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Arts Picks: Singapore Chinese Orchestra’s new season, contemporary dance fest and promenade theatre at Tampines

Affinity

Affinity is both the title of the Singapore Chinese Orchestra’s (SCO) opening gala concert and the theme for its 2023/2024 season.

Fans will be looking forward to this series of 14 ticketed productions as it is the first to be curated by principal conductor Quek Ling Kiong, who took over artistic leadership from maestro Yeh Tsung in 2023. 

The gala will showcase the orchestra’s section leaders in three iconic concertos.

Concertmaster and strings section leader Li Baoshun will perform erhu concerto Red Plum Capriccio, while plucked strings section leader and sanxian principal Huang Guifang will feature in the Singapore premiere of Aleppo, a sanxian concerto by composer-in-residence Wang Chenwei.

Winds and percussion section leader and dizi principal Yin Zhiyang will play The Butterfly Dream. 

There are plenty of other highlights coming up in the season as reopened borders mean international guests are on the programme again.

A new offering is the Masters series, which will showcase internationally renowned conductors. A familiar name, Qu Chunquan, is scheduled to return to conduct the SCO after 12 years with a concert on March 16.  

Look out, too, for the season’s closing gala on June 8, Encounter: Liang Wern Fook’s Composition Showcase, with music curated by xinyao pioneer Dr Liang.

This guaranteed crowd-pleaser is co-presented with Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre and will be part of its Cultural Extravaganza 2024. 

Where: Singapore Chinese Orchestra Concert Hall, Singapore Conference Hall, 7 Shenton WayMRT: DowntownWhen: Friday, 7.30pmAdmission: $20 to $80 from Sistic (call 6348-5555 or go to www.sistic.com.sg)Info: str.sg/iTJT

12th Xposition “O” Contemporary Dance Fiesta 

Home-grown dance company Odyssey Dance Theatre’s biennial contemporary dance programme is presenting four dance performances from Saturday through to Nov 21. 

Kicking things off on Saturday is Aura Dance Theatre, Lithuania’s first contemporary dance company. Its short programme Un Fil explores memories and connections. 

Italy’s Spellbound Contemporary Ballet’s If You Were A Man next Wednesday presents a study of four men learning to listen. 

On Sept 15, Saigon Contemporary & Ballet Company will put on Yen Lam, a work that presents Vietnamese culture through a generational story set in a tranquil village. 

Odyssey Dance Theatre’s Silence Of Solitude, choreographed by company founder and artistic director Danny Tan, closes the programme at the University Cultural Centre on Nov 21. 

Where: ODT Gem, 2 Sims Close, and University Cultural Centre, 50 Kent Ridge CrescentMRT: Aljunied/Kent RidgeWhen: Saturday, next Wednesday and Sept 15, 8pm; Nov 21, 8pmAdmission: $68 and $128 from peatix.comInfo: xpofestival.com

Tampines Boy  

Explore the Tampines neighbourhood with a twist in this promenade theatre experience by Bahri & Co.

This is a site-specific remake of a show that debuted at the 2017 Edinburgh Fringe Festival as Last Of Their Generation. 

The story follows Shai and his family, who have lived in their Tampines Central home for the last 35 years. With real estate prices climbing, the family jokes about cashing in, but there is a sentimental attachment to the neighbourhood. 

Directed by Adeeb Fazah, who also helmed the first iteration, it explores a millennial’s outlook on Singapore’s ever-changing urban landscape.  

Be prepared to cover about 5km on foot over 2½ hours during the course of the show, so dress comfortably and arm yourself with water and sun shades.

The show is presented by Our Tampines Hub and is part of the National Arts Council Arts and Culture Nodes Network.

Where: Our Tampines Hub, 1 Tampines WalkMRT: TampinesWhen: Friday to Sept 17. The show on Sept 8 is at 5pm. All other shows on next Friday, Saturdays and Sundays are at 10am and 5pmAdmission: Free with registration, a refundable deposit of $5 to confirm registrationInfo: www.bahriandco.com/tampines-boy

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