Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Theatre Review: The Spirits Play

The last major production for the Kuo Pao Kun Festival 2012 was The Spirits Play - Rituals to Soothe the Unsettled Spirits.  It was in fact 2 versions of The Spirits Play - the first half was directed by Makoto Sato (Za-Koenji Public Theatre, Tokyo) and the second half by Danny Yung (Zuni Icosahedron, Hong Kong). 

Monday, 29 October 2012

Flamenco sin Frontiers by Paco Pena Flamenco Dance Company

Well, I had to admit, the initial reason for attending this performance was to see the flamenco guitarist Paco Pena and not the dance. 

But of course, I got more than what I had wanted.....

This time, in addition to the Spanish musicians, we also had Venuezulian musicians joining in the music making, providing a different but yet harmonious sound.  The 2 bands blended very well.  In the usual flamenco dance performance, the musicians tend to play second fiddle.  Here, however, the musicians at times stole the lime light away from the dancers.  I have to add that the dancers were equally impressive, in particular Ramon Martinez.  Daniela Tugues's flamenco was markedly different from those of her Spanish counterparts.

In the first half, the musicians and dancers were arranged to look like they were performing in a theatre.  In the second half, they looked as if they were performing by a campfire, and the atsmospher was lighter and more relaxed.  Paco Pena was also featured as a soloist here.

The evening ended with most dancers and musicians taking turns to do a solo. This was definitely an enjoyable evening, great music, good dancing.  A good way to close the Esplanade Dance Festival.

POP! in the City II, Ion Art Gallery

While wandering around at Ion Orchard, I visited an interesting exhibition, featuring prints of famous pop artists.  The exhibition was organised by Pop and Contemporary Fine Art from 20 - 30 Oct 2012.

The exhibition featured artists such as Andy Warhol with his Campbell Soup prints

Burton Morris

Yayoi Kusama, Roy Lichtenstein, Keith Haring and Damien Hirst

I like this exhibition as it had good write-up on the artists and their works.  Hopefully more galleries should follow suit.  I gained more knowledge on these artists after this exhibition.

Friday, 26 October 2012

TributeSG - Celebrating Life in the Arts

As part of its 10th Anniversary, Esplanade organised an exhibition (physical and online) to showcase the contributions of Singapore pioneer artists and arts activists. 

The walls on the basement leading to the MRT station were lined with photos of these arts personalitis.  The Jendella gallery showcased more detailed descriptions of the achivements of them.

David Cook at Ion Orachard, Singapore

By 6:30 pm, there was already a sizeable crowd gathering by the stage, most of them waiting for David Cook to perform.   David Cook was a past winner of the American Idol.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Aspects of Love: An evening of Ballet

This was another production under the Esplanade Dance Festival, held at the Esplanade Theatre on 23 and 24 Oct 2012.  The evening featured 5 pairs of dancers in 10 items.  As a non-dancer,  I felt that the second half definitely was the highlight.

Gillian Murphy and Qi Huan opened and closed the show with The Man I Love (George Balanchine) and Black Swan (Marius Petipa).  The first piece did not register a deep impression.  The Black Swan pas de deux showed the duo in good form.

 Daria Klimentova and Vadim Muntagirov danced Bedroom pas de deux from Manon and Tchaikovsky (Balanchine).  I liked Daria's movement and she was expressive.  Of course, Vadim impressed with his leaps.

I like Excerpt from The Little Mermaid (John Neumeler) and The Lady of the Camellias, performed by Silvia Azzoi and Alexandre Riabko.  The pair had very good chemistry and look comfortable on stage.  The choreography for The Lady of the Camellias was really beautiful. Of course pianist Lim Yan accompanied the two beautifully.

Tan Yuan Yuan is another expressive dancer and partnered Davit Karapetyan well.  I personally liked the Balcony pas de deux in the first act, compared to Among The Stars (Jessica Lang) that opened the second half.

Ana Maria Scheller and Gonzalo Garcia were the "flashy" pair, with all the twirls and leaps.  Their technique was good, but somehow I felt the pair lacked chemistry.

It was a lovely evening for audience, ballet lovers or not.  The dancers deserved the warm applause from the crowd.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Kenny Rogers in Singapore, 21 Oct 2012

I missed the Kenny Rogers concert in Singapore years ago and this time round, I made it a point to catch him since he won't be doing any more international tours. 

The audience at the Singapore Indoor Stadium was pretty quiet while waiting for Kenny Rogers to appear.  He started the concert at 8:15 pm.  And he did not disappoint. His voice is still in good shape, except for some high notes.  He sang most of his big hits (The Gambler, We've Got Tonight, Lucille, Through the Years, Lady).  At times, he did not sing the full duration.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Tobari - as if in an inexhaustible flux

Sankai Juku's butoh production opened the da:ns Festival 2012 organised by Esplanade Theatre on the Bay. It was the group second visit to Singapore.  From the house programme, tobari is a "veil of fabric hung in a space as a partition".

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Leo Hee Tong Solo Exhibition – Flight of Fantasy

Second generation locally born Singapore painter Leo Hee Tong 梁其栋 held his solo exhibition “Flight of Fantasy- 梦幻之航”at the Dahlia Gallery at Pagoda Street. 

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

National Broadway Company, Esplanade Theatre 12 - 14 Oct 2012

Singapore is setting up a National Broadway Company and a group of well known local personalities, actors, directors, choreographers were bidding for the post.  That was the premise of the new production by Theatre Works, directed by its Artistic Director Ong Keng Sen.  This production was part of the Singapore's Esplanade Theatre on The Bay 10th Anniversary celebrations.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Waiting for Godot at DBS Arts Centre

The staging of Nobel Laureate Samuel Beckett's work in Singapore was infrequent and therefore it was great to see Waiting for Godot played in Singapore at the DBS Arts Centre.  This production was presented by ABA productions, in association with AC Proudctions, Dublin.

In a bare stage with nothing but a tree as a background, two dishevelled and scruffy men Estragon and Vladmir talked, joked and on one occasion trying to hang themselves.  At the same time, they waited by (or near) a tree for a person Godot who never appeared.  We were not sure if they were waiting at the right place, or how long they have been waiting.  In between, they met Pozzo and Lucky. 

The production succeeded in conveying a sense of loss and emptiness, and the helplessness of waiting for something in vain.  The cast did a fine job by conveying this feeling and engaging the audience, with a basically bare stage.  Paul Kealyn's Pozzo may sound like he was shouting at times but it was just a minor comment.

This was a good opportunity to catch an important play of our time.  While I may not fully comprehend the intentions of Samuel Beckett, I enjoyed the staging of this production.