I’m a fan of Singapore Chinese Orchestra (SCO), having attended their concerts a few times, after first being introduced to them when I won a pair of concert tickets a few years ago. They’re innovative in their selection of repertoire as well as the arrangement of pieces, and Chinese orchestra music no longer is dated or just associated with Chinese funerals and street wayang. In fact, they are quite hip with the inclusion of western instruments like bass, piano, and drums, like last night, when xinyao (local Singapore compositions) was accompanied by SCO. But I must concede, I only went last night because I wanted to hear my favourite singing doctor Dr Alex Su and perhaps take a selfie with him. No such luck, although he did sing my favourite song, 故乡的老酒, disappointing though as he sang only one song whilst the rest went on for quite a few songs. I guess being a busy doctor meant he had no time to practise.
I was seated in the front row, the cheapest ticket which gave me such a close view of the singers I felt almost uncomfortable. I could see the beads of perspiration on conductor Yeh Tsung’s forehead as he swung his baton and tapped his feet. I love the selection of songs, a good representation of original xinyao hits, although the arrangement of the combination of the first few songs sounded a little weird and disjointed. I would have preferred the songs to be sung in their entirety. Pan Ying did my husband a favour by singing his favourite hit by her, 说时依旧. Jimmy Ye came out and caught my eye as we waved to each other. In a swanky long overcoat and a neck broach, he sang Tashi Delek. It was amusing watching Roy Li trying to rein in his mischief in the somber environment of a serious orchestra, and he finally uttered a dejected ‘let me go learn er hu first‘ when the second encore failed to get the conductor to return for another round, something he clearly yearned. The concert was just too short for him and for the xinyao fans present.
There’s a reason why the front row seats are cheap, as I discovered. I couldn’t see the back row of the orchestra, and I can’t hear exactly what instruments were playing, And because the speakers were directly overhead of us, the sound system was more analog than steareo.
Still, it was a thoroughly enjoyable night and I regret not getting more of my friends to attend. They would have enjoyed themselves too.