New opera songs about frontline warriors in Singapore
Gratitude goes a long way, especially in tough times. Over the past few months, there has been an outpouring of appreciation and support for frontline warriors fighting the spread of COVID-19. Homegrown non-profit chamber opera company, Spot Pocket Opera Theatre (SPOT), is among those who have stepped forward to pay tribute to frontline workers, albeit with a difference.
It is launching The Silent Front – Stories Around Us, a weekly video series that spotlights the personal struggles and experiences of frontline heroes during the pandemic. Each video will feature interviews with frontline heroes about the challenges they face, interspersed with performances by singers and musicians of classical music pieces that respond to what the interviewees share. The series unfolds over four weeks, starting 8 August 2020.
SPOT’s managing director Evelyn Ang says the project is not meant to be just a gift for frontline personnel; it is also about giving them a voice and platform for their stories to be heard.
Pulling together the project, however, was more challenging than expected. Ang says: “It takes a village to raise a child, and similarly, it took an entire kampung to bring a song to life.” The team had to reach out to a wide network of friends and acquaintances to find frontline warriors who were willing to be interviewed as many of them preferred to remain “silent”.
When they did share, however, their stories were inspiring. The most memorable story, so far, Ang says, is of how the boss of a local business did his best to retain all his staff despite being hit by the pandemic, placing the well-being and livelihood of his staff as a priority over business profits..
Ang adds that it also hopes the series will chip away at the perception of “classical music as being exclusive, hard to understand and appreciate.” and instead highlight how personal, intimate and enjoyable classical music can be.