Saturday, 19 July 2014

Hari Raya 2014 Light Up at Geylang Serai

The lights were up at Geylang Serai, the place where the food and goods stalls were concentrated.  This photo was taken along Sims Avenue.

There were more stalls this year, mostly selling food items, carpets or clothings.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

The Sound of Music at Mastercard Theatres: Review

How did you restage a musical where the audience were so familiar with the storyline and knew the sequence of songs by heart?  This version by Andrew Lloyd Webber and David Ian took a daring move by condensing the plot and changing the sequence of the songs.  Be mentally prepared.  

It is inevitable audience would compare anyone playing Maria with Julie Andrew.  For this production, we were glad to see Bethany Dickson holding up well in this role, and her singing was commendable.  Andre Schwartz gave a different interpretation as head of the von Trapp family – a more cheerful widower Captain von Trapp.  He had a good voice but unfortunately, the newly written songs sung by him (and other cast members) were not memorable. Janelle Visagie, as Mother Abbess, stole some limelight from the leads with her rendition of Climb Every Mountain.     Last but not least, the von Trapp children played by the Singapore cast.  Eighteen children were selected to play the six children in rotation and they captured the hearts of the audience.

The production design enabled swift scene changes and kept the pace going.  The producers may have intended to trim down the running time to suit the younger audience.  Scenes involving the key characters were not fully developed and hurried through, resulting in a loss of emotional attachment to the plot.   This was my main grouch for this production.

Having said that, the capable cast and the high production standards ensured the audience had an enjoyable evening at the theatre.  It is good to see how an old musical could be restaged successfully to a modern audience.  Recommended.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Tian Yun Beijing Opera Society's Beijing Opera Highlights

This must be the oldest person to perform on Singapore stage.  The 95 year old Mr Hor Chim Or (侯深湖) performed a solo piece Da Deng Dian (大登殿) as part of the Beijing Opera Highlights staged by local group Tianyun Beijing Opera Society.  Mr Hor still had the seminar and the voice.  At times, he treated his walking stick as a prop!

(photo taken during curtain call)

Well known media personality Mr Lin You Fa (林尤发) also did a short Xiaosheng (young men's role) excerpt Patrolling the Camp taken from the opera The Yang Family Warriors (巡营) .

Other items included An Emotional Cross-Border Visit performed by Society President Loo Teck Ming and Chan Wan, and the Witty Maid with Li Lina in the title role.

Monday, 7 July 2014

The Songs We Sang - Xinyao reunion at Bras Basah Complex

It was a special day on 6 July for the reunion of Xinyao singers at Bras Basah Complex.  Xinyao was a term given to the Singapore Chinese music scene in the 1980s to early 1990s, where young Singaporeans started to compose their own songs in Mandarin.  It was in response to the type of music being played on the radio stations at that time, and also the need to reflect a Singapore identity through locally-composed songs.

Although the Xinyao movement quietened down in the early 90s, the key players continued to pursue music, mostly in the popular music front.  Most of them have made it big as performers, songwriters and producers.

A documtentry would be made on the Xinyao movement and the producers wanted to re-create the vibrant scene of that time. Bras Basah Complex was a popular venue for album launch during that time, and the place was always packed with supporters during those events.

The rain earlier did not dampen the spirits of the attendees, most of whom were in the 30s - 50s age range.

I arrived late and missed a few singers.   As it was so crowded, I could only listen to singers such as Pan Ying and could not see them at all.....until I saw a few audience using ingenious way to see their idols....