Laksa Cantata (2013/2018)

a part of 'A Singapore Trilogy' with Kopi For One and Window Shopping

Libretto: Jack Lin

Instrumentation:

voices (2): LEAH, soprano. STEPHEN, baritone/tenor 

ensemble (3): clarinet in A, violin, piano

Duration: 20'

At the beginning of the opera, Stephen makes his appearance by counting down to his wedding. He is soon confronted by his fiancée Leah, who is understandably mad at him for his outrageous idea of serving laksa at their wedding banquet! He ‘faces the music’ with Leah’s aria A Woman’s Scorned, where she vents her frustrations. In the recitative, the couple argues.

 

Laksa Aria follows, where Stephen confesses about his ardent love of laksa, and his firm intention to have it at the banquet. In the next dialogue, Leah tries to win the argument by threatening to have his future-mother-in-law stay with them in their new apartment. In an enigmatic recitative, they both appeared to be thinking out loud individually, reconsidering if they have gone too far in their silly fight and if it was going to compromise their relationship.

 

In an attempt to resolve the tension, they launch into their first musical duet Agree to Disagree. Leah then takes a step back and offers to agree to serve laksa at their wedding, while Stephen forgoes his initial idea – claiming that he’ll give up laksa for the good of their relationship. In the finale duet A New Bowl is A New Day, they sing in reconciliatory tones looking forward to their bright future ahead in matrimony.

Characters                             Premiere Cast (2013)              Cast (2018) 

LEAH                                       Rebecca Li, soprano                Ng Jingyun, soprano 

STEPHEN                                Kiat Goh, baritone                    Samuel Ng, tenor 

Instrumentation                     Ensemble (2013)                     Ensemble (2018)

Violin                                        Wu Bingling                              Lim Hao Wei

Clarinet (in A)                           Colin Tan                                  Colin Tan
Piano (and répétiteur)              Song Ziliang                             Cherie Khor

© 2020 by CHEN Zhangyi