The Singapore International Festival of Music (SIFOM) is brought to you by SIFOM Ltd, in collaboration with Arts House Ltd and OperaViva Ltd. Singapore’s first-ever classical music festival is back for a second year and it promises to be even more spellbinding!
This year’s theme is “Myths and Legends” and the Festival seeks to explore invigorating programmes of evocative classical music inspired by folklore and fairy tales. The Festival will kick off in mid-October with free public outreach programmes and masterclasses, and a series of ticketed orchestral, musical theatre and vocal concerts.
SIFOM aims to place Singapore on the world map of classical music capitals and bring new audiences to concert halls. “The Singaporean brand is undoubtedly an international one. By establishing Singapore as the centre of classical music in the region, SIFOM hopes to further cement Singapore’s global reputation as a major cultural hub,” said internationally-renowned Grammy-nominated Singaporean Conductor, Darrell Ang, SIFOM’s Artistic Director.
A magical, musical take on familiar fairytales
The Festival will open with a full symphonic concert featuring the resident festival orchestra SIFOM Orchestra side-by-side with members of the legendary Chamber Orchestra of Europe (COE), under the baton of Maestro Darrell Ang. Recognised as the world’s best chamber orchestra, COE comprises Europe’s stellar musicians who have worked closely with celebrated legends such as Claudio Abbado, Bernard Haitink, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Vladimir Jurowski, Yannick Nézet-Séguin and Sir András Schiff. COE was Cultural Ambassador for the European Union (EU) from 2007 to 2013. At SIFOM, COE will present an imaginary story told through French composer Maurice Ravel’s ravishing orchestration of tales from Mother Goose. Bask in the sensuous music of Sleeping Beauty, the tearful meanderings of wandering Tom Thumb, the oriental gaiety of the Princess of the Pagodas, Beauty and the Beast’s bizarre but touching discourse; and The Fairy Garden’s lush, flowery paradise.
Young performers from the Musical Olympus Foundation take centre-stage
Two opera stars from the Musical Olympus Foundation will perform their favourite showpieces on 13 and 15 October. Chinese bass-baritone Li Ao (winner of Placido Domingo’s Operalia competition) plays the devil Mephistopheles in a famous aria from Gounod’s beloved opera Faust, in which he advises a woman to remain chaste until marriage. Vasilisa Berzhanskaya, from Moscow’s famous Bolshoi Theatre, will sing Cinderella’s closing aria from Rossini’s opera on the fairy tale: now married to the Prince, Cinderella seeks pardon for her evil relatives who have done her wrong.
Maverick violinist, Aleksey Semenenko, who bagged the silver medal at the recent Queen Elisabeth Competition, promises to set the stage on fire from Sarasate’s beloved Carmen Fantasy. Semenenko will also start his evening concert on 13 October with a pre-concert recital featuring music inspired by legends. Lastly, be spellbound by Russian composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s powerful symphonic retelling of the colourful adventures of Sindbad the Sailor and the 1001 Arabian Nights: his Scheherazade is full of unforgettable tunes which will leave you dreaming of flying carpets and magic lamps!
Ikan Girl tells the story of good triumphing over evil
Ikan Girl, featuring The Bhumi Collective, tells a story about patience, kindness and the perils of engaging in evil deeds – especially the mistreatment of a fellow being. Inspired by a Malay ancient poem known as the Syair Bidasari, this story is a multidisciplinary performance that incorporates movement vocabulary from Malay dance, bharatanatyam and contemporary dance genres. Syafiqah Adha Sallehi, the composer, is Artist-in-Residence at SIFOM. Percussionist extraordinaire Ramu Thiruyanam will also make a special appearance.
Other events to look forward to include 五 + 5 = ?, a collaboration between Singapore’s Ding Yi Music Company and Vietnam’s Song Hong Chamber Music; New Music in a Mythic Landscape by SIFOM Young Composers offering their take on pieces inspired by local landscapes; and Elbipolis Barockorchester Hamburg, an orchestra from Germany bringing baroque and electronic music together in a refreshing experiment with styles.
Beyond the confines of the concert hall
“Classical music should not limit itself to the confines of a concert hall. By bringing it to the heartlands, we hope to promote classical music as an accessible art-form, and to nurture a new generation of listeners to classical music today,” said Ang.
SIFOM is delighted to share the joy of classical music to the Singapore community. Through its Outreach Programmes, SIFOM musicians will bring excerpts of the main programmes – such as Ravel’s Mother Goose Suite (illustrating fairytale favourites like Sleeping Beauty and Beauty and the Beast) – to various community venues in the heartlands, in parks and malls, at libraries and schools.
With the aim to encourage nationwide appreciation of classical music, SIFOM will collaborate with Sentire Singapore on a music-centric programme for special-needs children. By engaging these children through music, SIFOM composers and musicians will share some simple melodies and composition styles. Through the interaction, the children will learn to express themselves and develop their artistic capabilities. Some of the students will be given the opportunity to experience their music performed ‘live’ at The Arts House on 19 October.
SIFOM kicks off on 13 October and ends 30 October 2016. Tickets are available at a starting price of SGD 36, and there are now tiered Festival Passes which allow the ticket-holder to attend various combinations of performances, starting at SGD 144. Tickets will be available at SISTIC from mid-August.