Prominent opera diva Nancy Yuen has been appointed the first honorary artistic director of the Singapore Lyric Opera (SLO).
The Hong Kong-born soprano, a fixture in opera productions in Singapore, is best known for taking centrestage in Puccini's Madama Butterfly, and has reprised the title role of Cio-Cio San with the English National Opera, the Scottish Opera and the West Australian Opera, among others.
She was head of vocal studies at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts from 2003 to 2010, and is currently head of vocal studies at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts and a member of the artistic committee of Opera Hong Kong. Her husband is Toh Weng Cheong, chairman of the lyric opera.
In a press statement, the lyric opera said that Yuen's "vast experience and immense dedication" would "guide SLO to even greater heights". This announcement comes shortly after the general manager of the opera, Ms Ng Siew Eng, stepped down on July 1 after 91/2 years in the role. It is the opera company's 25th anniversary this year.
Yuen plans to organise an Asean Voice Competition next year open to singers aged 13 and above. She also hopes to work with opera companies in the region to co-present opera works, as well as to recruit more singers to the SLO Chorus and the SLO Children's Choir.
She says: "We plan to present operas in an accessible way, reaching out to schools, community centres and beyond."