As a musician, I think one of the best things about my job is being able to travel, and make new friends, as well as reconnect with old friends and family. In the winter of 2014, I flew home to my beautiful sunny island, Singapore, to sing in ChildAid, a charity concert held by our national newspaper, Straits Times. I am a proud advocate for this charity which helps provide lunch money for children of low income families. It’s sister charity, Budding Artist Funds helps to pay for music lessons for children of low income families who show artistic promise. This concert benefitted both causes, and it was also the production’s 10th anniversary! A record breaking $2.327 million dollars was raised! It was so fulfilling, and I had a blast performing in the show. I sang “O mio Babbino Caro” by Giacomo Puccini, and the theme song of the concert, “A World to Imagine” by Iskandar Ismail. Here are some pictures of me singing the Puccini aria.
Here is a link to the recording:
The finale of the concert was beautiful, with confetti floating from the ceiling, and the entire company of the concert onstage.
After this memorable concert, I returned to the USA, and performed my very first bel canto role in Gaetano Donizetti’s romantic comedy opera, L’Elisir d’Amore. As you can tell from the animated expressions, it is quite dramatic, and lots of laughter spring up from the opera. Here are some pictures of me singing the lead role of Adina.
The following summer, I made my way back again to my orchid filled country, to celebrate her 50th birthday in the most special way-through music!
As part of our nation’s jubilee celebrations, there were a series of events to mark the special year. I was involved in two such events. The first of the events was a two-day concert with Orchestra of the Music Makers. Mahler’s 8th Symphony was performed with a stellar cast of singers, and incredible instrumentalists. It was an international group of performers, and I had the honour of being the only Singaporean soloist.
I sang the role of Mater Gloriosa, and because of the nature of the part, I was placed in the organ loft above the other soloists, instrumentalists, and choirs. It was a memorable experience, and unlike any other to be singing from such a height. The concert was held at the Esplanade, Theatres on the Bay.
As part of a birthday gift to Singapore, the orchestra decided to surprise the audience by performing the original national anthem of Singapore, and then playing the version of the anthem we now sing. I was given the privilege of performing it with them. It was an incredibly proud moment for me to be able to participate in the concert in this way.
The next celebration of Singapore’s birthday that I was involved in was at the Singapore Botanical Gardens, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I performed some operatic arias, and a song by a local composer, with the Singapore Lyric Opera at the Symphony Stage. It was so much fun! I was dressed in shades of Singapore’s colours, and the stage was set with brightly hued flowers. There were thousands of people there, and the energy was electrifying!
After I returned to New York, I started my doctoral studies, and kept up a pretty busy performing schedule. First up, was my very first doctoral recital. I sang sets by Mozart, Quilter, Rossini, Ravel, and Strauss. I love singing recitals. It is such a wonderful way of connecting with the audience in an intimate setting.
A few weeks later, I performed a series of opera scenes with Stony Brook Opera for their annual Opera Scenes Gala, and in the winter, I started preparing for my very first “pants role,” Olinto in Händel’s O Come Chiare e belle, with the Stony Brook Chamber players. Olinto was also my first baroque role, and I learned so much from the coachings I received, as well as the masterclass I sang in, with the legendary Julianne Baird. I also learned baroque movements and gestures and it was such a useful tool in bringing out what Händel composed.
A couple of months later, I flew back home to perform with Orchestra of the Music Makers again. This time, we performed Beethoven’s spine tingling 9th Symphony.
The concert was held at the Esplanade, and it was a sold out concert. We decided to mark the occasion with a selfie with the audience. That made for a quite a fun photograph! After we took a selfie with them, the audience pulled out their cell phones and took a selfie with us! What a wonderful way to end the season!
Thank you for reading! Follow me on my website at www.JananiSridhar.com and social media for more updates!
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