Choir's contemporary setlist a gateway to opera

To be held on May 25, the annual concert of the Singapore Lyric Opera Children's Choir (above) is themed How Far I'll Go, after the hit song from the 2016 Disney animated film Moana.
To be held on May 25, the annual concert of the Singapore Lyric Opera Children's Choir (above) is themed How Far I'll Go, after the hit song from the 2016 Disney animated film Moana.PHOTO: THE SINGAPORE LYRIC OPERA

Be serenaded with songs from Disney movies and Shakespearean operas alike when the Singapore Lyric Opera (SLO) Children's Choir takes the stage at its annual concert on May 25.

Themed How Far I'll Go, after the hit song from the 2016 Disney animated film Moana, the concert will also feature guest singers from St Margaret's Secondary School and Raffles Girls' Primary School.

Songs such as Everybody Rejoice, from the 1978 American musical film The Wiz, starring Diana Ross and Michael Jackson, will be included in the hour-long set.

Chorus mistress Rose Loh, who is in her 40s, says the contemporary tunes chosen for the showcase can be a way for children to be introduced to more traditional operatic fare.

While opera is one of the earliest forms of sung drama, dating back to the Renaissance of the 16th and 17th centuries, today's version of sung drama can be found in animated films and musical theatre, says Ms Loh. "They can be seen as gateways for children into the world of secular and sacred operatic songs that will require more vocal athleticism."

Besides that, music selections that have stronger narratives tend to resonate with children of all ages, adds Ms Loh. "Over the years, the programme content has evolved to include more of these elements."

  • BOOK IT / SLO CHILDREN'S CHOIR CONCERT: HOW FAR I'LL GO

  • WHERE: Victoria Concert Hall, 9 Empress Place

    WHEN: May 25, 7.30pm

    ADMISSION: $30 (Category 1) and $20 (Category 2). No entry for infants in arms and children aged five and below

    INFO: www.sistic.com.sg/events/cfar0519

This year's concert will include singing styles the choir has not performed before. For instance, it will incorporate the New Orleans jazz style in its rendition of How Far I'll Go.

The mixed ensemble will also be performing songs from British composer Benjamin Britten's 1960 opera A Midsummer Night's Dream, which has traditionally been performed by only all-male choirs.

Ms Loh hopes the concert will serve as inspiration to children in the audience. She says: "In the movie, Moana sings about how far she will go to save her home. Each child should also see how far he or she can go in his or her musical or life journey."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 14, 2019, with the headline 'Choir's contemporary setlist a gateway to opera'. Print Edition | Subscribe