March 30, 2016

Three days to the show, and three questions about three operas…


Most would cringe at the idea of sitting through a whole opera, with lengthy, complicated plots and over-the-top staging sung in a foreign language. What if you had the chance to sit through three operas in the span of only one hour?

L’arietta Productions defies the notion that opera is a boring art form. Watch them take on the challenge of performing 3 modern operas in English, all in just under an hour in the middle of orchard road.

In Horovitz’s Gentleman’s Island, two Victorian gents are washed up on an island. How will they interact with each other when they haven’t been properly introduced?

In Window Shopping, written by local composer Chen Zhangyi, a girl and a woman ponder life, shoes, and priorities in a beautiful shoe shop.

Samuel Barber’s A Hand of Bridge explores the fantasies and the guilts of two couples that play cards every night, set in post-war America.

This production features Akiko Otao, Angela Hodgins, Brent Allcock, Reuben Lai, in a series of contemporary compositions directed by Jameson Soh.

Plink, Plonk, Plunk catches up with tenor Reuben Lai, who heads this project and performs as well.

How did you come up with the idea of having three operas in one hour?

R: We started out with A Hand of Bridge (by American composer Samuel Barber). Looking at the underlying themes, and the strength of our singers, we were able to incorporate a comedy from Horovitz (Gentleman’s Island). And we decided to include a local composer Chen Zhangyi’s Window Shopping  for a reflection into our lives driven by consumerism.

It’s a fun-sized production, giving the audience a fresh experience of opera within just one hour. All of the three operas also tend to have the same theme running through them, which was a very happy coincidence too and an example of perfect serendipity.

If you could sum up each opera in one word, what would they be?

R: Gentleman’s Island – Rules, Window Shopping – Consequence, Hand of Bridge – Desire

Which of the two characters in these three operas, if you could mix them up, would make the best couple? And why?

R: I think that Bill from A Hand of Bridge wouldn’t mind a night out with the pretty and young girl from Window Shopping. Come watch to find out why 🙂

“Honestly! 3 operas, one hour” explores the complexity of communication, and how we never really say what we mean through short contemporary operas.

Joseph Horovitz: Gentleman’s Island
Chen Zhangyi: Window Shopping
Samuel Barber: A Hand of Bridge

Good stories, fantastic music, all in one hour. Happening on Saturday, April 2nd, at 3pm and 7pm on the top floor of Orchard Central, at 10 Square. Tickets at $30 from

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