Singaporean and Trinity College of Music graduate Christine Seng's upcoming recital looks promising with Schumann's song cycle Fraunenliebe und Leben (literally translated as A Woman's Love and Life) as the centrepiece of the programme. I have a quick chat with her to find out what else we can expect:
The Mad Scene: What will you be presenting at this concert?
Christine: We will be singing Fraunenliebe und Leben and selected songs from Dichterliebe by Schumann; 4 lieders by Richard Strauss and Cuatro Madrigales Amatorios by Joaqin Rodrigo. I will also sing a duet from West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein with my good friend, tenor Kee Loi-Seng.
The Mad Scene: What inspired you to programme these pieces in this concert?
Christine: The love stories that touches everybody's heart. Frauneliebe und Leben, for example, though it is a story from a female point of view, about how a girl meets the love of her life and so on till the death of the loved one, but it can happen to anyone and it is very realistic yet romantic.
The Mad Scene: Have you performed with your onstage colleagues before? How has the experience of preparing for the show been so far?
Christine: Yes. I have sung withLoi-Seng in a Chinese Art Song recital which I did in 2009. In fact, we knew each other since we were secondary school students. Although we were from different schools, but we both were in the choir and that's how we met. It is really interesting to see how we both grow physically and musically after all these years. Haha...
The Mad Scene: Who are your favourite performers, operatic or otherwise?
Christine: I really like Barbara Bonney. She is very musical and sensitive in her singing. I like how she interpret art songs and how she uses voice as a mean to make music alive. I also like Renee Fleming a lot. She has got an amazing voice and her technique is superb. I especially admire the way she supports her voice with her breath. Sumi Jo is another legend. Joan Sutherland and Maria Callas are also my favourite. Oh the list goes on and on!
The Mad Scene: What albums or videos have you purchased recently that you would recommend to our readers?
Christine: I recently bought this album called The Very Best of Mirella Freni. Freni was a singer who not only had a fantastic voice but also a total artist who was willing to compromise technique for musical style. I think she was one of kind.
The Mad Scene: After this concert, what other opera roles, concert parts or song cycles would you like to perform in future?
Christine: After this concert I will be performing with the Euroasia Association of Performing Arts in Malaysia in the European Treasures gala concert, whereI will be singing O Mio Babbino Caro by Puccini and Je veux vivre by Gounod. Apart from that I am very attracted by the songs written by Edvard Grieg; maybe the next time I will sing some Scandinavian songs.
The Mad Scene: Lastly, tell us again why we should come and attend Poetry and Love?
Christine: We will try our best to showcase the audience the beauty of the classical art songs. Also there will be a guest violinist Christina Zhou who will be perform a solo piece and together we will also bring to you a piece by voice, violin and piano. I believe it's going to be an enjoyable evening of songs and great music.
More information about the concert here.