January 5, 2015

The Brahms Sonatas: a review

The Brahms Sonatas: a review

‘Good Brahms is like char kway teow’, a friend once told me, ‘it is complex and has different layers, but too much of it when played the wrong way can make one sick of it’. Also, one of my benchmarks of good Brahms music would be whether or not the barlines can be heard. Loyal followers of Plink, Plonk, Plunk may have read this post, written during the time I was preparing for a small university-wide piano competition in Leeds (that I eventually won, yay) when my teacher Ian Buckle chided me for my audible barlines.


Brahms: The Violin Sonatas
Lee Shi Mei, violin, Lim Yan, piano
Esplanade Recital Studio
3 Jan 2014

Although a very popular programme on CDs and recitals (the last time the exact same programme was performed was just a year and a half ago, by Vladimir Choi and Albert Lin), it is still no mean feat to perform all three Brahms violin sonatas in a single concert.

Instead of chronologically, Lee and Lim opted to begin with the pastoral Second Sonata in A Major. From the opening bars one could already see that this partnership was going to be a successful one: Lee and Lim blended together well, fluidly passing the melody from piano to violin in the first movement. The tempo changes in the second movement were also seamless and not overly exaggerated.

In all, there was a wonderful naturalness about their playing, along with a sense of understated musicality, which conveyed the lyrical effusiveness of the sonatas. In the First Sonata, which Lee mentioned was the closest of all to her, the emotions were just as subtly brought out, from the agitation in the first movement, the underlying and profound sadness in the second, and the passion in the third movement, of which the ‘Regenlied’ or ‘rain song’ can be found, earning the sonata its nickname.

The passion continued all through the longer and more complex Third Sonata, op. 108, where the stormy key of d minor set the turbulent scene in the beginning and led to an immediate explosion of energy in the finale. Even at their loudest, Lee remained perfectly in tune and in control, the rich and full tone of her violin never overpowered by Lim.

As if there was not already enough Brahms for the evening, the duo returned to perform Brahms’ Scherzo from the collaboratively written F-A-E sonata, and the tender lied Wie Melodien zieht es mir leise durch denn Sinn, the first of five lieder in Op. 105 which is thematically linked to the Second Sonata. Thereafter, Lim jokingly mentioned that there was ‘just one more encore because today is a special day’, and turned the opening chords of the Second Sonata into a quasi birthday song.

Happy belated birthday, Shi Mei, and thank you both for the wonderful evening of music! And if anyone is wondering: nope, their music most definitely had inaudible barlines 🙂

December 11, 2014

TPO New Year’s Eve Countdown Concert 2015

TPO New Year’s Eve Countdown Concert 2015

They’re back again! The Philharmonic Orchestra is having their New Year’s Eve Countdown Concert yet again, so if you don’t want to be jostling with the crowds at Siloso Beach or around the Esplanade, then why not join TPO in the classiest way to spend the countdown?


1) Strauss- Fledermaus Overture
2) Strauss- Emperor’s Waltz
3) Dvorak- Slavonic Dance No. 8 (Furiant in G minor )
4) Rimsky-Korsakov- Capriccio Espagnole


5) Ellington/ Strayhorn/ Tchaikovsky- Nutcracker Suite
6) Hayman- Pops Hoedown
7) Williams- Schindler’s List
8) Respighi- Pines (4th movement only)

So ring in 2015 in style with an evening of classics! Sit back and celebrate the year-end with orchestral favourites from Johann Strauss’ best loved waltzes to Duke Ellington’s popular arrangement of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite. There’s also some movie music, and watch and countdown with the Orchestra as they play Respighi’s exciting Pines of the Appian Way as the clock strikes midnight!

Led by Maestro Lim Yau and hosted by William Ledbetter, The Philharmonic Orchestra promises a pleasurable evening and good company on December 31st.

They also promise a glass of bubbly 🙂

Tickets available from Sistic, $37 for one and $60 for a pair.

ps. Look, they’re featured here as one of Straits Times’ best parties to countdown!

December 3, 2014

The Way North by 92steel&guts – An Advertisement

The Way North by 92steel&guts – An Advertisement

92steel&guts presents THE WAY NORTH

Sunday, 4th January 2015 || 4:30pm – 6:15pm (incl. Intermission)

Esplanade Recital Studio

Free Admission || Donations welcomed, post-concert


Gelato and pizza by the Leaning Tower, a scorching 40°C;
Star-gazing under the Aurora Borealis at a freezing –40°C.
Mamma-mia! Basta! ; Uff da! Så spennende!!!


Join 92steel&guts as we journey north in search of what really embodies Italy and

Norway – is Respighi really the award-winning pasta chef? Is Grieg that capable

seafarer from your last sailing holiday? Find out more at The Way North!

92steel&guts comprises violinist Tang Tee Tong and pianist Wong Yun Qi,

Singaporean musicians who are currently based in USA and Germany respectively.

The duo will be joined by guest singer Choy Siew Woon for their debut concert.



A selection of norwegian folksongs and folkdances, transcribed and improvised for

Voice, Violin and Piano || Edvard Grieg – Sonata for Violin and Piano, Nr. 3 || Ottorino

Respighi – Sonata for Violin and Piano || A selection from Ottorino Respighi´s 5 Pezzi


TICKET REGISTRATION through one of the following channels!

1. Do a reservation on their Facebook page – 92steel&guts

2. Send them an email – 92steelguts@gmail.com

3. Send them an SMS – +65 8494-9723

They will send you a ticket confirmation through the same channel.


FOLLOW them on Facebook: 92steel&guts for more updates!

December 2, 2014

Living with Brandon Voo: Asian Arpeggione and Romantic Rachmaninoff

Living with Brandon Voo: Asian Arpeggione and Romantic Rachmaninoff

Living with Brandon Voo
Brandon Voo, cello, Lin Xiu Min, piano
Living Room at The Arts House
Monday, 1 Dec 2014

Titled ‘Asian Arpeggione and Romantic Rachmaninoff’, the programme consisted of Schubert’s Sonata in A Minor for Arpeggione and Piano, D821, and Rachmaninoff’s Cello Sonata in G Minor, Op. 19, two sonatas which bookended the Romantic period of the nineteenth century.

the Viole de Paquin, or 琶琴


a mix of oriental features, with the fingerboard and bow of a cello but a chinese head and tuning pegs


The Schubert sonata, originally written for the now-extinct Arpeggione (a 5-stringed fretted instrument that was bowed like a cello), was performed by Voo on another now-defunct instrument which he affectionally nicknamed the Viole de Paquin. This instrument, known as the paqin in mandarin, was first invented to replace cellos in a Chinese orchestra, but the trend did not catch on. It was a hybrid of east and west, having a pear-shaped body like a pipa but the fingerboard and strings of a cello, which made its timbre close to that of an arpeggione.

Voo opted for a more laid-back tempo for the first movement of the Schubert, which resulted in a languorous and slightly lethargic feel. He looked uncomfortable with the instrument, and this was further confirmed by the numerous intonation issues which were present throughout the entire sonata, but were much more prominent in the first movement. In the second movement, the use of vibrato ensured slightly better intonation and a weightier tone. The drama was suitably brought out in the third movement, but it was a pity that the dynamic range and tone colours from the Viole de Paquin were limited and not as varied or subtle as pianist Lin Xiu Min’s accompaniment.


Lin and his trusty page-turner


Rachmaninoff’s Cello Sonata is as famous for its richly burgeoning melodies as it is infamous for its fiendishly difficult piano part. Lin rose to the occasion brilliantly, navigating through the notes with complete ease, knowing when to hold back and when to take the spotlight, Voo, who swapped the Viole de Paquin for a cello that he was more familiar with, delivered intensely passionate lines that wove themselves in the tapestry of Rachmaninoff’s music. His timbre in the upper range was sweetly lyrical, contrasting well with the darkly powerful and sonorous bass. The duo were mutually attentive and sensitive to each other at all times, storming through the exciting, heart-thumping second movement that later gave way to the more introspective third movement, then later racing through most of the joyous and triumphant final movement at a breathtaking speed.


As ardent applause from the full house ensued, Voo dished out “Truckin’ through the South”, a jazzy encore for solo cello by Aaron Minsky.

taking their bows at the end of the concert


Although a tad experimental, the Rachmaninoff Sonata which made the recital a most inspiring and memorable one.

photo credits: ©Jeff Low from http://style-revisited.com/

November 26, 2014

LANXESS-SNYO Classic ‘Musical Virtuosos’: Exclusive Interview with Natalie Clein

LANXESS-SNYO Classic ‘Musical Virtuosos’: Exclusive Interview with Natalie Clein
Whether it is playing a four-note warm-up exercise, demonstrating a phrase, or playing a concerto, cellist Natalie Clein plays every note with an infectious passion. She cares so much about her music that she would rather use her free time to warm up and practise than have dinner(!!!). Squeezing in time for a brief interview in a day of 8 students and rehearsal with the orchestra in the evening, Plink, Plonk, Plunk catches up with her in the final part of a series of interviews.

Natalie interviews Natalie!


First, a bit more about yourself: you come from quite a musical family, I understand. 
Did you choose to play the cello? 
I started on the violin when I was 4: it was definitely going to be a stringed instrument, that was on the cards, because my mother is a professional violinist and my father is a passionate amateur who plays the violin and viola. So I started on the violin and wasn’t getting on so well with it – I was wanting to tell my mum how to do it all the time! My father was very smart and came home one day when I was about six years old with a tiny cello, and I fell in love with it.
What was it like growing up?
We did sometimes play together, and it was fun, but sometimes fought as well, as all families do.. I would say that I was very privileged, because there was very often live chamber music around the house in the evenings; I got to hear live chamber music from a young age, and this is something I think all young people should be given a chance to experience, but of course many don’t. Many only experience music in the media, and they don’t understand what live music is – that it is a little bit like never hearing somebody sing for them, and only hearing pop music over the radio or something. Having live music experiences is very important, and you get the feeling of doing it yourself, and feeling empowered.
How much practice do you get in a day? 
A little less now than last time. I used to get about 5 hours in a day when I was studying, and now I’ve learnt to be a bit more economical, and I manage on about 2-3 hours. If I have to learn a new work, then it goes back to 5 hours. 
What would be a typical day for you? 
Oh, there’s no such thing as a typical day! Because everyday is a little different. But my day will nearly always consist of practicing, and either performing or teaching and sometimes both. Usually, if it’s a performance day, I might travel somewhere and then rehearse, have a short rest, and then play a concert. 
Otherwise I would be teaching at home or at the Royal College in London, and in between all of that I’m looking after my little daughter as well. I have busy days..
Do you ever get nervous when playing? 
I always feel butterflies in my stomach. That’s a kind of positive nerves – an energy, an excitement – it’s not always pleasant or a comfortable experience, but I think it’s essential for performing. But not letting it get to you is a skill, and it takes practice and some experience.
Let’s talk about your cello. I think musicians and their instruments are kind of like wizards and their wands in Harry Potter. You play on a Guadagnini cello. How long have you had it, and how did you know it was the one for you? 
I’ve had it for about 8-9 years. I was studying in Vienna, and I got to know of it through a dealer. Unfortunately I don’t own the instrument – these instruments are too expensive to own – they are owned by a group of shareholders, and I’m one of them as well. These instruments, I’d like to think we don’t own them, but we are just guardians if the instrument, for a certain amount of time. I’m very blessed to have it travelling with me on my journeys.
I see. And if you had the choice would you change this cello for another? 
I hope and pray to have this instrument for as long as I play. 

Natalie in rehearsal with the SNYO, playing on her 1777 Guadagnini cello


Is there a contemporary composer you would commission a work from? And why? 
There is a living composer whom I would love to commission a work.. It’s Sofia Gubaidulina. She’s about eighty now, a Russian composer, and I met her for the first time this summer and played a piece of hers. She’s fantastic, and very interesting composer. 
Besides commissions and collaborations with musicians, you’ve done some collaborations with a dancer and a writer. Can you tell me more about those? 
With a dancer I was playing solo Bach, and he was dancing. And it was just him, Carlos Acosta, and me on stage. It was like a chamber music piece together, a really successful production I have to say. It was exciting to learn a bit about dance, and to have this game of chamber music together. I hope to do more with dance in the future.
And with a writer it was a very creative project: she wrote, inspired by the Goldberg Variations. We were playing a theatre piece for string trio and actress. The actress was reading the words, and the string trio was playing the Bach. The writer was Jeanette Winterson, who is a great inspiration and also friend of mine. 
What do you think of Singapore and the musicians which you’ve worked with so far? 
Ah, I’m thrilled to be here in Singapore, and it is the Lanxess initiative which brought me here. It’s my first time in Singapore, and I have met lots of musicians here.. I’ve given masterclasses at NAFA and here in the conservatory as well, so in a short amount of time I’ve covered a lot of ground! 

The Youth Orchestra (SNYO) is a group of bright, hopeful, optimistic, young musicians with a great future, whichever path they choose, whether music or not: some will become musicians, and others will be music lovers, and that’s just as important. 
It has been a lot of fun for me, I went to the botanical gardens yesterday which was, really, very beautiful. And so far it’s been an inspiring and positive experience for me, and I hope, for everyone as well.


Name one thing about Singapore which you will come back for.
Many things! One thing I can say for sure is that I’ve eaten some fantastic food here, so that’s definitely always something I’ll come back for.. So, food, and all the new friends I’ve made.
Which composer do you wish would have written a cello concerto but didn’t?
That’s a good question! And an interesting one too because Brahms and Beethoven did not write cello concertos but they sort of did.. Beethoven wrote the triple concerto and Brahms wrote the double concerto, and both of them are cello-oriented because they are almost cello concertos. Still, saying that, I would’ve been fascinated to see what Beethoven would have come up with as a cello concerto, because the violin concerto is one of my all-time favourite pieces. And the same goes for Brahms, I adore the violin concerto, and would’ve loved to see what Brahms would have done.
After hearing Dvorak’s cello concerto, Brahms famously wrote that, had he known that one could write like that for the cello, he would have written a cello concerto. And of course there’s the beautiful cello solo in the second piano concerto.. So he was nearly almost there, but didn’t write a cello concerto.
I had a dream once actually, that I took up the floorboards in my old flat in London and I discovered Brahms’ cello concerto! I was reading the score, and it was speaking to me..  
And which composer wrote for cello but you wish he/she hadn’t? 
Beethoven! (chuckling) No no no, it’s not true, but it’s just that the Beethoven is so hard but very beautiful. No, I won’t say that. There’s very little cello music that I wish hasn’t been written because beggars can’t be choosers. We don’t have an endless repertoire, so we have to love everything that’s been written.
But I’ll tell you what I wish: if only Tchaikovsky had written a little bit more for the cello. And also the Rococo Variations are usually played in the revised version, which does irritate me. The original version is for me more musically satisfying although audiences and orchestras often don’t like it as much.
The pieces that are musically deep are often very cellistically interesting in some way. I guess you can always find something interesting in almost everything you play..

a post-interview picture

After the interview, a studio class of 3 and 5 other students in the day, Natalie showed no sign of tiring during that evening’s full orchestra rehearsal, where she gave an exhilarating account of a Saint-Saëns concerto followed by a soulful rendition of Faure’s elegie. Don’t miss this one-night-only performance, happening tonight at the Esplanade Concert Hall! Tickets are priced at $10, and available from Sistic.

photo credits: ©Jeff Low from http://style-revisited.com/

Plink, Plonk, Plunk is gratefully indebted to Jeff Low of Style Revisited for appearing at such short notice (40 minutes, please do not ever engage a photographer this way!) to help with photographs. Without him, photography would be limited to an iPhone 4 camera and most probably awkward-looking selfies. Jeff is an amazingly talented classical guitarist, a sensitive musician himself, and has an eye for special moments and the heart for people. That’s the soul of his work, of which the result is some stunning photography.

November 26, 2014

Interview with Lau Yun Xi, SNYO Cellist

Interview with Lau Yun Xi, SNYO Cellist

Young cellist Lau Yun Xi is one to look out for. At 15, she is one of the best cellists in the SNYO, and she was one of three cellists selected to fly to London for a week to be mentored under British award-winning cellist Natalie Clein. In the second part of three interviews, she tells Plink, Plonk, Plunk more about herself.

Hello! How old are you this year, and how long have you been playing cello?

I’m 15, and have been playing cello for 9-10 years

Did you choose to learn the cello?

Nope, it’s dad’s favourite instrument and he bought one for me.

Do you play any other musical instruments?


Which did you pick up first?

I guess I picked up both at around the same time.

Who inspires you?

Jacqueline Du Pre, I like her recording of Elgar (cello concerto), and Rostropovich’s Bach.
And Ms Clein as well, she has such an amazing big sound…

You went on a study trip last year to London, can you tell me more about it?

It was a week long, and not entirely musical as well – we got to walk around and see London too. Ms Clein gave a performance of Britten, and we attended and played in classes at the RCM. We also watched the London Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican; it was a gala concert, in celebration of Valery Gergiev’s 60th birthday. We also got to perform at the end of it.

How was Ms Clein as a teacher? And what was one most important lesson you learnt from her?

She’s very nice, very patient, and such a good teacher. I’ve learnt so much from her, all so important.. Guess it would be intonation

What was most memorable about that trip?

The masterclasses – I learnt a lot from Ms Clein, and we learnt from each other as well..

Do you have a favourite piece that you would like to learn some day?

Dvorak and Elgar cello concertos

What’s your favourite work or composer?
Brahms. I’ve been learning and will be playing the e minor sonata for the studio class later, and it is quite an emotional work, much more difficult to get the music than the notes

Any hobbies besides playing cello (if you even count that as a hobby)?

Reading, listening to music, especially on rainy days

Yunxi then went on to perform the first movement of a Brahms cello sonata, and the tone she drew out from the cello was simply gorgeous. She plays with the Singapore National Youth Orchestra  this Thursday evening, with soloist Natalie Clein under the baton of Jason Lai at the Esplanade Concert Hall, 7.30pm. Tickets going at $10 each, available from Sistic.

Photo credits: ©Jeff Low from http://style-revisited.com/

November 25, 2014

LANXESS-SNYO Classic ‘Musical Virtuosos’: Exclusive Interview with Jason Lai!

LANXESS-SNYO Classic ‘Musical Virtuosos’: Exclusive Interview with Jason Lai!

Apologies for the long hiatus, there have been a few log-in and password issues, but everything’s back and running – and just in time too, for the upcoming LANXESS-SNYO concert happening at the Esplanade Concert Hall on Thursday evening.

As a lead-up to the concert, Plink, Plonk, Plunk gets in contact with three of the people involved. Here’s the first of three interviews, and it is none other than the conductor, Jason Lai. The British orchestral conductor has been hailed by the BBC as one of the leading lights in a new generation of young conductors after winning the BBC Young Conductors Workshop. He is also a broadcaster, cellist, and composer, and is at present the Associate Conductor with the SSO, the Hong Kong Sinfonietta, and Principal Conductor of the YST Conservatory Orchestra. As he keeps an extremely busy schedule, he gives his answers in an e-mail interview below.

Jason Lai conducts the SNYO-YST orchestra with Natalie Clein playing solo

You’ve studied composition and cello and then conducting, which is your favourite thing to do?

I miss playing the cello, particularly chamber music, and composing new pieces but conducting is my favourite thing. Every time I conduct I get an incredible buzz. Especially since I get to conduct great music, great works of art that have been left to us by great composers!

Do you still have time to play cello and compose when you’re conducting so much?

Unfortunately not, however, I still love to listen to the cello and explore new music from the new generation of composers. 

And if you still have extra time, what do you like to do in your spare time?

My passion is photography. I always take my camera with me when I head out to explore. My camera is always on, and I never leave my lens cap on. This way I can capture interesting moments at all times without missing a beat. I’d love to hold a photography exhibition soon and am working to create a collection of work that I would very much like to share.

You’ve won a conducting competition and that resulted in a chance to conduct the BBC orchestras and choirs. What was that like? What did you learn from it?

It was tough! On the hindsight winning the competition was the easy part. When you are standing on the podium for the first time as a winner, you then encounter the difficult part – proving to yourself and to everyone why you deserved the win. I always advise my students that you are only nervous when you are not fully prepared and engaged with the music.

You have conducted orchestras from Asia and Europe, are there any distinct differences between Asian and European orchestras?

Not really, orchestras tend to have a mix of players of different nationalities; hence they often have cultural differences. I remember once conducting an orchestra in Sweden. The orchestra sat and listened intently to everything I said. I was surprised and asked if there was anything wrong and they said no, they were listening to the rehearsal!

Some people think classical music is boring and only for the elite. What do you have to say to that?

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but what I would say is give classical music a go and you might like it! I was recently reading an article which suggests that classical music is for snobs and elites but you know what? You get rock n roll snobs, pop snobs, jazz snobs, RnB snobs….the world has room to accommodate all this music and more so just let’s live side by side shall we?!

I’m sure you’ve worked with many people before. Can you tell of the most interesting or inspiring personality that you’ve worked with?

I was lucky enough to work with Colin Davis who sadly, passed away last year. He was a great conductor who shared with me many things including advice about how to be the best conductor. It was well known that as a young man he was quite direct and abrupt with orchestra, in a manner some would say rude. He had told me once that he regretted behaving in such a manner and that I should treat musicians with respect and patience. Those words have always stayed with me.

Finally, say in 50 words or less, what your favourite piece of music is, and why? 

Too many pieces to say which my favourite is. There is simply so much music out there and I’m listening to new things all the time. But If I had to listen to the Bach’s everyday for the rest of my life I would count myself lucky.

Catch Jason Lai in action conducting the Singapore National Youth Orchestra this Thursday evening at the Esplanade Concert Hall, 7.30pm. Tickets going at $10 each, available from Sistic. Stay tuned over the next few days for interviews with two other special people!

Photo credits: ©Jeff Low from http://style-revisited.com/

October 25, 2014

The Merry Widow – A Review

The Merry Widow – A Review
An edited version of this review will be published in The Straits Times on 27 Oct 2014. 

The Merry Widow
Singapore Lyric Opera
Esplanade Theatre
Friday, 24th October
Since gender stereotyping has come under intense media scrutiny of late, the Singapore Lyric Opera’s production of Franz Lehar’s The Merry Widow over the weekend couldn’t have come at a better time. Staged more as a musical than an opera with spoken dialogue, this well-loved operetta with its tuneful melodies was rife with gender stereotyping, mostly to do with women being enigmatic. It tells of a young, beautiful and stupendously wealthy widow’s quest to find a new husband, and her country men’s attempts to find her a local suitor for fear of losing her (and her money) to Paris, leaving their homeland of Pontevedro in bankruptcy.

Tiffany Speight shows she can dance the can-can and sing, in tune and in sync! 

The three-act operetta remained faithful to its quintessential Edwardian form with costumes, a chandelier, and can-can dancing Parisian girls, but was sung and spoken in English rather than the original German. Simple but versatile set design by Aaron Christopher Yap was made highly effective by innovative lighting from designer Adrian Tan, most memorably when the scene depicting a garden party was transformed into a magic forest for the song “Vilja” in an instant through subtle lighting changes in the backdrop.  

Camille and Valencienne in their tender love duet 

Ashley Catling as attaché Camille de Rosilion sounded weaker and a little forced in the first act, but warmed up to deliver a passionate love song ‘Red as the rose of May time’ in the second act. Tiffany Speight embraced the role of Camille’s love interest Valencienne with gusto. She was naturally suave and charming, even managing to stay perfectly in tune and in step while singing and dancing the can-can! Her naive and cuckolded husband, Baron Zeta was aptly played by the grandfatherly John Bolton Wood.
Grandfatherly John Bolton Wood plays the cuckolded Baron, and Steven Ang as Njegus, his attendant

the Merry Widow tells the tale of Vilja

The jewel of the production was most definitely lyric soprano Kishani Jayasinghe. She outshone the rest of the cast, and not only literally by the amount of bling she wore in the first act, but with her sumptuous vocals as well. As wealthy widow Hanna, Jayasinghe exuded a dazzling Parisian glamour and authority, and enthralled the audience. She showed herself to be a complete master of her voice, with a clear projection, impeccable dynamic control, and a stunning range of colour. She was well-matched with Nicholas Ransley who played her old flame, Count Danilo Danilovich. He had a charming and cultivated air about him, and their duet scenes, whether arguing, dancing or singing, were always a delight to watch.

Nicholas Ransley as Count Danilovich made a good match with Jayasinghe
The constant competition and banter between Cascada and St Brioche kept the production light-hearted. With such a rich tone, one wishes that tenor Melvin Tan had more lines to sing. The non-singing, spoken role of Njegus played by Steven Ang kept the audience amused, and multiple local references such as the Baron’s complaints of the Indonesian haze and Njegus’s exclamation of “Siao liao ah!” also added to the comic relief.

Melvin Tan as Cascada. If only he had more lines to sing! 
The ensemble-work, especially by the male cast in ‘Women, women, women!’ and by the quintet towards the end was tight and well-balanced. The entire production was supported wonderfully by the orchestra, especially at the ‘Vilja’ reprise where the silvery line of the solo violin mingled with the mellow tone of the oboe to beautifully evoke the feeling of nostalgia.
Gender-stereotyping does work after all, but probably only when employed in a comical operatic fashion.

photo credits: Singapore Lyric Opera – Bernie Ng
October 20, 2014

Answer and results for Ticket Giveaway Contest: Synergy in Music 2014 presented by Gazprom

Answer and results for Ticket Giveaway Contest: Synergy in Music 2014 presented by Gazprom

So… when did Vadim Repin first perform in Singapore?

He first performed in Singapore at the Singapore Festival of Arts in 1996 at Victoria Concert Hall, as shown by a search on NewspaperSG.

He has subsequently returned multiple times in the next few years, including the year 2000, and the most recent appearance was in 2012 with Neeme Jarvi at the Esplanade Concert Hall.

Repin returns to perform at the place he first performed 18 years ago, the Victoria Concert Hall, and this time with 5 other acclaimed Russian musicians in an evening of chamber music. The concert takes place on the 28th of October, 7pm.

Since all answers submitted were wrong, two winners were picked at random:

So congratulations to Tay Kang Xun and Rachael Chan!! You both win a pair of tickets (worth $89) each to Synergy in Music 2014 presented by Gazprom. An email will be sent to you regarding ticket collection later.

Don’t miss this one-night-only chance to watch Vadim Repin and other Russian musical talents. Get your tickets from Sistic now!

This concert is sponsored by Gazprom as part of their initiative to forge deeper intercultural bonds between the arts in Singapore and Russia.

October 16, 2014

TPO Presents… Debusssy Tonight! – an advertisement

TPO Presents… Debusssy Tonight! – an advertisement

If paintings were songs, what would they sound like? Would their colours be harmonies; would their subjects be tempo markings?

Join The Philharmonic Orchestra in exploring the picturesque music of Debussy in their next concert
‘Debussy Tonight’ on October 26th! This concert is a continuation of their popular educational concert series and the orchestra will be joined by actor-presenter William Ledbetter as he tells the stories in Debussy’s music. Enter the sound world of Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun which ‘brought new breath to the art of music’ (Pierre Boulez), and be swept away in the luxurious waters of the Mediterranean by the composer’s iridescent symphonic sketches, La Mer.

TPO will also be joined by The Philharmonic Chamber Choir with Trois Chansons which connects the styles of the past with the harmonic techniques of the time.

This concert takes place at the Victoria Concert Hall on the 26th of October at 5pm. Tickets are priced at $25, with discounts and concessions available.