January 18, 2005

The Patriotic Princess

16 January 2005, Kreta Ayer People’s Theatre

I saw this opera performed by Singaporean artistes in the following years:
1998 by Lou Mee Wah and Li Fung (from HK)
2000 by Chan Fook Hong and Wong Mei Ling
2000 by Wong Kum Yeng and See Too Hoi Siang
2004 by Kong Yew Cheong and Lau Moon Chuin

Besides these I also saw others performed by foreign troupes. But, invariably I find The Patriotic Princess an entertaining opera.

In three of the above shows Christopher Choo played the role of the emperors. So this is the fourth time I watched him at the same role again. I feel that this was his best performance. It would be hard for any local artiste to match up to his performance in this role.

Joanna Wong has good rapport with Ng Yim Hong and with her wide experience, performing 3 of the scenes was a breeze to her. Though her performance was good, I feel that the role of a teenage princess or a young maiden is not suitable for her.

Chen Yin Leng performed 2 scenes. I think this is one of her best performances in recent years. Her passionate rendering of the songs in the scenes was much appreciated by the audience.

One scene was performed by Li Si Yao. According to an opera fan, her acting was fine but her singing was off-style meaning she did not sing it in the Cantonese opera way.

Ng Yim Hong (HK) looked relaxed and at ease with herself throughout the show. I felt that she was taking things too easy.

Just my personal non-professional views. Hope no one gets offended.

Battle at Mount Cockerel

15 January 2005, Kreta Ayer People's Theatre

Favourable points about this show:
Changes of scenes were fast. Duration was slightly less than 3 hours. Opera was performed here for the first, so the plot captured the attention of the audience.

Maybe too few rehearsals. Sometimes artistes playing supporting roles appeared hesitant about what to do.

Pang Heng Wah from China looked a little nervous initially. It might be due to his first partnership with a Singapore artiste and that he was performing his first lead role and in front of a Singapore audience. But he soon warmed up and later gave the audience an excellent display of his martial skills.

See Too Hoi Siong has shed off some weight. Another 5 more kg would be fine. Then, she has not only the height but the figure as well. She, too, gave a splendid display of martial skills despite the constraints she faced.

Chan Mei Ling is a good artiste but she seemed to be frowning most of the time. Perhaps she felt tense and the tenseness affected her muscles. If she eases up she would look much more pleasant.

Cheung Seok Lin is a dependable artiste with a pleasing disposition. Glad to see her again performing with Hoi Siong after a lapse of many years.

Leong Kam Fai is the villain in the show. He is a versatile performer who is adept at portraying the good guy as well as the villain.

Christopher Choo and Ellen Li are veterans who often add colour and humour to a show. They did here too.

Cheung Siew Wai always looks calm and steady and she gave a good performance tonight.

I think Kwok Kwong Lun needs to put more effort in his singing and pay more attention to his make-up.

Just my personal, non-professional views. Hope no one gets offended.

January 09, 2005

Lion City's Cantonese Opera Stars Fund-raising Spectacular.

8 January 2005, Kreta Ayer People's Theatre

Ng Lee Lee managed to get together the main opera groups for this performance which lasted for about 3 hours . It ended around 10.30 which was a good thing as it gave people ample time to go home. Still I saw a few people leaving in the middle of the last excerpt.

There were 5 excerpts. I believe all the performers have put in great effort for the show.

The shortest excerpt was Woman Warriors of the Yang Family. Joanna Wong played the martial role of Muk Kwai Ying. Actually I was worried that at her age of 60+, she would not be able to execute the martial moves or do the fighting part well. It turned out she gave a creditable performance. Her singing was pleasant but sounded weak.

Wu Wai Fong playing the role of Chew Tze Long has a strong voice and performed well but she lacked the height as the formidable warrior. Ng Lee Lee has improved. However, I feel her performance rather bland. I think this excerpt tends to be draggy towards the end.

Lou Mee Wah and her students acted the excerpt Bidding Farewell to Keng Or. I think she performed as expected.

Ling Tung Meng partnered Chee Kin Fun in another excerpt. Tung Meng, with his sound opera training and powerful voice, put up a convincing performance as Chew Tze Long. But he has put on weight. I think his stoutness affected his martial moves and his twists and turns. Chee Kun Fun's voice seemed to have deteriorated and her face looked a little gaunt.

Chik Chew Kuarn is slim and looks pretty in her make-up. She also sings well. Chow Chun Hong looked like the God of Prosperity.

These are just my personal views.

January 06, 2005

Cantonese Opera in aid of Tsunami victims.