The show must go on.
Since travelling to Singapore is not possible now, we’ll bring a slice of Singapore to you instead – a mix of artistic performances from symphonic orchestras to theatre plays and concerts.
All you need is a bit of imagination in the comfort of your home – grab a seat, make a drink if you like, and relax in your bed or sofa as the bell rings thrice, the music begins to play, and the curtains open.
You’re invited to witness the thriving arts scene in Singapore and get a glimpse of Singapore’s talents in the world of arts. Choose your own seat–free, of course–to one of our state-of-the-art performance venues such as Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay and the Victoria Concert Hall.
Here’s a curated list of live and pre-recorded concerts, plays and performances available right now for your viewing and listening pleasure.
Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO) presents SSOPlayOn!, a much-needed digital season which releases three to four concerts per week. The mix of video and audio concerts will showcase Singapore’s home-grown composers, as well as never-before-released recordings of musical treasures from the archives.
The season opens with Mahler’s Second Symphony conducted by Lan Shui. The concert was Lan Shui’s final concert as orchestra music director. Look out for Singapore Composers: From the Archives, an audio series sharing works by local composers Leong Yoon Pin, Tsao Chief, Tan Chan Boon and Kelly Tang.
As you explore the playlists on SSO website or YouTube channel while working from home on weekdays, take the chance to enjoy a calm and relaxed weekend with Jason Lai’s classical music meditation. The Singapore-based conductor leads guided meditations to the calming strains of classical music masterpieces.
Singapore Symphony Orchestra. www.sso.org.sg/playon
Singapore Chinese Orchestra
Inspired by the current measure encouraging food takeout and delivery (as opposed to dining in food establishments), the Singapore Chinese Orchestra believes that concert goers can consume their performances on the go too. The #DabaoSCO (dabao means take out in Chinese Hokkien dialect) series broadcast past full-length concerts on their Facebook page and YouTube channel.
Watch their Strings Fantasy concert featuring internationally renowned violinist Lu Si Qing and acclaimed cellist Qin Li-Wei. For fans of the Chinese folktale Legend of the White Snake, catch the orchestra’s rendition here. The latter is split into two parts running almost two hours.
And step right into the orchestra’s #roomformusic series where musicians record pieces in their own personal spaces. Fans of Japanese anime will enjoy a fun rendition of My Neighbour Totoro’s movie soundtrack on pipa, cello, harp and double bass.
For our friends from afar curious about the origins of Chinese orchestra, you can learn more here.
Singapore Chinese Orchestra. www.facebook.com/watch/singapore.chinese.orchestra/ and www.youtube.com/users/1997SCO/
The Necessary Stage
As one of the most renowned theatre companies in Singapore, The Necessary Stage (TNS) performs thought-provoking and innovative productions, including plays for the Singapore International Festival of Arts such as Those Who Can’t, Teach and Model Citizens. The former centres on the madcap lives of teachers and students in a seemingly ordinary secondary school in Singapore, often with hilarious results while the latter looks at how the paths of a maid, her employer and a politician’s wife are intertwined and the drama that it ensues.
Get access to a play staged and produced by TNS every month from their entire archives for a nominal fee or rent each title for 1-week streaming period. We highly recommend their critically-acclaimed Off Centre, which looks at the friendship of two ex-mental patients.
The Necessary Stage Archives. www.tnsarchives.com
Offstage is an all-access backstage pass to the performing arts at Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay, the premier arts centre in Singapore situated along the scenic Marina Bay. Go beyond the stage to check out online content chockfull of videos, stories and podcasts.
We especially like I Kid You Not, a video series featuring kids who are experts in different art forms. They’ll perform, play and teach various arts from a Malay dance to the Chinese musical instrument guzheng. You would probably be tickled by the kids and learn a thing or two in the process–we know we did.
And put on your earphones to enjoy Making A Scene, an Esplanade podcast about how art gets made. One of the episodes features a lively discussion between theatre company Toy Factory’s artistic director Goh Boon Teck and noted Singaporean actors Sharon Au and Nelson Chia on the iconic production Madame Butterfly.
Esplanade Offstage. www.esplanade.com/offstage/arts
National Arts Council
The A List by the National Arts Council (NAC) is an online portal on arts and culture in Singapore where you can find event listings, interviews and more. Look out especially for their interviews with Singaporeans from all walks of life from uncles who sketch monuments to a lighting technician who tours all over the world with the Cats musical crew.
In addition, NAC recently launched the Arts in Your Neighbourhood programme where it stitches personal stories about the neighbourhood together with unique soundscapes from the estate.
You might be familiar with places like Chinatown and Little India in Singapore, but go beyond the city centre to explore lesser known neighbourhoods. Podscape is their first podcast that centres on the neighbourhood of Bukit Panjang, where sound artist Ng Sze Min created soundscapes inspired by the lush vegetation, the extensive rail networks that pass through the estate, and other community landmarks.
The A List. www.facebook.com/thealistsg/videos