Opera in the Park with the Singapore Lyric Opera
by Teng Jing Xuan
Last Saturday evening, a huge crowd gathered on the lawn by the Shaw Foundation Symphony Stage in the Botanic Gardens. The focus of the gathering was SLO’s sixth Opera in the Park event, which began with a cheerful performance of familiar showtunes by the Children’s Choir.The Opera in the Park series of free concerts is designed to introduce opera to the wider public, and naturally the big names of opera – Offenbach, Puccini and Verdi to name a few – were well-represented on Saturday evening. The famous ‘Flower Duet’ from Delibes’ Lakme, ever-present in British Airways commercials, also made an appearance.
The ensemble of award-winning and internationally acclaimed singers breezed through an hour of operatic old favourites, while the audience fanned themselves with concert programmes and basked in the fading daylight. SLO’s chorus and orchestra, casually dressed to match the concert venue, provided the necessary musical backing.
This year’s instalment of the annual concert series also saw the solo debut of 19 year-old alto Azura Farid. She sang ‘Voi che sapete’, from Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, which was incidentally the first opera she ever saw with her mother in 2006. Azura confidently and competently expressed page Cherubino’s tormented love for the Countess Almaviva – an impressive debut indeed.
The concert ended with a series of rousing, high-energy classics: ‘Habanera’ and ‘Votre Toast’ (i.e. ‘the Toreador song’) from Bizet’s Carmen, and ‘Nessun Dorma’ from Puccini’s Turandot. During the encore, the cast urged us to celebrate beauty and friendship with the brindisi (drinking song) ‘Libiamo’ from Verdi’s La Traviata, which happens to be an opera that SLO will be staging this September.