Arts Picks: Chinese orchestra virtuosos, mythical audio drama

(From left) Pipa principal Yu Jia, yangqin principal Qu Jianqing and sanxian associate principal Huang Guifang of the Singapore Chinese Orchestra.
(From left) Pipa principal Yu Jia, yangqin principal Qu Jianqing and sanxian associate principal Huang Guifang of the Singapore Chinese Orchestra.PHOTO: SINGAPORE CHINESE ORCHESTRA

Virtuoso Series I: Pluck

To mark its 25th anniversary, the Singapore Chinese Orchestra (SCO) will present a series of virtuoso concerts.

It kicks things off this weekend with an all-female trio of principal players: Qu Jianqing on the yangqin, Huang Guifang on the sanxian and Yu Jia on the pipa.

They will perform pieces from the ancient Lament At The Changmen Palace to folk tunes Tanci San Liu and Winter Ducks Frolicking In The Water.

The in-person performance is sold out, but the concert is also available as a live stream.

The subsequent concerts in the series are themed Bow, featuring concert-master Li Baoshun and erhu principal Zhao Jianhua, on Aug 28; and Winds, with principals Guo Changsuo (sheng), Yin Zhiyang (dizi) and Jin Shiyi (suona/guan), on Sept 25.

Where: Sistic Live

When: Saturday (July 31), 8pm; digital concert video available for unlimited playback till Aug 8, 8pm

Admission: Digital bundle is one concert for $15, two for $18 or three for $27

Info: Visit the Sistic website


Poetry Festival Singapore


Banupriya Ponnarasu of Apsaras Arts acts and dances in Atlas: A Lyrical Film. PHOTO: POETRY FESTIVAL SINGAPORE

The annual festival returns in its seventh edition, going online in the light of the renewed Covid-19 restrictions.

Highlights this year include a poetic tribute to healthcare workers and an international reading featuring Singapore Literature Prize-winning poets Marylyn Tan and Samuel Lee as well as migrant writers Eli Nur Fadilah and Md Mukul Hossine.

Two events - the e-screening of Giovanni Ortega's Atlas: A Lyrical Film and a workshop with London's Young Poet Laureate Cecilia Knapp - are ticketed. The other 22 are free.

The Singapore Literature Conference will also return as part of the festival for the third time, looking at the theme of community.

The festival will open on Friday (July 30) with Minister of State for Education Sun Xueling as the guest of honour and a keynote speech by Hong Kong poet Yau Ching.

Where: Facebook

When: July 30 to Aug 8

Admission: Free, except Atlas ($15) and Cecilia Knapp's workshop ($20), from this website

Info: Visit the Poetry Festival Singapore website


Sacred Guardians audio drama


The comic reimagines the myths and legends of ancient South-east Asia as superheroes. PHOTO: ASIAPAC BOOKS

Home-grown publisher Asiapac Books debuts its first audio drama, Sacred Guardians, based on its 2020 comic of the same name, written by Aydeel Djoeharie and illustrated by Alan Bay.

The comic, a prequel to in-development live-action television project Sacred Guardian Singa, reimagines the myths and legends of ancient South-east Asia as superheroes drawn in the Japanese tokusatsu style.

Dev, an immortal being from the island of Tumasik, discovers that rakshasa demons from another dimension are laying waste to the region.

He embarks on a quest to assemble five heroes, who are reincarnated holy sages, to fight the rakshasas, a journey that takes him through various realms such as the Malay kingdom of Kantoli in Sumatra and the Sundanese kingdom of Tarumanagara on the island of Java.

The audio drama is narrated by former radio presenter Hamish Brown, with film and television actor Aric Hidir Amin voicing Dev.

Where: Spotify, Soundcloud

Admission: Free

Info: Visit Asiapac Books' website