The Singapore Lyric Opera (SLO) will be launching a new fund in commemoration of its late patron- in-chief, former President S R Nathan, at its Opera Ball on Friday.
The SLO-S R Nathan Opera Development fund aims to raise at least $200,000 at the ball that will go towards expanding SLO's opera programmes for children.
Mr Nathan, who died last August, aged 92, had "helped raise the profile of the SLO by his presence in operas and concerts", says Nancy Yuen, artistic director of SLO.
She adds that he would often write to sponsors and donors personally to appeal for donations.
A dedicated patron, Mr Nathan would often go backstage after performances to speak to the performers and was obliging to photo requests by them, recalls Yuen.
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WHERE: Island Ballroom, Shangri-La Hotel, 22 Orange Grove Road
WHEN: Friday, 7pm
ADMISSION: Individual seats from $500 to $1,500 and supporting tables from $5,000 to $15,000 from www.singaporeopera.com.sg
"He's such a historic figure, but some of the younger generations may not have much chance to hear about him," says Yuen, adding that naming the fund after him was a way for the young to learn more about him, including his dedication to the arts.
Mr Nathan's wife, Mrs Urmila Nathan, says: "We are happy and honoured to have this fund named after him and we hope that the fund would help the SLO in producing more high-quality opera concerts."
She and her daughter, Ms Juthika Ramanathan, will be present at the ball.
The SLO will also pay tribute to Mr Nathan during the ball.
The programme includes excerpts from operas attended by Mr Nathan, such as Verdi's La Traviata, as well as works by Puccini and Mozart, two composers he was fond of.
Performing the pieces are Yuen, who will be singing soprano; Korean tenor Lee Jae Wook; Korean baritone Song Kee Chang and the SLO Chorus. Dr Ling Ai Ee will accompany them on the piano.
The fund will be used in programmes such as the SLO Children's Choir In Concert, a bi-annual concert that features popular children's songs.
"We can popularise Western opera by teaching the younger generations more about it and by including more familiar tunes," says Yuen.
"This way, they won't be afraid of trying something new."