete Dichterliebe and excerpts from Songs of Travel. Its good to know that his art will live on for many voice lovers to admire. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

'Crazy Christmas' in Review

CRAZY CHRISTMAS 2012 - silver screen meets silver bells
Dream Academy Productions
Esplanade Theatre, Singapore
Main Cast:
Selena Tan, Adrian Pang, George Chan, Robin Goh, Karen Tan, Judee Tan, Michaela Therese, Hossan Leong

A Review by Hawk Liu

Sunday, December 2, 2012

SLO Madama Butterfly 2013 - Cast and Early Bird Discounts

The Singapore Lyric Opera will present a new production of Puccini's Madama Butterfly on 1,2, 4 and 5 February 2013. Long-time SLO followers might remember Ivan Heng's beautiful 2008 production (starring Nancy Yuen) that marked the company's debut at the Esplanade Theatre; this production looks set to be a fresh take on this perennial classic, with Japanese soprano Mako Nishimoto and Spanish tenor Israel Lozano making their SLO debuts. Here's the rest of the team:

Director - Andrew Sinclair
Conductor - Joshua Kangming Tan