Saturday 9 June 2001 – Singapore
The most interesting part of the second day were again the showcases. Today a lot of dance was featured, including a company from Taiwan who perform nearly naked on a stage covered in baby oil. They writhe around in a very placental fashion – totally un-erotic, but quite fascinating.
Had lunch with Jenny and George from the SSO and Robert Gilder, a London-based agent for a large roster of singers and classical musicians, who was interesting. He knows Tim Walker and is going to spend some time with Tim in Launceston after the Sydney meeting, and may even see a TSO concert there. Said he knew Julie Warn, having met her on a previous visit.
In the evening I attended the World Premiere of Confucius – a Secular Cantata, a new work performed by the Singapore Chinese Orchestra, soloists and a substantial chorus. It was a larger orchestra than the one I’d seen previously, although the instrumentation was similar. The music was contemporary, having been written by a Singaporean graduate of the Queensland Conservatorium.
Whilst it was quite accessible and listenable, the music, which used Chinese-sounding motifs as well as western-sounding rhythm and melodies, didn’t seem to have much in the way of counterpoint to deepen the interest. The libretto was also provided only in Chinese, with no surtitles. After an hour and twenty minutes we got to interval and I decided I’d heard enough, so quietly made my way home. I had however met the orchestra’s Marketing Manager, Terence Ho, earlier in the day, who invited me to meet with him and to see their new concert hall on Shenton Way when it opens in a couple of weeks’ time.