NAFA’s first-ever operetta - Die Fledermaus



Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) presented its first-ever operetta production to celebrate its 80 years of illustrious history. The production, Die Fledermaus: The Revenge of the Bat ran for three nights at Lee Foundation Theatre, NAFA Campus 3 from 21 to 23 October and was enjoyed by close to 1,000 audience members.

The on-stage energy and comedic moments delighted the audience, as they revelled in the captivating and unique performance during the two-and-a-half hour show on each night. Led by Singapore preeminent conductor and Cultural Medallion recipient, Lim Yau, members of the cast, along the 55-member NAFA Orchestra and the 40-member choir (trained by Goh Toh Chai, NAFA’s Head of Composition), delivered a musically strong and effective performance. Sopranos Li Yang and Elaine Su - both alumni from the NAFA School of Music - displayed energy and coloratura flair, while Baritones Kieran Rayner and Edward Jowle from the International Opera School of NAFA’s partner university, the Royal College of Music, counterbalanced with charm and wit. Singaporean Baritone Daniel Fong and Tenor Jeremy Koh added a distinctly local twist to the vocal mix while NAFA School of Music’s Head of Voice, Mezzo Soprano Jessica Chen, furnished deep resonance in her cameo trouser role.

Johann Strauss II’s Die Fledermaus was premièred in 1874 at the Vienna Theater an der Wien, and is arguably the world’s most performed operetta. This production, directed by renowned director David Edwards, was contemporised to a modern Singapore context. Customised by Jasmine Teo, a Singaporean playwright, dialogues were delivered in English, Chinese and peppered with Singlish by the different characters in the show.

Notable alumni were featured in the show-in-show segment of the production. In Act 2 on Gala night, Indonesian pop star Isyana Sarasvati appeared as a guest singer, mesmerising the audience both on stage and off stage with a song of her own composition. Young Artist Award winners Lim Chin Huat and Hong Sek Chern also enchanted audiences with a performance and a demonstration of Chinese painting skills respectively, along to the NAFA Chinese Chamber Ensemble’s world premiere performance of a specially-commissioned composition for this occasion, led by NAFA School of Music’s Head of Chinese Instruments Sunny Wong. Lim Chin Huat continued to perform on the following two nights, and artists Anthony Chua and Chua Poh Leng showcased their artistic skills on the second and third night respectively.

As part of the production, there was also a staged arts street where audience enjoyed music performed by music buskers and shopped for products and artefacts made by NAFA students at arts stalls.

Gallery

A 300-strong audience enjoying NAFA’s production of Die Fledermaus: Revenge of the Bat last evening.

This production has been contemporised to a modern Singapore context. Photo shows Dr Falke, played by Edward Jowle, taking the MRT in Singapore in Act I.

In Act 2, Prince Orlofsky’s (Jessica Chen) lavish party was attended by Adele (Elaine Su Yiwen)

In Act 2, Prince Orlofsky’s (Jessica Chen) lavish party was attended by Adele (Elaine Su Yiwen) as well as Gabriel von Eisenstein (Kieran Rayner) and Rosalinde (Li Yang)

In Act 2 on Gala night, Indonesian pop star Isyana Sarasvati appeared as a guest singer, mesmerising the audience both on stage and off stage with a song of her own composition.

Young Artist Award winner and NAFA alumna Hong Sek Chern demonstrated her Chinese painting skills, along to the NAFA Chinese Chamber Ensemble’s world premiere performance of a specially-commissioned composition for this occasion, led by NAFA School of Music’s Head of Chinese Instruments Sunny Wong.

Another Young Artist Award winner and NAFA alumnus Lim Chin Huat enchanted audiences with a performance.

Led by Singapore preeminent conductor and Cultural Medallion recipient, Lim Yau, members of the cast, along the 55-member NAFA Orchestra and the 40-member choir, delivered a musically strong and effective performance.

In Act 3, Gabriel von Eisenstein asks Rosalinde for forgiveness, which she accepts unconditionally. The whole company joins in on a reprise of the Champagne song as the curtains close.

Audience shopping at the pre-opera arts street before the show starts.