Last weekend at the Star Vista, I found myself completely immersed in a fantastical world of gorgeous Disney princesses, evil witches and beautiful music.
Come to Singapore for its first-ever live orchestra show
This was because Disney On Classic – A Magical Night had come to Singapore for its first-ever live orchestra show. Brought here by the Metropolitan Festival Orchestra, this show makes famous Disney classics come to life through a combination of original footage from classic Disney movies, together with dramatic lighting and staging effects. So this is a truly magical experience that appeals to all age groups, from nine to 99 years old.
Explained Dr Kevin Koh, Executive Producer at the Metropolitan Festival Orchestra, “Disney on Classic straddles the worlds of both Disney and classical music and the result is a magical experience that speaks to children of all ages, from one to ninety-nine. Disney on Classic is simply a dream come true.”
An amazing experience
The show was definitely an amazing experience and I thoroughly enjoyed the combination of a full symphony orchestra, accompanied by beautiful singing and stage effects. Featuring the music from the beloved Disney classics – Snow White, Cinderella, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, The Little Mermaid, Tangled and Frozen, the show helped to release the inner child in me and especially towards the end, I unconsciously found myself tempted to sing along to the tunes too.
I thought that the cast of the eight international singers, together with the playing of key scenes from the Disney movies definitely added to the magic of the whole experience. The quality of singing was strong and rich and really helped to capture the feeling and mood of Disney, from the cheerful princesses who lifted my mood, to Ursula, the wicked sea witch in The Little Mermaid – whose singing literally gave me the chills when she came on. The costumes of the Disney princesses also matched the themes and colours of the actual movies themselves.
One part that made me laugh, was when Chris Blem appeared as the snowman Olaf, for the song In Summer, from Disney’s Frozen. While he sang very well, I just found it quite hard to picture him as the little snowman Olaf – dressed in his black suit and tie and prancing around the stage during his performance. Perhaps it may have helped, if he had been dressed in white instead…
My favourite part of the show was probably the final act, the Disney Frozen one. This was when Singapore’s very own star, nine-year-old Sasha Suhandinata, came on. She had been selected to play the part of the young Princess Anna, through a series of open auditions. And when she appeared for her solo piece of Do You Want To Be A Snowman, the audience clapped enthusiastically. I must admit that her singing was very strong, too.
Frozen’s titular song, Let It Go, was also portrayed very powerfully and I could truly feel the transformation of Elsa from the tormented princess trying to hide her powers, to a confident queen willing to embrace herself for who she was – through singer Mandy Dickson’s performance. As Let It Go is one of my favourite Disney songs, I had been particularly looking forward to this part – and it didn’t disappoint.
Special effects were magnificent
I must also say that the special effects were magnificent – especially the ones at the end of Pirates of the Caribbean segment. I was listening to the beautiful music and then all of a sudden, the lights went completely out… and I heard the sound of cannons. Then the next minute, cannon fire – in the form of mini glowing light sticks – had come raining down all over the audience. Even though we had been warned prior to this act that this would happen, I admit that I was still taken aback when it did happen. But it really helped to capture and resonate the mood that I truly had been transported to the world of Captain Jack Sparrow.
Audience added to the mood of the performance
The members of the audience also helped to add to the mood of Disney, with many dressed up in Disney costumes. I saw many young girls dressed up as Frozen’s Elsa, with some even wearing yellow wigs.
Overall I thought that this performance was spectacular and I enjoyed myself thoroughly. In fact, I found myself wishing that the night would never end – so when the performance did finish, I was secretly hoping for at least a couple of encore songs…
Besides the show itself too, I was also given a backstage tour. This really gave me some insights into the workings and goings on behind an international production. For example, we got to see where the stars enter and exit the stage. It was a bonus too, to get the opportunity to stand up on the stage itself and take pictures – looking down at the “audience”, as though we were the singers. I thought that it was quite fun that the orchestra members have stuffed toys of Disney characters on the stage too – so that they can truly encompass the mood of Disney. For example, these included a Mickey and Minnie mouse, of roughly about eight inches each.
As well, I also got to say ‘hi’ to the eight international singers and little Princess Anna, and they were all very friendly and bubbly people, even gamely posing for photos together with some of the children on the tour.
Moreover, I also found out that the stars also like to play fun pranks on each other. For example, when we were standing outside the female stars dressing room, one of the male singers – who had met us moments earlier – knocked repeatedly on the door of the female dressing room to make them open the door. When they did, we were all standing outside there – and the female singers, with their hair half done, got a shock. But they took it calmly and greeted us warmly. They even gamely posed for photos with some of us. But I suppose that is is moments like this, that makes theatre life interesting.
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