An Interview With Cherylene Liew
By Marion Ang
Soprano singer Cherylene Liew, is set to perform at the Singapore Lyric Opera Gala Concert Mother Daughter Wife and Lover A Celebration of Women in Opera on the 23 November 2012. Campus speaks to the talented songstress as she reveals her upcoming preparations, opera concerts and her future plans.
When did you begin to realise your talent in singing?
I think it was not really a realisation that I had a talent, but an interest that soon developed into quite a hobby. I started out singing in my primary school choir, and before I knew it, choir was my choice of CCA right through to Junior College. It was not until after I finished my A-levels that I formally studied singing before heading off to university to do a music degree.
What is your ritual before a performance?
Apart from the nitty gritty things like getting dressed, with my make-up and hair done, I must say that warming up my voice is a must. In fact, I always make sure I am warmed-up whether I am in rehearsal or singing at a performance. After I am warmed-up, I always prefer to relax and focus on the task at hand. Just before I go on stage, I say a little prayer!
How does it feel when you perform? Is there something you want the audience to take away after watching the performance?
It feels good, and sometimes refreshing! Whenever I perform, I always try my best to draw the audience in on the whole musical experience, and, as far as possible, have them be a part of the scene just by listening. I would like the audience to have enjoyed the music so much, and, if it is their first time coming along to an opera concert, begin to see that opera is really about men and women from different walks of life responding to situations in life just like you and I. I think that the theme and title of this concert – Mother, Daughter, Wife & Love – A Celebration of Women in Opera is quite different from what Singapore Lyric Opera has presented previously, which makes it all the more a concert to come along to.
What are your views of the opera industry in Singapore?
I think that the opera industry in Singapore is growing. As appreciation for opera picks up, opportunities for opera audiences and singers alike would increase. In recent years, it seems that Singaporeans have developed a more sophisticated taste in their preference for the performing arts, and opera is no exception. I sincerely hope that this growing appreciation for opera would continue to flourish.
Describe your best or most memorable performance.
I think that my most memorable performance would have to be singing the role of Zerlina in Singapore Lyric Opera’s Don Giovanni earlier this year. I enjoyed the whole process of preparing for it, rehearsing for it and most importantly, the performance of it. Zerlina is a character that was intelligent on the inside, but more often than not, appears innocent and vulnerable on the outside. I had so much fun trying to bring out the different facets of Zerlina’s character that it almost felt like I was working hard and playing hard. It was also a role that was significantly bigger than ones I had sung before.
What do you see yourself as in the next 10 years in terms of being an opera singer?
I would like to have had the opportunity to sing quite a few more roles, and gain more experience as an opera singer. One never stops learning in life, it is part of the fun. When the learning stops, the fun stops. I hope that whilst I mature as a singer, I would continue to treasure the important things in life and hold fast to my values and beliefs.
Singapore Lyric Opera Gala Concert Mother Daughter Wife and Lover A Celebration of Women in Opera is on Nov 23, 7:30pm at the Esplanade Concert Hall. Tickets are available at Sistic.