Article by Aldwin Lee.
Soldiers. They’re a very common character portrayed in operas. Must be something to do about their sense of duty and code of honor. So it’s no surprise that we again are to portray the military in the KLCO’s mid-year production of La Fille du Regiment (Daughter of the Regiment). A dashing comedic tale of parenthood, loyalty and over-washed laundry, La Fille du Regiment is the tale of Tonio, a Tyrolean village boy who tries hard to win the heart of the fair young maiden Marie, much to the consternation of her adopted fathers the 21s t Regiment of the French army led by sergeant Sulpice.
For the second time, we would be singing the opera in French (the first was Bizet’s Carmen in 2013) and I have to say that I have a kind of adoration for the language. The way it makes you twist and contort your mouth and tongue to produce its words leaves an impression. As the manly soldiers play a significant role in the opera, we would be onstage almost the entire time, participating in a good amount of arias and chorus pieces.
Admittedly, I thought this was going to be a challenging production, not because of the opera itself, but from the short amount of time we had to rehearse the entire opera; barely 2 months as we immediately started work after OperaKUL. It was nerve wracking as Chi Hoe took us on a crash course through the pieces and there were times when we were left with blank minds at the scale of memorization that would be needed. You couldn’t imagine the number of ‘extra’ rehearsals we men had to organize on the fly just to keep up with the pace.
We were then introduced to our director Amelia and our choreography is set into motion rather crudely, seeing as not everyone who performed at DPAC would be following suit for the trip north to Penang later. Poor gal must be frustrated with having to assign roles to accommodate the fluctuating number of performers. But, beggars can’t be choosers. Come the week of showtime and we are bumping in at Damansara Performing Arts Centre. We see our actual set and just like in La Boheme, we are assigned as set movers, though it would not be as grueling as it had been previously. At this point, we shouldn’t be surprised that with each practice run, we begin catching up with the singing and French language. Perhaps this is a KLCO tradition.
Curtains open! As the first of us made our way onto the stage in front of a live audience, we swallowed up our fears and performed to the best we could. Even through a few choreographic hiccups, missed lines and orchestral flubs, the crowd seemed entertained enough. Without barely a chance to rest, we headed to Penang for another run at the Penang Performing Arts Centre. Not surprisingly, with the choreography and music still fresh in our minds, we got to enjoy the island’s famed street foods and sights in between each day’s practice run.
After the director’s aforementioned re-shuffling of the roles to accommodate the changed line-up, we re-adjusted to the new stage. The main challenge this time came from the rather diminished number of men, numbering less than 10. Needless to say, our vocal body and volume was a bit thin. Still, we gave it our all and again, the crowd was pleased with the opera.
All in all, La Fille du Regiment was a colorful production, with a healthy dose of drama, comedy (both in the opera and production-wise) and delicious food. I look forward to the next production which takes the KLCO outstations and maybe one day, abroad.
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS Danny Chen & Ho Soon Yoon CONDUCTOR Juan Montoya
STAGE DIRECTOR Amelia Tan
VOCAL DIRECTOR Cecilia Yap
RéPéTITEUR Soon Kun Ming
CHORUS MASTER chi Hoe Mak
COSTUME DESIGNER Dominique Devorsine
SET DESIGNER Oo cheing tam
SET BUILDER Triple Eight Production
STAGE MANAGER tracy Pua
ASSISTANt STAGE MANAGER Ho Mun Hann
LIGHTING DESIGNER Amelia Tan
SOUND ENGINEER JJ Tan, Soundworks
SURTITLE OPERATOR Eunice Chern
SUBTITLE TRANSLATION Ho Soon Yoon, Chee Foong Wah,
Nichole Lam, Chris Wong, Simon Wong DESIGNER Rachel Tan
FRONT OF HOUSE Marcus Lee, Hwang Jia Zhen, Christine Chen, Jacqueline Chen, Lim Wai Peng
OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPHER Jun (KL), Ch'ng Shi P'ng (Penang)
PROMOTION PHOTOS Shawn Lor, Pixelpics VIDEOGRAPHER Where's the Fish Production ORCHESTRA REDUCTION ARRANGEMENT 'Aizat Adli STAGE ICON TNS Sdn Bhd
KLCO ARTISTIC COMMITTEE Danny chen,
Ho Soon Yoon, Cecilia Yap, Juan Montoya, Chi Hoe Mak, Soon Kun Ming
ADVERTISING & PROMOTION Danny Chen, Ho Soon Yoon
SPONSORSHIP Karen Chan, Susan Kuee MEDIA Danny Chen
SOCIAL MEDIA Marcus Lee
NEWSLETTER Aldwin Lee PROGRAMBOOKLET Danny Chen
PHOTOS CREDIT TO CH'NG SHI P'NG.