Young voices adroitly capture the spirit of Christmas with Singapore Lyric Opera’s JOY concert.
|PHOTOS COURTESY OF SINGAPORE LYRICS OPERA|
Fresh off its 20th year anniversary celebration which featured international singers performing before a sell-out audience, the Singapore Lyric Opera kept the momentum going with its annual year end concert, aptly titled JOY. Held on Dec. 10, the Christmas-themed evening featured the Children’s Choir, Youth Choir and the SLO Chorus, with the Children’s Choir forming the majority of 53 choristers out of a total 84 performers.
The opening piece by the Children’s and Youth Choir was “O Come, O Come Emmanuel,” a familiar traditional ancient hymn based on Isaiah 7:14, calling on the people of Israel to rejoice in the prophecy that a savior would soon come to them. The choir then continued to mesmerize the audiences with “Let There Be Peace On Earth,” “The Angel’s Carol,” “Still, Still, Still,” “Pie Jesu (from the Requiem album),” “Panis Angelicus,” with solo performances by Harry Mills and Mathew Bailey, “Psalm 23 (The Lord Is My Shepherd)” and “O Holy Night (Cantique de Noel).” If there was only one thing to be said, it was that there could not have been a more fitting lineup of songs, all evoking the Christmas season in various sentiments—reverence, celebration, peace and joy.
The following number was a lighthearted “A Canine Christmas Concerto (The 12 Dogs of Christmas),” which was a surprisingly entertaining departure from the traditional “12 Days Of Christmas” where eight choir members sang, or rather, barked to the beloved tune, causing the whole auditorium to erupt in laughter. The joining in of the SLO Chorus for “All Things Bright And Beautiful” and “The Lord Bless You And Keep You” then marked the halfway point of the evening.
The second half of the evening showcased a more contemporary repertoire of songs including “The Virgin Mary Had A Baby Boy,” “When A Child Is Born,” “The Little Drummer Boy,” “Happy X’mas (War is Over)” by John Lennon and Yoko Ono, and “We Are The Reason.” The choir also sang “Mary, Did You Know?” for the first time in its history, accompanied by a solo dance performance by one of the female choir members. Her movements added to the emotional pull of the song’s profound lyrics beautifully.
The last number ended the performance with a creative twist, as the well-known “Hallelujah” by German-British composer Handel was given a fresh reinterpretation with the inclusion of a full band and fusion jazz music. Wrapping up on a festive note, the conductor, Khor Ai Ming, led the audiences in familiar sing-a-longs including “Feliz Navidad” and “Rocking Around The Christmas Tree.”
The Singapore Lyric Opera was founded in 1991 to raise the Singaporean public’s awareness and appreciation of Western opera. Since its inaugural performance of Mozart’s Die Zauberflote, the SLO has achieved numerous milestones over the years—2005’s Madame Butterfly and 2008’s La Traviata, among others, have received critical acclaim, while the staging of Turandot in September 2008 marked the biggest production to date for the SLO.
The SLO will be performing Georges Bizet’s Carmen at the Esplanade Theatre come January 2011. For aspiring choristers, the SLO conducts regular auditions—log on to www.singaporeopera.com.sg for details.