Thursday, October 31, 2013

Introducing JSLN Dance Company - 2 Nov and 6-7 Dec 2013

Just Live Dance, or JSLN for short, is a new full-time professional dance company that is making waves here, combining traditional ballet techniques, modern dance and contemporary styles to create a unique style of their own.

The company of dancers come from Germany, South Africa and of course Singapore, all locally based. They are all graduates from dance academies and universities around the world. Having seen their recent showcase at ION Orchard, I was blown away at the level of virtuosity and commitment displayed, all at an outreach performance!

Having performed at quite a few venues this year, they will be heading to Shenzhen to perform at the Fringe Festival on 27 November. They are hosting a 'Studio Sneak Peek' at their studio at Farrer Park this coming Saturday, 8pm. Guest performing are contemporary Chinese music ensemble SA Trio and up-and-coming opera singer Steven Ang (omg that's ME!!!)

Tickets are available at $20, plus an optional $10 more for champagne reception after the show. Saturday night booze for only $10? Well worth it I say!

More details on their FB invite:

JSLN will also be performing at the SA Trio's event on 6 and 7 December, titled Schwarzschild Radius. More details on their Facebook invite here:

Its artistic director, Germany-born Soren Niewelt, was recently featured on a TV ad now playing in Singapore and the region. You may find his face familiar:

So anyway, if you are free this coming Saturday, come support lah...

Korean Symphony Orchestra - 4 November 2013

Korean Symphony Orchestra
The Korean Association in Singapore will present an evening with the Korean Symphony Orchestra, featuring conductor Choi Hee-Chuhn and pianist Kim Tae-Hyung. On the programme are Lim June-Hee's Dancing Arirang, Liszt's  Piano Concerto No. 1 and Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5.

Conductor Choi Hee-Chuhn and pianist Kim Tae-Hyung

Tickets are available at SISTIC:

'Viva Verdi!' by Bellepoque - 28 November 2013

Fresh from the success of Not Quite the Moulin Rouge, Bellepoque presents a tribute to Verdi on 28 November at the Esplanade Recital Studio. Here's more information:


Bellepoque and the Italian Cultural Institute presents: Viva Verdi!

As part of the celebrations occurring worldwide on the occasion of Giuseppe Verdi’ 200th anniversary, the Italian Cultural Institute and Bellepoque present: Viva Verdi, a recital that will offer a selection of Verdi’s best arias and songs from some of his most famous and beloved operas. The recital will not only feature some of the best opera voices in Singapore, but it will also present the history behind the arias that have marked the development of Italian music in the XIX century.


Brendan-Keefe Au, Singapore
Angela Cortez, Philippines
Edwin Cruz, Philippines
Shaun Lee, Singapore
William Lim, Singapore
Satsuki Nagatome, Japan
Sabrina Zuber, Italy

With the extraordinary participation of Italian actress and director Alessandra Fel

Music Direction: Albert Lin, Singapore
Conceptualization: Dr Thomas Manhart, Germany

Thursday 28 November, 8pm at Esplanade Recital Studio

Tickets at 32SGD (excl. Sistic charges); concessions apply.


Check out the Events Page for more details!

Singapore Symphony Children's Choir

Ever dreamed that your child/cousin/nephew/niece could be Singapore's answer to Maria Callas? Get her started with professional training at the Singapore Symphony Children's Choir! Auditions are held on 23 November 2013 (Saturday).

Click to enlarge
Click HERE to download the application form

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Fossacesia Opera Camp (in Italy) - 15 to 29 January 2014

Yeah I know its quite a mouthful. Took me a while to learn how to spell it too!

Basically this is a project that I'm putting together with my friend and mentor Emilio Marcucci, an Italian baritone that I met while singing Aida with the Rome Opera and Taipei Symphony, and his girlfriend, soprano Monica Tarone who made her La Scala debut last year. We are conducting a 15 day course for budding opera singers worldwide to come and sing in an Italy theatre.

The programme that we are doing are major highlights of La Boheme and La Traviata, basically most of the two operas without those pesky choral and recit bits. It will be held at the small Italian town of Fossacesia, which we can take a bus ride from Rome. Its a seaside town with fresh seafood, historical sites, a traditional Italian theatre and relatively cheap lodging (by European standards).

We hope to conduct the course from 15 to 29 January 2014, to coincide with the Italian holidays. However we may postpone it till later next year depending on circumstances. I understand that its close to Chinese New Year, but really what could be more important than debuting a lead Italian opera role in the birthplace of opera itself?

The theatre where we will be staging our final performance

Check out our website via the link below. There you can also find bios and videos of the two singers/coaches. Do email me if you have any questions. Hope its something that will be useful to opera students in this region. Phew!!!

SLO Children's Choir - 'This Joy'

The SLO Children's Choir will be staging their annual concert on 7 December, this with a Christmas theme and with guest performances from the Opera Chorus, the company's ensemble The ExpressosC.H.I.J (Kellock), Geylang Methodist Primary School, Marsiling Primary School and White Sands Primary School, participants of the company's Singing for All outreach programme. The evening will be conducted by Khor Ai-Ming. More information via their press release excerpt below:

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Introducing the Substation's Director's Lab

The photo above might look like a promo for Japanese porn, but its really for a presentation under the Substation's Director's Lab project. While this post has got nothing to do with opera, I thought I'd share some information about other parts of our arts scene.

'The Directors’ Lab is an 18-month participant-designed research, development, and mentorship programme for emerging local theatre practitioners keen on researching and developing new and/or specific directing methodologies in theatre and the performing arts in Singapore and Southeast Asia.

A core committee consisting of five practitioners in local theatre and performance will support and advise on the administration and management of the programme. It is responsible for the selection of participants and mentors in the programme, will assist in initiating local and regional networking and will provide professional support to the participants of the program through regular meetings and discussions.' (quote taken from the Director's Lab website).

(Back to me:) I had the pleasure of attending an open-to-public workshop of Eng Kai-Er, one of the six participants selected from this programme. Titled Work-in-Progress, it is the first time that the 18 month incubation piece is presented for the first time in front of a live audience. We are then taken to a post-show reception where we were treated to snacks and invited to give feedback as to how the performance should move forward.

The show presented was a non-linear collection of scenes that are at times farcical, at times thought provoking. It also benefited from the live singing of singer Alvin Koh, who included a few lines of Total Eclipse from Handel's Samson in the show.

If you wish to find out more, you can check out the Director's Lab's official website here:

Saturday, October 26, 2013

SLO's Verdi Gala in Review

I had a very enjoyable time at the Verdi Gala. Much of the evening's success is due to the competently supported by the SLO orchestra led by Darrell Ang, which produced a warm and lean sound that it is expressive without overwhelming the singers. The singers are all seasoned professionals, though some took to the Verdi idiom better than others.

Of the programme, given the many hits that Verdi had composed for both amateur listeners and connoisseurs, a wishlist for such a programme could potentially be endless and impossible to please. Friends I spoke to all had different ideas of how the programme should have went. Nonetheless the team has struck a good balance between the rare and popular, and a good balance between choral, orchestra, solo and ensembles  excerpts. So one gets to hear bits of Nabucco, Attila, Luisa Miller, Macbeth and Un Ballo in Maschera, as well as a healthy dose of excerpts from La Traviata (which the company doesn't seem to get enough of, ending with the ubiquitous Brindisi and then offering it again as an encore).

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Free Streaming: Antonio Pappano's War Requiem

Antonio Pappano's recording of Benjamin Britten's War Requiem is no available for pre-order, you can also listen to the entire album via streaming on Soundcloud. It features Anna Netrebko, Ian Bostridge and Thomas Hampson as soloists. You can listen to it here:

Monday, October 21, 2013

Sunday, October 20, 2013

'Crazy Christmas' by the Ting Tong Belles - 11 to 22 Dec 2013

Dream Academy presents a Christmas revue Crazy Christmas from 11 to 22 December 2013, featuring the Ting Tong Belles Selena Tan, Pam Oei, Judee Tan, Mina Kaye, Glory Ngim, Petrina Kow, Seong Hui Xuan and Denise Tan. 'Broadway Beng' Sebastian Tan, Kumar and vocal band Vocaluptous will also be taking the stage.

Find out more at the Events Page!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Adam Gyorgy's Piano Masterclass at Steinway Gallery

Hungarian pianist Adam Gyorgy is a young virtuoso at only 31 but that hasn't stopped him from teaching students whenever his touring schedule allows. Budding local pianist Wang Congyu credits him as an important mentor. I got to spend a nice Saturday morning observing him mentor three young pianists at the Steinway Gallery at Palais Renaissance.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Time Out Interview with Sabrina Zuber

Time Out Singapore interviews Sabrina Zuber for the latest installment of her Bellepoque series, Not Quite the Moulin Rouge, running this Thursday till Sunday. Check it out here:

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Affordable Dance Classes by Professional Expat Dancers near Town Area

Just Live Dance Company (JSLN) offers affordable dance lessons in ballet (beginner and intermediate class), men's ballet, contemporary dance, tango and salsa classes at their studio only 5 minutes from Farrar Park MRT station.

Each class range from one to one and a half hours, at only $22.50 each, and are taught by professional dancers from Germany and the UK. There are no obligations to sign packages, certainly no hard-sell tactics, but they are certainly available. Discounts are also given for referrals.

Check out the company's schedule of classes on their official website. You can also view their video profile here:

Monday, October 14, 2013

Auditions for President’s Young Performers Concert 2014

From the official press release:

President’s Young Performers Concert 2013
The Singapore Symphony Orchestra calls for applications from outstanding young musicians for the SSO President's Young Performers Concert 2014. Auditions will be held for shortlisted Singaporean string, woodwind, brass, percussion and conducting musicians.

Successful candidates will perform as soloist in a concerto with the national orchestra in July/August 2014. The performance will be graced by the President of the Republic of Singapore, His Excellency Tony Tan Keng Yam, who is also the Patron of the SSO.

Applicants should be Singapore citizens. Instrumentalists should be no more than 25 years of age, and conductors, no more than 35 years of age, as of 1 July 2014. They are invited to send in, by 29 November 2013, their biography including their date of birth, musical background and contact information as well as a non-returnable DVD recording of their performance of one movement of a concerto to the following address:

c/o Singapore Symphony Orchestra Programming Department
4 Battery Road #20-01
Bank of China Building
Singapore 049908

Shortlisted applicants will be notified between December 2013 and January 2014 to perform a complete concerto in a live audition taking place between January and February 2014. Applicants should arrange for their own pianists to play the orchestral part during the live audition.

Past performers have included conductors Darrell Ang and Joshua Tan, violinists Chan Yoong-Han, Grace Lee, Yang Shuxiang and Gabriel Ng, as well as pianists Li Churen, Abigail Sin, Lim Yan, Jonathan Chua and Gavin Jared Bala.

We regret we are unable to entertain personal inquiries pertaining to the status of individual applications.

For more information, please visit

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Interview with Jessica Chen

So I had a pleasant phone chat with Jessica Chen Hsing-An earlier this week. Jessica is the newly appointed head of vocal studies at NAFA, as well as having sung the title-role in the Singapore Lyric Opera's 2008 production of Turandot. While others commented on her lack of volume, I was impressed by natural musicality and heartfelt rendition of the role. She will next be appearing at the Singapore Lyric Opera's gala concert of Verdi music on 24 October 2013 (Thursday).

While a busy schedule did not allow for a face-to-face session, Jessica was pleasant and forthcoming on the phone, offering interesting information with little prompting. We discussed her current teaching gig in Singapore, switching voices from mezzo to dramatic soprano, and differences in music education between Taiwan and Singapore. Her's a short introduction to her background followed by a transcript of our conversation:

Dr. Jessica Chen Hsing-An earned a D.M.A. in Vocal Performance from the University of Californa, Los Angeles and is the head of vocal studies at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA). After seven years as a mezzo‐soprano, she has developed her career as a soprano through the role of Santuzza in Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana. Major roles include the title role in Puccini’s Turandot, the title role in Verdi’s Aida, Donna Elvira from Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Brünnhilde from Wagner’s Die Walküre, Madame de Croissy from Poulenc’s Dialogues des carmélites, Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Mahler’s Eighth Symphony and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. Major performances include the Thai Princess’ birthday celebration, the King of Malaysia’s charity concert, the Singapore Lyric Opera’s 20th anniversary concert, the Taiwanese 100th anniversary National Celebration Day, NAFA’s 75th anniversary concert as well as engagements at the Singapore Lyric Opera and Opera UCLA.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Carmen in KL by the Eat Sing Travel Company

The Eat Sing Trabel Company in KL is will unveil a full production of Carmen later this month, with soprano Ang Mei Foong as Carmen, tenor Dr. Yap Jin Hin as Don José, sopranos Jane Soong and Jamie Sampana as Micaëla, baritone Cipriano “Zip” De Guzman Jr. as Escamillo and the amazing young maestro Florian Caroubi on the piano. It promises to be an upclose and personal operatic experience. Here's the link to tickets:!est-store/c1jfp

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Berlin Philharmonic Live at the Esplanade - DVD Release

Perhaps its because they have already filmed every concert at their regular concert hall for their digital concert subscription series that made them want to change locations for DVD releases, just to add some variety, or perhaps this is a subtle reflection of the STB's work, and kudos to them if that's the case. Either way, YAY to the Berlin Phil for expanding their prodigious recording activities to our shores.

I've already a performance via live simulcast during the Taipei stop of this same tour, so I will probably skip this DVD (not that I buy that many concert DVDs anyway), but this is certainly one that a Singaporean classical music lover would not feel out of place to have in his collection. Isn't it wonderful that Western arts groups are now acknowledging the presence of their Asian audiences in such a big way?

Its even available  in 3D on blu-ray, so that you can see those durian spikes pop out of your TV!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Voices - Ensemble Singing Festival

The Esplanade presents a new music festival celebrating the art of ensemble singing, traditional and contemporary. Line-up includes the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and many well-known local a cappella groups. Check out the event description here:

Sunday, October 6, 2013

An Interview with Karen Seah

Karen Seah has done it all: a school teacher turned events management entrepreneur turned arts manager, tango dancer and opera singer. She will be presenting her first recital on 14 October (Monday) at The Arts House Living Room, featuring a programme of Puccini arias interspersed with two Chinese art songs. We had a short chat with her to find out what we can look forward to:

SSO Young Composer Workshop 2014

Ever dreamed of having the SSO play your own composition? Here's your chance! The SSO is now calling for young composers to submit their works, for a work-shop-cum-concert on 11 February 2014. Find out more here:

The Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO) calls for new orchestral scores from Singaporean and Singapore-based composers aged 35 years and below for inclusion in the SSO Young Composer Workshop held at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music on 11 February 2014, which is held in conjunction with the orchestra’s 35th anniversary.

The workshop will be conducted by the SSO’s Associate Conductor Jason Lai, and up to three of the works will be performed by the SSO in a free concert at the Conservatory on 13 February 2014. Says Mr Anthony Brice, the SSO’s General Manager: “The SSO has for many years actively supported the development of young talent through performance opportunities including the President's Young Performers Concert. I’m delighted the SSO is now able to offer this workshop and potential performance for young composers which will be of tremendous value to their development as well as showcasing the burgeoning talent in Singapore.”

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Another Free SCO Concert - 13 Oct 2013 at the Singapore Botanic Gardens

The Singapore Chinese Orchestra presents another free concert a day after their free gig at Hong Lim Park! This one is at the Singapore Botanic Gardens and features a different progamme.


Keppel Land - SCO Outdoor Rhapsody: World of Animals
Date: 13 October 2013 (Sunday)
Time: 6pm
Venue: Shaw Foundation Symphony Stage, Singapore Botanic Gardens
Free admission

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

'Sex.Violence.Blood.Gore' by Alfian Sa'at

Click to enlarge
This play about gender issues is neither an opera nor a musical, but it looks like a good time to be had if you can make the trip down to Goodman Arts Centre this Saturday and Sunday, with shows in the afternoon and evening. Here's the write-up:


Red Pills Productions is very proud to present Sex.Violence.Blood.Gore written by talented local playwright Alfian Sa'at!

We would like invite you and your students to join us for a night of debauchery and laughs as we flesh out the carnal fantasies that may have lurked on the edge of your dreams (or nightmares) for your viewing pleasure.

Sex.violence.blood.gore is a collection of absorbing and highly amusing stories on issues of sexuality, desire and gender. From a geography teacher at the height of her sexual awakening to two transvestites in love, the play dives into the not-so ordinary lives of Singaporeans as they lay bare their deepest darkest secrets.

The show also has an M18 rating.

Date: 5 - 6 October 2013
Time: 3pm and 8pm
Venue: Blackbox @ Goodman Arts Centre, 90 Goodman Road Singapore 439053

Tickets are priced at $18/pax
Come in a group of 5 and get a discount of $15/pax.

For more information, please visit our FB page
Tickets are sold on