After a triumphant solo recital in 2014, London-based Singaporean soprano Ee Ping will be returning for another round at the Esplanade Recital Studio. Entitled Dreams, Passions and Love, it will see the veteran soprano perform up to 18 songs with pianist Pauline Lee, including works by Lehar, Barber, Poulenc and Pergolesi. Check out our interview below to find out what you can expect!
Ee Ping: Hello Steven, greetings from London! Fire your questions away please!
The Mad Scene: Great to hear from you Ee Ping! How is the recital planning coming along? What can we expect from you this time, programming wise?
Ee Ping: A lot of work goes into a recital, I will be presenting about 18 songs in French, English, Mandarin, Italian and German! It's a brand new programme from what I sang three years ago in Singapore.
The Mad Scene: That's a large programme!
Ee Ping: It's a feat to remember all the words in itself! I started preparing months ago, and I should say I'm nearly ready now. One can never be over-prepared, don't you agree?
The Mad Scene: Yes, I agree as the preparation gives us a deeper understanding of the music. Is there a particular theme when you select these songs to perform? Something that you wish to express with these pieces?
Ee Ping: The theme for this year's concert is Dreams, Passions and Love. All of them are songs that I love to sing from the bottom of my heart. I hope I can inspire the audience and bring them to another realm for an hour or so! This programme is a mixture of songs that are new to me and some I have learnt many moons ago but have had to relearn. After some years, it feels and sits different vocally.
The important thing is: nearly every song that I have chosen is what I love to sing and would like to share it with the audience. Because I love singing them, I'm sure the audience would be able to feel it as well.
The programme are all songs, only two arias at the end of the recital. I love doing art songs, so much more intimate, and you can really hear the finer nuances (if any!) Rather than opera arias, where you 'blast' through a lot of it! (Or maybe it's just me, LOL!)
|As Donna Elvira|
Ee Ping: I have picked quite a few familiar/ favourite tunes. Torna Surriento, Vilja Lied from The Merry Widow, An Die Musik by Schubert. I especially love the Samuel Barber songs and Chausson's Le Colibri!
The Mad Scene: Your last recital was such a success. Perhaps as a reference for young singers, what is your process of putting together a recital programme, and is the process this time different from the last time? If so, in what way?
Ee Ping: As you know, you're only as good as your last show. Hopefully my years of knowledge and experience will show. I put the programme together in the classic way: group them by languages, and ending with something fast and flamboyant in each of the first and second half.
|As The Woodbird in Siegfried|
The Mad Scene: Thomas Kuek is producing your concert this time (as well as the last time); he is of course an established singing teacher here who has also taught you in your early days. Could you describe your relationship with him? I mean, producing a recital is quite a large undertaking, he must be quite fond of you to be doing this! (I say this having produced two concerts for Martin Ng myself.)
Ee Ping: You must be very fond of Martin Ng yourself then! Yes it's a lot of work for you and Thomas Kuek as you must know. He was my first and only singing teacher in Singapore at 16 years old. After that I went to the Guildhall School of Music and have been in the UK ever since! We have a very special relationship; he is always in the wings for me, nurturing me, giving me guidance and not afraid of telling me the truth throughout all these years. He has a heart of gold. We respect each other a lot, and I'm probably his little 'teacher's pet'!
The Mad Scene: Haha... I'm sure he must be a proud mother hen to have seen you grown all these years!
Ee Ping: Yes, in fact he still nags at me rather a lot! Haha... Its mostly with admin matters like PR, but he wants the best for me, I know...
The Mad Scene: We Singaporean audiences have not see you live for a while, what and where have you been performing recently, in concerts and opera productions?
Ee Ping:I have such a busy life in London, have barely any time to stop and think, much less time to chase the jobs unless they approach me. I have recitals planned in July 2017 and 2018 in the UK, and adjudication in the Hong Kong music festivals 2018. There is also a possible ASEAN tour of Magic Flute later this year with the English Pocket Opera. My plate is too full, plus I have loads of students!
The Mad Scene: The Magic Flute tour sounds exciting! what will you play if it does come about?
Ee Ping: I will be playing the part of Pamina, haven't done so for years!!
The Mad Scene: Wow that's great! Thanks so much Ee Ping! Looking forward to your recital on 6 April Thursday!
Ee Ping: Thanks Steven!
Ee Ping's recital Dreams, Passions and Love is on 7 April 2017, 7.45pm at the Esplanade Recital Studio. Please call or message Thomas Kuek at 9385-4219 to book your tickets!