Monday, 27 November 2017


If you love music for the voice, but are not too familiar about opera and its finer points, then Opera Mixer is right for you. Presented by Opera Viva, Opera Mixer aims to demystify the mystique and intrigue about opera by presenting arias, duets and ensembles in a fun and unstuffy manner. Melissa Chan, the evening's mezzo-soprano (also a Board Member of Opera Viva) set the tone by inviting the audience to relax and imagine attending a party on Venice's Grand Canal. Over drinks, crackers and cheese, the evening of Italian operatic highlights unfolded with lots of melodrama and very good singing.

This evening's programme was drawn exclusively from Italian opera, with a healthy dose from the bel canto tradition - Bellini, Donizetti and Rossini. There was just one Puccini aria, some Verdi and the occasional rarity, mostly because one did not expect such demanding numbers to be performed in Singapore! 

All four singers, soprano Wendy Woon, mezzo Melissa Chan, tenor Leslie Tay and baritone Alvin Tan were not only excellent in their delivery but also very conversant in sharing their passion for singing with the audience. They mused about their roles, revealing details and finer points about being an opera singer - their ups and downs - and also provided helpful synopses about each opera. It all came across as informal, informative and mostly enjoyable fun. In these days when the arts play second fiddle to entertainment and sports, such an injection of life is not only necessary but vital.

The evening opened with soprano Wendy Woon
singing Un bel di from Puccini's Madama Butterfly.
Baritone Alvin Tan sang some Handel and
Verdi's Di Provenza il mare (La Traviata)
Tenor Leslie Tay spoke about castrati and
offered more Handel and the gem that is
Una furtiva lagrima from Donizetti's L'elisir d'Amore.
Mezzo Melissa Chan explained and demonstrated
the "trouser role" by portraying Romeo in
Bellini's I Montecchi e I Capuleti.
Parigi o cara from Verdi's La Traviata.
Many expressions of Melissa Chan
in Bellini and Rossini (Non piu mesta from La Cenerentola)
A duet from Bellini's I Montecchi e I Capuleti.
Bromance time in a duet from
Verdi's Don Carlo.
Wendy Woon sensitively plays the ill-fated
Anna Bolena from Donizetti's opera.
The grand finale was the famous Quartet
from Verdi's Rigoletto.
All four singers take their bow and stand with
their "orchestra" pianist Benjamin Lim (extreme left).

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