SINGAPORE LYRIC OPERA GALA CONCERT
Esplanade Concert Hall, Singapore
2016 Nov 18
[Program details at www.singaporeopera.com.sg/currentseason/1617/annual-concert/?menugroup=0]
A Review by Hawk Liu
Every time that the annual opera gala comes along, I anticipate with trepidation, wondering which same pieces would be performed yet again. I am glad this time they have ventured a little bit more into new territory with the likes of 'merce, dilette amiche', 'Si puo', 'Je veux vivre' and the Triumphant March from Aida.
With a solid cast of soloists, and some new repertoire, it was certainly a delightful evening. The orchestra played well - good use of dynamics and great interpretations. I think the conductor did a good job in bringing out the 'opera' from the orchestra. Unfortunately, I found the brass section uneven sometimes. In general, the playing was too loud for the singers and even the chorus - the perpetual problem in many performances. The entire chorus with the children's chorus was no much for the orchestra in volume, especially in the final chorus of Carmen and Aida's March.
The children's chorus was outstanding in Turandot's 'Italian', producing solid, lovely vocal tones. Unfortunately they falter a little in the same aspects in Hansel und Gretel's 'German', losing the focus in their tone. Indeed, Italian is the best language to sing in. The adult chorus had a good sing throughout, with the Cavalleria Rusticana's pieces particularly moving and harmonically beautiful.
The soloists were all wonderful to watch and I appreciated the acting they put into their performances. The standout for the evening had to be Teo Kai Xin's 'Je veux vivre'. The voice loved the concert hall and rang out well. She got her well deserved enthusiastic applause. William Lim was engaging in 'Si Puo' and the orchestra worked very well with him in this piece.
I was very sad at the end of the concert, not because it was the end. It was because Traviata's Brindisi is played to death in every concert of the world. I got to say the singers were interesting in this Brindisi and I wasn't as bored as I thought I would be...BUT....please may we NOT have the Brindisi in ANY concert for the next ten years?
On a positive note, I found this gala very interesting to watch despite some uneven performances and I, as a member of the local audience, would love to see the annual opera gala grow by venturing a whole lot more into new territories in repertoire.