Featuring both a “towkay” and a “chio bu”

Lengthy, overdrawn opera shows can be quite a chore to watch; especially when they’re performed in a foreign language. Here to rectify this problem is not-for-profit arts society The Arts Place, with a classic Italian opera turned Singaporean, thanks to the incorporation of our colloquial language.

This Oct 19-20, catch the premiere of the Singaporean version of Don Pasquale at the Victoria Concert Hall, and expect a lively, light-hearted operatic affair with a local twist.

In the Singaporean Don Pasquale, the general premise of the iconic, early 18th century Italian opera remains, wherein a young couple in love seeks to thwart the inappropriate plans of a pompous old man who plans to marry the girl himself.

But unlike the original piece, the titular character, played by Taiwanese performer Ming-Mou Hsieh, will be a Singlish speaking “towkay” rather than an elderly bachelor; while the female protagonist Norina is a “chio bu”, to be played by local opera singer Teng Xiang Ting.

And although there’ll still be a bel canto repertoire, the recitatives will be replaced with English and Singlish, plus some spouts of local dialects to inject humour.

A bicentennial tribute to our home country, this production also marks the first-ever opera staging by The Arts Place; which might seem a little risky, but we have no doubt the show will be funny, interesting and relatable.


Don Pasquale will show at the Victoria Concert Hall from Oct 19-20. More information available here.