Loke Shiuk Tung

loke 1The journey through the valley of the Conference of the Birds has not been an easy one. Like the Birds in the opera, I had to give up my comfort zones, and venture into unfamiliar territories – this is the first time I am involved in this music genre on this scale.

Before this, the most “contemporary” major work I performed was Carmina Burana. Though I was previously involved with operas such as Magic Flute, Barber of the Seville, Die Fledermaus, Marriage of Figaro, Mikado and Carmen with various conductors and orchestras, I came in this production without knowing what to expect. Electronic Opera is a new thing to me.

Working with Johan, a living composer, and seeing the opera shaped up as we “journey through the valleys”, is indeed a unique experience. The opera was not completed when we started the project! How much newer can it get? We are actually world premiering the opera.

The first few practices were mainly on discussion and analysing the plot and characters of the stories. It was like attending an English literature class. Not only does Sek Thim, the director,  build our physical strength, he also has got us involved in creating a set of movement building blocks. These building blocks are used throughout the opera.

Getting used to the contemporary “harmony” was the most challenging part for. I still remember having the urge to listen to classical operas after listening to this electronic opera for 3 minutes. Yes, I learn this contemporary piece with operas and broadway!

I am playing the roles of Valley of Knowledge and also Owl. The owl is portrayed as the wisest among the birds yet he has no knowledge of the path to the Simorgh’s palace. The story begins with Hoopoe challenging (more like tricking) the birds to go and find the Simorgh.

The birds journey through the seven valleys. There are times when they doubt themselves and the Hoopoe. Eventually they find the place and the “magic key” to open the Simorgh’s closed door.

Will we be in our feather costumes? Come and find out and join the Journey with us as we travel through the valleys this Nov 20 to Nov 22.

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