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Preview: Don Pasquale – An Italian Opera with Singlish by The Arts Place

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Marking their debut on the local arts scene, new company The Arts Place opens with a quintessentially Singaporean production – their very own local take on traditional Italian opera Don Pasquale…with Singlish!

Reimagining the commedia dell’arte in present-day Singapore with an
original script, Don Pasquale features fresh dialogue in English and Singlish, and relatable characters modelled after familiar figures in Singaporean society. The plot follows a young couple in love as they seek to thwart the inappropriate plans of a pompous old man looking to marry the girl himself.

To make the opera more relatable to the local audience members, The Arts Place has commissioned local scriptwriter Jasmine Teo to remove the recitatives and replace them with English and Singlish, with snatches of local dialects for a humorous twist. The characters have also been localised, with familiar figures such as a wealthy “towkay”, a “chiobu” and the son of a rich man. Says Martin Ng, Artistic Director of Don Pasquale and The Arts Place: “The contagious effervescence of Donizetti’s music coupled with a totally relatable Singaporeanised setting sets the stage for an absolutely entertaining evening at the opera.”

Don Pasquale will star Taiwanese performer Ming-Mou Hsieh, taking on the titular role in his Singapore debut. While he has taken on the role before in Taiwan, this will mark the first time he encounters and performs it in the Singapore vernacular. Joining him will be Singaporean soprano Teng Xiang Ting as the classy and charming Norina, opposite Oscar Ruben (Peru/Austria) in the role of Ernesto. The two lovers will be brought together by Dr Malatesta, played by Singaporean baritone Alvin Tan, and will also be joined on stage by a 30-strong orchestra led by renowned local conductor Joshua Tan.

Not only does The Arts Place intend to make their mark with this debut – they will also be dedicating the entire circle seats at Victoria Concert Hall on 20th October to treat underprivileged children to an evening at the opera. The Arts Place will be working closely with donors to sponsor 135 children from three needs-based schools – Grace
Orchard School, Pathlight School and Loving Heart Multi-Service Centre – to expose
this segment of individuals to vocal singing as an outlet for expression. Select cast members will also be making a special appearance at Grace Orchard School for a community outreach programme on 9th October, performing excerpts from the opera, along with storytelling and music.

With a strong cast of performers and a fiercely original yet relatable concept, expect a lively and lighthearted operatic affair with a local twist as The Arts Place’s Don Pasquale premieres at the Victoria Concert Hall this October.

Don Pasquale plays from 19th to 20th October 2019 at the Victoria Concert Hall. Tickets available from SISTIC

 

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