Cultural Extravaganza 2022: crossing paths with culture and creativity
The annual Cultural Extravaganza, first launched in 2017, is into its fifth run. (Photo source: Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre)

Cultural Extravaganza 2022: crossing paths with culture and creativity

Cultural Extravaganza, the marquee event of the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre, is back for its fifth instalment from 13 May to 19 Jun. This year, it’s all about “crossovers” – you can even see it embodied in the form of eye make-up on the event’s promotional materials.

Over six weeks, the festival will feature cross-disciplinary, cross-cultural, and cross-generational programmes, bringing arts groups together to highlight the many ways in which disciplines, cultures and even generations may blend.

From calligraphy and concerts to art installations, there will be countless ways to experience how Chinese Singaporean culture is represented and re-presented at the festival.

Here are some ways to cross paths with some of this year’s highlights.

1. Cross-disciplinary programmes

Seven Sisters’ Sonata

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Seven Sisters’ Sonata is part of the “Disappearing…” series, which shines a spotlight on the fading heritage of Singaporean Chinese culture.

Explore the fabled Chinese Valentine’s Day against a unique backdrop in Seven Sisters’ Sonata, where Chinese chamber music will explore one of Singapore’s disappearing traditions.

Set in Singapore’s Chinatown, the concert will take viewers through the past and present of the fast-disappearing Seven Sisters Festival.

The production is part of the “Disappearing…” series, produced by Ding Yi Music Company, which pays homage to the fading heritage of Singaporean Chinese culture and is playing at Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre Auditorium.

Book your tickets here.

Shadow Moon

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Shadow Moon is a musical theatre production that blends xinyao (a genre of Mandarin music that emerged and rose to fame in Singapore between the late 1970s to 1980s) with upbeat alternative music.

Fans of the xinyao era would recognise many of the household names in Shadow Moon. Featuring notable artists like Chen Jiaming, Eric Moo, Jimmy Ye, Lee Wei Song, and Lee Si Song, the production blends alternative music with nostalgic xinyao.

It is a musical that is based on Chinese mythical characters Chang É and Feng Meng, re-imagining the two enemies as lovers and with their genders reversed.

Directed by Trey Ho and written by Johnson Wong, it stars local artists like Bonnie Loo, Sugie Phua, Andrey Luo, Timothy Wan, and Andy Yew.

Book your tickets here.

2. Cross-cultural programmes

Butterfly Lovers

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More than six decades after it first made its premiere, Butterfly Lovers will now be re-imagined with Chinese classical dance movements.

Butterfly Lovers was dance doyenne Santha Bhaskar’s first full-length performance when it made its premiere in 1958. More than 60 years later, it will now be re-imagined with Chinese classical dance movements.

The Chinese folktale of two tragic lovers will be told from a fresh perspective and re-staged at the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre for the first time, paying tribute to the late Mrs Bhaskar for her lifelong dedication to our multi-cultural heritage.

It is choreographed by Mrs Bhaskar’s daughter, Meenakshy Bhaskar, and features music from the world-renowned Rajkumar Bharathi and local artist Neil Chua in a tapestry of cultures.

Book your tickets here.

3. Cross-generational programmes

The Forefathers Project

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The Forefathers Project is a celebration of Singapore’s diverse dialect music traditions.

The Forefathers Project will celebrate Singapore’s dialect music through innovation by reimagining the sounds from unsung Chinese music pioneers and original works inspired by the city’s diverse dialect music.

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The Forefathers Project marks an initiative by The TENG Ensemble to reimagine the possibilities of dialect music.

The lecture concert will feature interviews and learnings from first-generation masters, luthiers, and proteges from the local dialect groups’ music traditions.

Book your tickets here.

Funderland

Playful art installations will take visitors through the SCCC building in Funderland.

Funderland is an insta-worthy exhibition that will take visitors on a three-part adventure to discover tigers hidden through the SCCC building. It uses lenticular installations and optical illusions and draws inspiration from the Chinese nursery rhyme Two Tigers, arguably something every child knows, and the folktale Wu Song Fighting the Tiger.

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Visitors will be encouraged to think about how we can respond to today’s challenges through Funderland.

Through the intriguing installations, visitors are encouraged to think about how we should respond to today’s challenges. Bring your phones for this one – there are plenty of tiger-inspired artworks on the building facade, concourse, and roof garden that are snap-worthy.

(Photos: Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre)

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