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SPH Gift of Music presents Intriques in the Qing Imperial Court – Chinese Opera in English, at the Botanic Gardens

SINGAPORE, 31 August 2005 – Concert-goers at the upcoming SPH Gift of Music series will be taken on a truly unusual journey, with Chinese opera performed in English.

The 75-minute performance takes place on Sunday 4 September at 6pm, Shaw Foundation Symphony Stage.

The Chinese Theatre Circle (CTC) brings to the Gardens a novel performance of the Opera `Intriques in the Qing Imperial Court’, a grand and spectacular masterpiece which enacts the tragic romance between Emperor Guang Xu, the 9th emperor of the Qing Dynasty and his concubine Zhen Fei.

An 11 piece orchestra using Chinese and Western instruments will accompany the performance. The music comprises traditional Cantonese pieces and western classical pieces like "Traumerie" and Le Cygne. The Cantonese pieces have been rearranged by music maestro from Guangzhou, Mr Bu Can Rong, who is Music Director of the opera.

CTC was established in 1981, and to date has staged more than 2000 performances in more than 20 countries including Singapore, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, China, England, Egypt, Italy, Japan, Switzerland and the USA.

An excerpt of this opera was presented for the World Culture Open Award, at the Lincoln Centre, New York last September, and at the Festival of World Cultures in Ireland last month.

CTC ’s artistes have been conferred many prestigious awards. Among them are Artistic Director Mrs Joanna Wong, who was bestowed the Public Service Star (BBM) & Cultural Medallion in 1981, Opera instructor/Lead Actress Ms Lou Mee Wah, who was bestowed the National Youth Award in 1980 and the Cultural Medallion in 1997, and Leading Actress Ms See Too Hoi Siang, bestowed the Outstanding Young Person Award in 2000 and the Top 10 Outstanding Young Persons Award in the World in 2001.

Intriques in the Qing Imperial Court’ is a concert of the year-long Gift of Music series presented by media group Singapore Press Holdings to share the joy of music with the community and to celebrate Singapore’s 40th anniversary.

The series features more than 20 concerts traversing different genres of music, from pop, Latin and R&B, to jazz, Asian percussion, choral, Western classical, Chinese opera and children´s puppets, and promises to be wholesome and entertaining, with something for everyone.

Since the series launched in May 2005, audiences have been enjoying surprising collaborations, interaction with the performers and fresh Singapore talent performing alongside established acts.

The key partners collaborating with SPH in this Gift of Music series, which ends in April 2006, are the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, the Singapore Chinese Orchestra and a host of individuals and groups representing some of the most recognised names in Singapore music, as well as carefully-selected overseas acts.
The SPH concerts at the Botanic Gardens fall on the first Sunday of every month. In addition to these, SPH will also bring concerts to the community with performances in the heartlands, public areas and parks as part of its outreach efforts to connect with the community.

The concert series is one of many outreach events which SPH supports as part of its broadening community involvement. Each year, the media group contributes to a diverse range of education, arts and culture, community, conservation, sports and charitable projects. SPH was recently named the top corporate giver in Singapore in a survey carried out by the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre, and has been bestowed the Distinguished Patron of the Arts award every year since 1993.

See Annexe 1 below for Opera cast list, and Annexe 2 for upcoming SPH Gift of Music concerts.

Issued by Singapore Press Holdings Limited
Co. Regn. No: 198402868E

For more information, please contact:

Audrey Perera
Senior Manager
Corporate Relations
DID: 6319 22261
Email: audreyp@sph.com.sg

About Singapore Press Holdings
Main board listed Singapore Press Holdings Limited is the leading media company in Singapore, in the print, Internet and broadcasting platforms. It publishes 13 newspapers in the four official languages and more than 70 magazine titles. Everyday, 2.78 million individuals, or 90 per cent of people above 15 years old, read one of the SPH publications. Its Internet Business Unit manages the online editions of SPH’s major newspapers and magazines, which together enjoy over 250 million pageviews a month. SPH also owns a 20% stake in MediaCorp TV Holdings Pte Ltd, which operates free-to-air channels 5, 8, U and TV Mobile, and a 40% stake in MediaCorp Press Pte Ltd, which publishes free newspaper Today. It also operates two entertainment radio channels, UFM 100.3 FM in Chinese and WKRZ 91.3 FM in English, under a joint venture company UnionWorks with NTUC Media.

ANNEXE 1

"INTRIQUES IN THE QING IMPERIAL COURT" CAST

1. Empress Dowager (Ci Xi) : Joanna Wong JP BBM
2. Zhen Fei : See Too Hoi Siang
3. Emperor Guang Xu : Frances Wong Kum Yeng
4. Li Lian Ying : Dr Wong Kwok Onn (PhD)
5. Kang You Wei : Chan Mei Yin
6. Jin Feng : Wu Poh Yin
7. Jin Fei : Chan Mei Leng
8. Weng Tong He : Ellen Li
9. Yuan Shi Kai : Kwong Kwong Luen
10. Li Hong Zhang : Tay Kong Hui
11. Rong Lu : Leong Kum Fai
12. Prince Chung : Yuan Che Kin
13. Tan Si Tong : Chan Choon Hee
14. Liang Qi Chao : Yang Ah Ming
15. Liu Guang Di : Ho Suit Leng
16. Kang Guang Ren : Soo Thim Chee
17. Yang Rui : Ken Lee
18. Yang Shen Xiu : Low Ah Mui
19. Xiao De En : Ho Yin May
20. Xiao Gui Zi : Ho Suit Leng
21. Count von Waldersee : Francois Corno H
22. Imperial Physician : Ho Suit Leng
23. Dr Detheve : Francois Corno H
24. Nurse : Fan Lai Mei
25. Noble Ladies : Lo Siu Ling,Chan Kwai Lin
Fai Lai Mei
26.Court Maidens : Cho Chin Chi,Eunice Mak
27.Court Officials : Yang Ah Ming,Low Ah Mui,
28.Guards : Chan Choon Hay,Ken Lee
29.Representatives of : Glen Copsey, Chan Mei Yin
Foreign Allies : Yuen Che Kin,Ellen Li
Kwong Kwong Luen

ANNEXE 2

COMING SPH GIFT OF MUSIC CONCERTS 2005 & 2006

Sep 4, Botanic Gardens
Intrigues in the Qing Imperial Court (Opera, sung in English)
Try this for an unusual experience in the great outdoors.

Sep 10, Esplanade Concert Hall
Gary Graden conducts the SYC Ensemble Singers
Singapore’s most traveled and awarded choir will be conducted by esteemed Swedish conductor Gary Graden in an evening of beautiful choral music.

Sep 18, Botanic Gardens
SPH Classical Experience - SSO in the Park
Popular classics by Prokofiev and Borodin and Chinese evergreen melodies can be heard as SSO returns to play at the park.

Oct 2, Botanic Gardens
World of Imagination
Large specially-made puppets take to the stage and spin magical tales in this special edition concert especially for children.

Oct 9, Sengkang (opposite Compass Point)
SPH Classical Experience - SSO@Sengkang
Be greeted by the luxuriant sounds of the SSO as you step out of Sengkang MRT station.

Oct 29, Botanic Gardens
Singapore Youth Chinese Orchestra
Enjoy an evening of delightful Chinese and contemporary music by the SYCO.

Nov 6, Botanic Gardens
Rhythm & Blues – Smooth Grooves
Chill out with the smooth funky sounds of some of Singapore´s own R&B and hip-hop acts.

Dec 4, Botanic Gardens
An acapella Christmas
Celebrate the season with the purity of human voices, singing well-loved Christmas carols in tight harmonies and nifty vocal variations.

Dec 9 & 10, Singapore Conference Hall
Singapore Youth Chinese Orchestra - Budding Talents
Catch the young talents of SYCO, outstanding musicians from the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts and past winners of various national music competitions in this showcase of young musical talent.

2006

Jan 1, Botanic Gardens
Good Vibes and Peace – A feel-good new year pop concert
Ring in the New Year at this concert featuring a repertoire of well-loved songs specially chosen to touch you and make you feel energised and positive about the new year.

Feb 5, Botanic Gardens
Ushering Spring
A repertoire of auspicious songs to mark the Lunar New Year.

Mar 5, Botanic Gardens
SCO in the Park
SCO returns to the park to perform more favourite Chinese classics.

Apr 30, Botanic Gardens
SPH Classical Experience - SSO in the Park
SSO returns to one of its favourite outdoor venues to perform more popular classics.