All posts filed under: Music

All things music!

A Review of Speed Dating Tonight!

The genre boundaries between musicals and opera have been blurring for a long while now and Speed Dating Tonight! is another example of how drama in modern opera continues to be carried forward primarily by music & singing, but now incorporates many of the dialogue, dance and acting elements traditionally found in musicals. The music and libretto of Michael CHING while ‘contemporary’, was largely tonal, accessible and on occasion, paid tuneful, tongue-in-cheek tribute and references to classical composers like Mozart or Bizet that opera aficionados would appreciate. Musical interest was aptly sustained throughout the ca. 1 hour 15 min show by the interspersing of various solo arias, duets, trios and tutti, some of which were sung a cappella and showcasing the excellent musicianship of the entire cast. The full-house, lively audience were thoroughly entertained throughout the show. The relatable individual characters were fleshed out via the arias and duets – finding love (successfully, or not), getting ghosted, or nailing the use of modern day texting abbreviations (LOL!) etc. Kudos to excellent staging, lighting, dancing (choreographed …

Who Cares About the General Elections 2020?

As a young man during my early 20s, I was quite apathetic towards politics and current affairs. After all, I’ve never had to exercise my right to vote (walkovers were very common back then) and my life went on as per norm. No biggie right? All that changed after I started studying with Mr. Leong Yoon Pin. He was a principled man who cared deeply about his surroundings and the people around him. The fact that he actually got upset seeing people smoke and harming pregnant ladies with second hand smoke speaks volumes about the kind of man he is. I would often observe folded newspapers on his sea-facing desk during my morning “harmony” (composition) pilgrimages to his Bayshore home. He seems to read the news everyday and is very well versed in current affairs.  Being ever curious, I asked him “Why would you bother reading the news when it doesn’t really concern us at all?” He was obviously amused (and a little concerned) but patiently replied “Politics, current affairs, policies affect us in more …

WOW! The Arts Are Essentially Non-Essential?!

WOW! Hear hear! The Arts Are Essentially Non-Essential?! Intellectually, I understand the survey simply brought to the fore, typical Singaporean culture and psyche. After all, we’ve come so far together (economically) because of a heady mix of ingredients – big doses of pragmatism, utilitarianism, legalism with a pinch of elitism. Nothing wrong there and I’m really not anti-establishment. I’ve travelled extensively for artistic work overseas and with each new city and culture I encounter, I’m ever more grateful to be born in Singapore. My observation is that in general, local Artists do lead a far more comfortable and stable life as compared to some of our counterparts overseas. Thank you very much. Emotionally however, it did hurt to have my calling and my profession (one I take great pride in), be labeled as ‘non-essential’. It is an uncomfortable proposition, however seemingly logical the non-essential label may be. Artist colleagues from across disciplines, were similarly and understandably outraged and/or upset. A pragmatist can hardly dispute Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs as a (rough) guide to the determination …