Monday, October 24, 2011

REVIEW: Paul Watkins with HKPO

Cultural Centre Concert Hall, Saturday October 22

This has to be one of the most satisfying HKPO concerts I have ever been to!

Considering that this was the 10th performing arts event I have seen in October (averaging 1 in every two days) and I saw Murray Perahia and Steven Isserlis just a few days earlier, I thought that I would start feeling quite indifferent. In fact, I thought of the possibility of just attending half of the concert, thinking that the concerto will be in the first half. But instead, HKPO (or maestro Mark Wigglesworth) has decided to conclude the concert with an overture; thus the concerto was placed in the second half. The sequence did make sense though, I mean, just think of how Beethoven’s Pastoral starts and how Wagner’s Tannhauser Overture ends.

Mark Wigglesworth, in his Hong Kong debut led the HKPO outstandingly. Balance and contrast were the strengths of the evening. Wigglesworth maneuvered through each piece maintaining markings and styles while delivering depth, clarity and weight. The outcome was both compelling and thrilling.

On Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 Pastoral, Wigglesworth stayed true to the tempo markings and shaded the phrasing and dynamics in a way that I imagine realized what the composer wanted the music to achieve. The music swayed and took flight; particularly in the second movement, the woodwind principals were most effective in portraying inebriated country folks.

Elgar’s Cello Concerto is a tough nut to crack (see my review of Alban Gerhardt with Halle Orchestra). In a lot of cases, the cello tended to sound underplayed, even though Elgar provided much “room” by utilizing more of the top and bottom registers of the orchestra. Wigglesworth, however, worked the orchestra around the cello and allowed Paul Watkins to be very effective even in the more introspective melancholy passages. Watkins live for the melody, he phrased them beautifully. While he tends to sway a tad excessively for my taste, his sound was never flamboyant or mannered. Definitely one of the better live performances of this concerto I have ever been to.

Ending the concert, Wagner’s Tannhauser: Overture showcased Wigglesworth’s mastery of opera. With more members in the orchestra, there was a good deal of stirring playing that reflects the different aspects of the powerful drama depicted in the music.

Elgar's Cello Concerto & Beethoven's Pastoral
21&22-10-2011, Fri & Sat 8PM
Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall

BEETHOVEN: Symphony No.6 Pastoral
ELGAR: Cello Concerto
WAGNER: Tannhauser: Overture

Mark Wigglesworth, conductor
Paul Watkins, cello

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Sunday, October 23, 2011

REVIEW: Steven Isserlis

HKAPA Amphitheatre, Tuesday October 18

Joined by Taiwanese-American pianist Ya-Fei Chuang, the concert showed off effectively Steven Isserlis as the THE consummate character "actor".

To read my review of the concert for TIME-OUT Hong Kong, please click here.

Separately, this is my first time to attend a performance at the HKAPA Amphitheatre... well, it used to be an amphitheatre, but now it is all covered up and air-conditioned... in fact, I think HKAPA ought to change the name already. To be honest, it is a lovely venue but I am just not so sure its suitability to classical chamber performance. From where I was seated, there was clarity, but little warmth and brilliance. It felt as if the reverberation is a tad short. Have you been to this venue? What do you think of the acoustics?

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REVIEW: Murray Perahia

Cultural Centre Concert Hall, Monday October 17

Murray stepped onto the stage looking tired and bored. Like a plug to a socket, however, Perahia came to life the moment he touched the piano and the style and color were electrifying!

The first half of the recital was dedicated to the holy trinity… Bach, the Father, Beethoven, the Son and Brahms, the Holy Ghost. Expectedly, Murray’s devotion to Bach and Beethoven showed through. There was freshness to his approach, he carefully maintained the form of the pieces and focused on clarity and texture. For me, the revelation was in Perahia’s Brahms. The Klavierstucke, Op. 119 exuded melancholic nostalgia through long-arc phrasing while ensuring that every colored details are brought out.

The chronological order stopped in the second half and instead juxtaposed two composers born in 1810. Two composers that had dedicated works to each other and whose styles are quite different were featured… raw emotion and passion from Schumann and sentiment under icy filigree from Chopin. In Schumann. Schumann’s Kinderszenen, Op.15 was a delight to listen to and Perahia, in his signature way, provided measured sophistication and perceptive eloquence. The recital ended with a trio of Chopin pieces, appropriated placed to heighten the aural pleasure. Perahia’s showed focus and controlled passion while was expansive in the more warm passages that made the performance even more ardent.

It was an outstanding recital and the full-audience audience was most appreciative.

Piano Recital by Murray Perahia
17 October 2011 (Mon) 8pm
Concert Hall, Hong Kong Cultural Centre
$480, 370, 260, 150


Bach: French Suite No. 5 in G, BWV816

Beethoven: Sonata No. 27 in E Minor, Op. 90

Brahms: Klavierstücke, Op. 119

Schumann: Kinderszenen

Prelude in F-sharp Minor, Op. 28, No. 8
Mazurka in C-sharp Minor, Op. 30, No. 4
Scherzo No. 3 in C-sharp Minor, Op. 39

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Monday, October 17, 2011

REVIEW: Dr. Sun Yat Sen - the Opera

Hong Kong Cultural Centre Grand Theatre, Sunday October 15

Dr. Sun Yat Sen, the opera, showed good potential; but for the moment, that’s all it is.

Comissioned by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department and Opera Hong Kong, Dr. Sun Yat Sen made its world premiere on Thursday the 13th with a different cast from what I saw on Sunday. Having said that, the cast (from what I heard and saw) could be the opera’s best asset.

The opera, with libretto by Candace Chong, was into something interesting when the character of Lu Muzhen (Dr. Sun’s first wife) was introduced. The juxtaposition of the two women (of course there were others) in Dr. Sun’s life, Lu Muzhen representing the old China and Soong Chingling representing the new China set against all his struggles would have been far more interesting. Instead, the opera chose to have all sorts of totally unnecessary subplots and characters. One of these was the introduction of two assassins who sang and acted like Moe and Curly looking for Larry.

With music by Huang Ruo, some of his best are found in the prologue and interludes, as long as no one was singing. As for vocal music, Dr. Sun, deservedly had the better deal and was amply performed by Ding Yi. Soong Chingling also had some good musical moments too but Nancy Yuen’s shrill higher register was very uncharacteristic of the role. Lu Muzhen’s role was one of the most rounded despite appearing twice only. Her emotions and intents, especially when she was telling Dr. Sun’s why she signed the divorce papers and switched from Putonghua to Cantonese was the most touching and dramatically potent moment in the opera and superbly performed by Joyce Wong. If there is one thing I believe was a bit overdone though was how a person with bound feet was portrayed (Lu Muzhen kept losing her balance). Funny how this kind of thing resonates quite deeply in me as my grandmother used to have bound feet. As a child, I used to accompany her to Chinese operas. For her, it was a way to show-off one of her 28 grandchildren; while for me, it was a chance to earn some pocket money as she used to tip me like I was an attentive waiter. Anyway, the point that I was making is that I never saw my grandma lose her balance.

Outside those moments mentioned above, most of the vocal music was set as if the composer was a foreigner who doesn’t understand Chinese and doesn’t know how the Chinese language works. The chorus had the worst music to deal with. The musical language vacillated from abrupt bursts to monastic chants with a few “modern music dissonances” thrown in with no relation or empathy to the words. Separately, when Charlie Soong (wonderfully performed by Peng Kangliang) was livid while confronting Dr. Sun and Soong Chingling’s marriage, he sang in Chinese, “If you decide to stay with him, then forget that I am your fa ……… (he went on doing some Chinese opera-“inspired” ornamentation) ………. (then with a deep breath concluded) ther”… very uncharacteristic and totally gratuitous. Another obsession of the composer was to use counterpoints in times when there were two characters on stage. This was barely effective in scenes that tried to communicate “chaos”, but was hysterical in scenes that tried to communicate some kind of “civility”.

The highlight of the opera however was the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra led by Yan Huichang. The ensemble was cohesive and committed. I, for one, buy into the concept of a “western” opera with a Chinese orchestra.

Overall, Dr. Sun Yat Sen was a good try and this kind of exploration should be supported and encouraged. The vision is right and attainable, just not this time.

Dr. Sun Yat-sen
In Commemoration of the Centenary of the 1911 Revolution
A new opera in 3 acts
World Premiere

Performed in Putonghua with Chinese and English Surtitles

Commissioned by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department and Opera Hong Kong

13-15 October 2011 (Thu to Sat) 7:45pm
Grand Theatre, Hong Kong Cultural Centre
$880, 620, 420, 280, 150

16 October 2011 (Sun) 3pm
Grand Theatre, Hong Kong Cultural Centre
$780, 500, 360, 240, 130

Creative Team:
Music: Huang Ruo
Libretto: Candace Chong
Producer: Warren Mok
Director: Chen Xinyi
Set Design: Gao Guanjian
Costume Design:「源 Blanc de Chine」
Lighting Design: Gabriel Fung

Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra
Conductor: Yan Huichang

Opera Hong Kong Chorus
Chorus Director: Jimmy Chan

Cast Includes:
Sun Yat-sen: Warren Mok*+ / Ding Yi^#
Soong Chingling: Yao Hong*+ / Nancy Yuen^#
Lu Muzhen: Yuki Ip*+ / Joyce Wong^#
Charlie Soong: Gong Dongjian*+ / Peng Kangliang^#
Charlie Soong's Wife: Yang Guang*+ / Liu Shan^#
Umeya Shōkichi: Yuan Chenye*^+ / Albert Lim#
Shōkichi's Wife: Liang Ning*^+ / Carol Lin#
Ms Ariyoshi: Lisa Lu

*13/10 7:45pm
^14/10 7:45pm
+15/10 7:45pm
#16/10 3pm

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REVIEW: Acis and Galatea (Macao)

Dom Pedro V Theatre (Macao), Saturday October 15

I have to admit that I do like my Handel in pocket size. There is something about the nagging repetitions of the style that requires the finest singing; because if not, the repetitions can be really tedious! For the 25th Macao International Music Festival, Handel’s Acis and Galatea was an exquisite choice for the first western-style theatre in China. Dom Pedro V Theatre was built in 1860 and has a capacity of only 300. Last year, the festival also had an excellent choice in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas (click here to see my review). I do hope that the festival keeps up these wonderful choices in the future.

Acis and Galatea is one of the finest examples of pastoral opera. Typical of the genre, it was meant to be a courtly entertainment about the life in the country characterized with fun, wit and self-parody. The beauty of mounting this opera in Dom Pedro V Theatre is that it exudes that courtly atmosphere without a huge expectation that the production would be grand. It was the simple charm of this Festival’s production that was appealing. I am undecided though on whether I actually like all video projections or not. While they are visually entertaining, my mind kept trying to figure out their relevance and investigate any "deeper" meaning.

All four principal roles were beautifully performed. Yulia Van Doren as Galatea possessed a sweet tone, though I find her vibrato too pronounced for my taste as it interferes with the ornamentations. John McVeigh was one of the best Acis I have seen, not only for his bright lyrical tenor voice, but also for his HD-ready looks and acting. Andrew Bidlack’s Damon was a good complement to McVeigh. Bidlack’s honey-toned tenor equaled his charm on stage. Jacques-Greg Belobo’s Polyphemus was rightly menacing and amusing. The Shanghai Opera House Chorus provided a good support dramatically and vocally. Accompanying the principals was Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, led by Aaron Carpene. The orchestra was quite responsive to what was happening on stage, though from where I was seated (front row house right), I inevitably got a less than ideal balance from the orchestra.

Overall, it was a most pleasant and relax experience, a beautiful evening spent in Macao.

Acis and Galatea (HWV 49)
Baroque Opera in 2 Acts by Georg Friederich Händel
Music: Georg Friederich Händel (1685–1759)
Libretto: John Gay, Alexander Pope and John Hughes

Creative Team:
Conductor: Aaron Carpenè
Director: Stefano Vizioli
Choreographer and Assistant Director: Gloria Giordano
Set Designer and Video Artist: Lorenzo Cutuli
Assistant to Set Designer: Andrea de Micheli
Costume Designer: Annamaria Heinreich
Lighting Designer: Nevio Cavina
Video: Sergio Metalli
Costumes and Curtain Rental: Teatro di Pisa

Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin
Shanghai Opera House Chorus

Characters and Cast:
Galatea: Yulia van Doren, soprano
Acis: John McVeigh, tenor
Damon: Andrew Bidlack, tenor
Polyphemus: Jacques-Greg Belobo, bass-baritone

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Sunday, October 16, 2011

REVIEW: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra

Cultural Centre Concert Hall, Sunday October 9

At a top price ticket of HK$2,000, this could be the most expensive classical music concert of the year! I was in a seminar and have tasked another friend to call and book through Urbtix. At 11:00am, I got a text message from my friend saying that he can't get through (Urbtix opens at 10:00am). At 11:30am, I got through and the cheapest ticket available was HK$1,300. Apparently, not long after, the concert was sold out!

The highlight of the evening was Matthias Goerne. Hong Kong had him in 2009 when he performed Mahler's Kindertotenlieder with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin. This time, we heard him in 11 songs from Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn.

"Viennese sound” or not, it was the Eschenbach and Goerne sound that stood out on this historic night. I wrote a review for Time-Out Hong Kong. To read the review, please click here.

Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
9 October 2011 (Sun) 8pm
Concert Hall, Hong Kong Cultural Centre
$2000, $1650, $1300, $1000, $650, $300

Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Conductor: Christoph Eschenbach
Baritone: Matthias Goerne

Brahms: Tragic Overture
Schubert: Symphony No. 8, ‘Unfinished’
Mahler: 11 songs from Des Knaben Wunderhorn

  • Der Schildwache Nachtlied

  • Rheinlegendchen

  • Wo die schönen Trompeten blasen

  • Das irdische Leben

  • Urlicht

  • Lied des Verfolgten im Turm

  • Verlor'ne Müh!

  • Des Antonius von Padua Fischpredigt

  • Lob des hohen Verstandes

  • Revelge

  • Der Tamboursg’sell

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Monday, October 10, 2011

REVIEW: Fame - The Musical (Macao)

Macao Cultural Centre Grand Auditorium, Saturday October 8

Still not feeling well, I pushed myself to go to Macao to see Fame - The Musical. This production by Barkley Kalpak Associates for the 25th Macao International Music Festival confirms that Fame - The Musical is actually not a very good musical. Having said that, it is good that musical is back in the programming of the festival after disappearing since 2008.

Come to think of it, I first saw this musical way back in 2002 when an Australian production toured Hong Kong. In comparison, the Australian production was more posh; but talent-wise, this predominantly New York-based cast was better. One talent in the Australian production did stand out however even way back in 2002 and he was Mig Ayesa who played Jose Vegas. Subsequently, I got to see him in We Will Rock You (London) and Rock of Ages (New York).

Fame - The Musical (book by Jose Fernandez, lyrics by Jacques Levy and music by Steve Margoshes), just like the original movie, is set in New York High School of Performing Arts. It deals with the dreams, drugs, love affair and poverty of the students. It offers a lot of snappy music and dance number but little in characterization or story.

Even with a decent cast like this one, one can’t help but feel that the book and some of the lyrics were not right. When Regina LeVert as Miss Esther Sherman (English teacher) was singing These Are My Children, I can’t help but be amazed at how beautiful she sounded despite the cringe-inducing lyrics, “These are my children, my saving grace, I see my calling in every face. These are my children and I thank God for choosing me, for choosing me.” Some of the trite lyrics didn’t matter as much especially when performed by Annie Funke’s Mabel Washington in Mabel’s Prayer.

Overall, it was a good production of a so-so musical.

Fame – The Musical
October 7 to 9 2011
Barkley Kalpak Associates, Inc. (USA)
Produced and Presented by The Cultural Affairs Bureau of the Macao SAR Government and Barkley Kalpak Associates, Inc.
Conceived and Developed by David de Silva
Music: Steve Margoshes
Lyrics: Jacques Levy
Book: Jose Fernandez

Creative Team:
Executive Producer and Co - Director: Jeff Kalpak
Producer: Keith Marrapodi
Co Director Choreographer: Richard J. Hinds
Musical Director and Conductor: Mark Fifer
Scenic and Lighting Designer: Michael Reese
Costume Designer: Scott Westervelt

Cast includes:
Serena Katz: Kelly Felthous
Joe Vegas: Joel Perez
Carmen Diaz: Lexi Lawson
Mabel Washington: Annie Funke
Tyrone Jackson: Benjamin Mapp
Iris Kelly: Laura Volpacchio
Schlomo Metzenbaum: Robert Farruggia
Grace "Lambchops" Lamb: Alissa Laderer
Goodman "Goody" King: Richard Cerato
Ms. Greta Bell: Joan Hess
Miss Esther Sherman: Regina LeVert
Mr. Meyer: Peter Reardon
Mr. Sheinkopf: Bruce Winant

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Sunday, October 9, 2011

REVIEW: Feng Ning's Paganini with HKPO

Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall, Friday October 7

I was not feeling well, but I just have to go and listen to this concert. I highly recommended this concert in a feature in Time-Out magazine on the virtue that Feng Ning is the 51st Paganini International Violin Competition's first prize winner AND he will be playing the Paganini's Violin Concerto No. 1. The truth is that I missed his solo recital presented by Premiere Performances last fall in Hong Kong and my friends who have attended it made sure that I never hear the end of how good the recital was!

This HKPO concert started with Roberto Sierra's Fandango. Ravel-like in the sense that it obsessed over a core idea, but it is "contemporarized" with various showcasing of solos in between. It was a good and interesting start championed by conductor Andreas Delfs, but my mind was in anticipation of the next piece... Paganini Violin Concerto No. 1.

Despite going to the concert with very high expectation, the Chengdu-born violinist didn't only meet my expectation but exceeded it with flying colors! The Concerto is a showcase piece to exhibit the technical wizardry of the player, while the audience gasp with amazement. At least, that is what I thought the Concerto is all simply about... Yes, I did gasp with amazement over Feng Ning's technique, but was even more impressed on how Ning went beyond it and provided a performance that I can only associate with a great coloratura soprano. Feng Ning's playing was passionate, lyrical and poetic. He infused his playing with so much emotions that it was almost like hearing a song enriched with words.

I left during the interval, holding on to the sound of Ning's violin.

P.S. Ning's violin string broke during the concerto... it was my first time to witness such during a performance...
Feng Ning's Paganini
7&8-10-2011 Fri & Sat 8PM
Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall

SIERRA: Fandangos
PAGANINI: Violin Concerto No.1
BEETHOVEN: Symphony No.7

Andreas Delfs, conductor
Ning Feng, violin

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Friday, October 7, 2011

REVIEW: I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change by The Hong Kong Singers

Fringe Studio, Thursday October 6 2011

In 1999, I saw I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change premiered in South Africa at the Tesson Theatre at the Civic Theatre in Johannesburg. The production was in a medium-sized theatre with polished sets and costumes, but for some reason, I don’t remember it being as funny as this production by The Hong Kong Singers. Was it because I was 20 years old then (cough… cough…) and the ironies and jokes just went over my head? Or was it because this production here in Hong Kong just simply brought out the ironies and jokes more effectively?

This musical, book and lyrics by Joe DiPietro and music by Jimmy Roberts, is a series of vignettes about things we secretly thought about love and relationship YET were afraid to say it… therefore we just sing it out loud! Director Wendy Herbert made the right decision to distribute the roles that were usually played by four actors to seven actors, taking advantage of a broader spectrum of capabilities, compatibilities and ages.

What made this piece of theatre worked well was the fact that each performer pulled their weight in a theatre of the right size, thus removing the usual technical challenge of amplification. Performers were eager and over-the-top; and for some reason, it worked. The awkwardness and silliness reminded me of those sketch comedy TV shows popular in the 70’s when everybody, including the audience, were just having a great time. Amidst good performances, I particularly like Kathleen Leary's performance... somehow, she reminded me of Tina Fey’s Liz Lemon amongst all the other stereotypical characters in 30 Rock.

I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change
Book & Lyrics by Joe DiPietro
Music by Jimmy Roberts
October 4 - 8 2011, Fringe Studio

Creative Team:
Director: Wendy Herbert
Music Director: Micah Sandt

Cast Includes:
Daniel Cheong
Elizabeth Elliott
Kathleen Leary
Marion McDonald
Matthew Collingwood
Matthew Gillespie
Paul Hay

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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

SATOSHI on the 40th Hong Kong Arts Festival

Advance booking for the 40th Hong Kong Arts Festival starts today and I am happy to announce that I have already done it! So here are the shows I have booked for me and my friends in the order of importance (to me):

  • Myung-whun Chung and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra - In December 2008, a group of top critics invited by Gramophone magazine ranked it as the top symphony orchestra in the world. Next year will not just be a great opportunity to hear the orchestra’s “immediately identifiable sound”, but actually a chance to hear the orchestra play in OUR concert hall. It would be quite interesting to hear the orchestra in an acoustical environment that I am familiar with.
  • Karita Mattila in Recital – She is the most electrifying singing actress today. I once saw her as Donna Anna in Lyric Opera of Chicago’s production of Don Giovanni. Considering that Bryn Terfel was Don Giovanni and Susan Graham was Donna Elvira, Mattila still managed to stand out with the perfect combination of luminous tone and neurotic persona. This will be my first time to see her in a recital format… can’t wait…
  • Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra – This programme has the highest ticket count in my booking. Ranking no. 6 in the Gramophone magazine list of top symphony orchestra in the world, I am particularly looking forward to its Austro-German classical programme and not to mention hearing the award-winning German baritone Christian Gerhaher.
  • The Sixteen Choir and Orchestra – I have known this wonderful ensemble for quite some time, but never had the chance to hear them live. They will be having two all-Handel concerts and I can easily recommend any of the two. I chose Messiah though.
  • Koon Woo Paik Plays Ravel – I love Ravel’s piano music and with Korean super-virtuoso Koon Woo Paik, it sounds like the perfect combination.
  • The Hamburg Ballet’s A Streetcar Named Desire – One has to admit that a ballet interpretation of this powerful play by Tennessee William is intriguing. Though this ballet was first staged in 1983, this revival promises a visceral choreography with music by Prokofiev and Schnittke.
  • Cosi Fan Tutte by the Bavarian State Opera – This could be higher in my list, but this is one opera that I have seen one too many times with very good singers. Having said that, the cast includes Miah Persson and Thomas Allen, two artists I admire and look forward to seeing them perform again.
  • A Magic Flute by Theatre des Bouffes du Nord – This re-imagination of Mozart’s The Magic Flute by Peter Brook promises to distill the original opera to its core with clarity and simplicity. I have to say that this is most intriguing and I will most probably come out of the theatre totally disgusted or totally ecstatic.
  • Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo’s Le Songe – The programme description looks quite awesome. I believe the strength of this production will be Jean–Christophe Maillot’s choreography and the costume and set that will translate and deliver the fantastical world of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
  • The Importance of Being Earnest – Who doesn’t like Oscar Wilde? This is a classic and I look forward to be simply entertained ☺

So 10 all in all (last year, I had 12). I could easily go up to 16, but then I also risks not being able to attend at the very end. There are other shows that I will consider, but not for advance booking, such as: Pavel Haas Quartet, Les Ballet de l'Opera de Lyon, The Geisha of Gion, and Faith Healer

How about you? I would love to hear what you have booked.

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Sunday, October 2, 2011

REVIEW: 13 by Theatre Noir

Hong Kong Cultural Centre Studio Theatre, Friday September 30

The Theatre Noir's production of 13, a Broadway musical by Jason Robert Brown, was a mixed bag of stones, some precious and some semi-precious. The one thing that made this show worked however, was that these stones were polished to sparkle and shine.

13 is about Evan Goldman preparing for his Bar Mitzvah. As if going through puberty is not enough hassle, his parents divorced and he moved from his hometown New York City to Appleton, Indiana. Aside from adapting to the new environment, he has to strategize his way into the hip circle to have a successful Bar Mitzvah. In his desire to be somebody to everybody, he risks becoming nobody to the people who really matters.

The 13 performers sang and acted like 13 years old kids trying to sing and act like 13 years old kids. Dominant Ho as Evan was admirable for the amount of work he put in for this title role. Unfortunately, his whiny nasal singing voice was a huge disadvantage. Rebecca Leung as the bad girl Lucy was the best in class with the perfect balance of superb acting, singing and dancing. Herbert Cheng as the disabled Archie had every movement and phrasing down to a T which made his performance seemed less natural and spontaneous. Having said that, I did enjoy his singing and do look forward to see how this conscientious actor develops. Nicole Ng as the down-to-earth Patrice was just right for the role.

The star of the show, however, was William Yip and his production team. The set, costume, lighting and choreography provided the much needed polish that made the show a good one. The amount of discipline instilled by the director and shown by the performers was astonishing and inspiring. It is in small actions such as moving stools between scenes that one can see the amount of details and works the production aspired for and achieved.

A Broadway Musical - Hong Kong Premiere
Music & Lyrics by Jason Robert Brown
Book by Dan Elish and Robert Horn
September 30 - October 2: Hong Kong Cultural Centre Studio Theatre (English Version)
October 7 - 9: The Hong Kong Polytechnic University Jockey Club Auditorium (Cantonese Version)

Creative Team:
Director: William Yip
Choreographer: Peter Lawrence
Set and Costume Design: Cheung Sze Kan
Lighting Design: Leo Siu
Sound Design: Matthew Ma

Cast includes:
Dominant Ho: Evan
Nicole Ng: Patrice
Herbert Cheng: Archie
Rebecca Leung: Lucy
Canais Chow: Brett
Rachelle Ng: Kendra
Rod Ho: Eddie
Kevin Kan: Malcolm
Isaac Chan: Simon
Jolene Pong: Richie
Melissa White: Molly
Elian Mary Suarez: Cassie
Kristina Keung: Charlotte

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