Window Shopping (2014)

a part of 'A Singapore Trilogy' with Kopi For One and Laksa Cantata

Librettist: Jack Lin

Instrumentation:

voices (2): WOMAN, soprano/mezzo-soprano. GIRL, soprano 

ensemble (5): flute, clarinet in Bb, violin, violoncello, piano

Note: Piano-Vocal version available for rehearsal and performance, contact us for more information.

Duration: 20'

At a boutique shoe shop set in the present day, the scene begins with a woman in her thirties wandering into the shop (Prelude). She takes her time to browse through the shop with a sense of nostalgia and reminisces her visit to the same store many years ago, perhaps in déjà vu. Each pair of heels in the shoe boutique reminds her of her past, and she laments to herself (A Woman’s Lament). Whilst she immerses in her memories of youthful folly, a girl enters the shop full of excitement announces that it is Time to Shop! while the Woman sings with regret in the background. As if on a shopping spree, the Girl goes on to portray the carefree shopaholic in Shopping Aria.

The woman and the girl seem to be unaware of each other’s presence, as they browse through the shop, and eventually both arrive at a blue pair of shoes. This special pair of heels has both women transfixed; one is teeming with excitement, and the other is simply overwhelmed by memories. The Woman expresses her regrets about her past, where ‘Every sole has a story . . . but they are always blinded by the ground’ while the Girl looks forward to a wonderful future ahead where ‘each sole (soul) has a new story to tell!’

As the opera ends (Ending), they reflect through simultaneous spoken lines. The Woman laments about her past in self-reflection whilst the Girl looks forward to her unknown but bright future. It is left open to the audience to interpret whether they are simply two different characters or the same person separated through time. The opera concludes open-endedly, without either character making any purchase.

Performances:

Year         Girl                                        Woman                                  Location                   Ensemble 

2014        Cherie Tse (SIN)                     Akiko Otao (JP/USA/SIN)      Singapore                  Chamber.Sounds

2015        Chloe Lam (HK)                     Stefanie Quintin (PH)             Hong Kong                Hong Kong New Music Ensemble

2016        Akiko Otao (JP/USA/SIN)       Angela Hodgins (USA)          Singapore                  L'arietta (piano)

2016        Akiko Otao (JP/USA/SIN)       Angela Hodgins (USA)          Singapore                  L'arietta (piano)

2016        Akiko Otao (JP/USA/SIN)       Angela Hodgins (USA)          Singapore                  L'arietta (piano)

2018        Phoebe Chee (SIN)               Felicia Teo (MY/SIN)               Singapore                  L'arietta, A Singapore Trilogy  

2019        Pauline Arejola (PH)              Stefanie Quintin (PH)              Philippines                 Ensemble Ripieno, PH

2020        Akiko Otao (JP/USA/SIN)      Akiko Otao (JP/USA/SIN)        Singapore                  L’arietta, Studio Recording 

2020        Phoebe Chee (SIN)               NA                                           Singapore                  L'arietta, Short Film (piano)

© 2020 by CHEN Zhangyi