Monday, 5 July 2010

THE SOUND OF MUSIC / Singapore Lyric Opera Children's and Youth Choir / Review


Singapore Lyric Opera Children’s & Youth Choir

Khor Ai Ming, Conductor

Esplanade Concert Hall

Last Saturday (3 July 2010)

This review was published in The Straits Times on 5 July 2010.

Singapore is fortunate to have two high profile children’s choirs which perform regularly. Like the Singapore Symphony Children’s Choir (SSCC) which celebrated its 4th anniversary recently, the Singapore Lyric Opera Children’s Choir (SLOCC) was formed during the same time. However its repertoire is vastly different, focussing mostly on stage and theatre music, with added elements of movement and simple choreography.

The Sound Of Music showcased popular stage tunes, opening with a medley from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s hit musical. Catchy and familiar, this music will never age, even if it is as simple as ABC, or Do Re Mi, as the children’s song goes. The choir performed it with much charm, both in unison passages and with non-complex harmonies.

Unlike the SSCC, the SLOCC performed with scores, which required the use of cumbersome music stands. The constant need to adjust standing positions before each setting proved to be a minor distraction, but for a concert lasting over two hours conducted by Khor Ai Ming (below), it was probably necessary.

The aural candy continued with selections from Oliver!, Les Miserables and Cats for the first half. The choir was joined by 20 young violinists from CHIJ Kellock Primary School’s Wolfgang Violin Programme, performing the Prayer from German composer Engelbert Humperdinck’s opera Hansel And Gretel. Needless to say, it was pretty sight.

Without neglecting its original mission, eight singers was picked to sing operatic numbers, from Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffmann and Mozart’s The Magic Flute, both in the original languages of French and German. Humour was on the cards when the choir took on the Papageno and Papagena Duet (Magic Flute) and Rossini’s Cat Duet, drawing howls of laughter from the audience.

As with SSCC, SLOCC has a paucity of boy singers. However the five strapping teenagers from the Youth Choir acquitted themselves well in Younger Than Springtime and Some Enchanted Evening from South Pacific. Some of them are ready to appear in SLO’s main productions.

The evening closed with Bernstein’s West Side Story, and delicious oldies such as Lollipop and Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy. In the latter, the choir sang from memory. Freed from the printed score, showmanship took over, delighting more than a few proud parents in the audience.

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