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Thread: Singers at IOC session

  1. #1
    Senior Member Ansel's Avatar
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    Default Singers at IOC session

    Just read the article in ST page 31 today regarding the criticisms against the 3 vocalists who did a rendition of the Olympic Anthem.

    Does anyone ever wonder why, or who's to blame for the horrible performance?

    I gathered that the popular opinion was that the singers screwed up. They were amateurs. They didn't have enough time to practise. They were not up to the mark. Bad choice on the part of the organisers to have selected them.

    I beg to differ.

    I believe the trio were perfectly competent vocalists. I believe they were selected, either by recommendation and/or audition for their parts, and they are certainly not newbie singers. Although they are amateurs, ie, not making a living as a professional singer, that does not mean they lack singing prowess or talent in any way. They are experienced vocalists with a track record.

    But how do you explain the poor performance on that fateful day?

    I strongly believe it was because they could not hear themselves and/or the music clearly or loudly enough.

    Remember, the venue was not a concert hall. It was some function hall in Raffles City converted to a conference venue, with sound re-enforcement emphasising on speech delivery and not live musical performance. The singers' performance may have been an afterthought. Thus, stage sound monitors were probably not included as required equipment.

    You cannot sing properly if you cannot hear yourself and the music clearly and loudly. The organisers could have given the vocalists in-ear monitors, or perhaps headsets, the kind rock singers sometimes wear on their heads with a small boom microphone sticking out towards their mouth, which serve both as a microphone and a monitor. Perhaps the organisers thought the performers' operatic attire wouldn't go well with the headsets. But they should have been given either floor standing stage monitors or in-ear (earbud) monitors instead.

    But these guys are classical/operatic vocalists, you may say, they are used to performing without mics or monitors. Well, if you put them in Victoria Concert Hall or even Esplanade Concert Hall, they probably would have done an excellent job without microphones and monitors. This is because these halls were purpose build for such performances with their acoustics optimised for un-amplified musical performance be it instruments or voices. The performers can hear themselves without monitors.

    So in effect, I would like to shift the blame on the organisers or whoever was in charge of the sound system during this event. It was not the singers fault.

    But then, it is the popular opinion that the organisers (Singapore) did a good job overall for staging this event, so I guess we can forgive them for one small glitch, can't we?

    Disclaimer: What I have written is based solely on what I read and observed in the papers and TV. I was not physically present at the venue and so cannot ascertain whether monitors were present or not. I only felt sorry for the singers for bearing the brunt of the blame for a bad impression given to the world, which may be caused by no fault of theirs.
    Last edited by Ansel; 15th July 2005 at 01:00 PM.

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ansel
    Just read the article in ST page 31 today regarding the criticisms against the 3 vocalists who did a rendition of the Olympic Anthem.

    Does anyone ever wonder why, or who's to blame for the horrible performance?

    I gathered that the popular opinion was that the singers screwed up. They were amateurs. They didn't have enough time to practise. They were not up to the mark. Bad choice on the part of the organisers to have selected them.

    I beg to differ.

    I believe the trio were perfectly competent vocalists. I believe they were selected, either by recommendation and/or audition for their parts, and they are certainly not newbie singers. Although they are amateurs, ie, not making a living as a professional singer, that does not mean they lack singing prowess or talent in any way. They are experienced vocalists with a track record.

    But how do you explain the poor performance on that fateful day?

    I strongly believe it was because they could not hear themselves and/or the music clearly or loudly enough.

    Remember, the venue was not a concert hall. It was some function hall in Raffles City converted to a conference venue, with sound re-enforcement emphasising on speech delivery and not live musical performance. The singers' performance may have been an afterthought. Thus, stage sound monitors were probably not included as required equipment.

    You cannot sing properly if you cannot hear yourself and the music clearly and loudly. The organisers could have given the vocalists in-ear monitors, or perhaps headsets, the kind rock singers sometimes wear on their heads with a small boom microphone sticking out towards their mouth, which serve both as a microphone and a monitor. Perhaps the organisers thought the performers' operatic attire wouldn't go well with the headsets. But they should have been given either floor standing stage monitors or in-ear (earbud) monitors instead.

    But these guys are classical/operatic vocalists, you may say, they are used to performing without mics or monitors. Well, if you put them in Victoria Concert Hall or even Esplanade Concert Hall, they probably would have done an excellent job without microphones and monitors. This is because these halls were purpose build for such performances with their acoustics optimised for un-amplified musical performance be it instruments or voices. The performers can hear themselves without monitors.

    So in effect, I would like to shift the blame on the organisers or whoever was in charge of the sound system during this event. It was not the singers fault.

    But then, it is the popular opinion that the organisers (Singapore) did a good job overall for staging this event, so I guess we can forgive them for one small glitch, can't we?

    Disclaimer: What I have written is based solely on what I read and observed in the papers and TV. I was not physically present at the venue and so cannot ascertain whether monitors were present or not. I only felt sorry for the singers for bearing the brunt of the blame for a bad impression given to the world, which may be caused by no fault of theirs.
    they were so close to each other, and singing so loudly that it is impossible not to hear each other. i put the majority of blame for a terrible performance on the singers. not on the organisers. i doubt if the singers had put in enough practice, singing together, blending the voices well together. practice makes perfect. lack of practice spells disaster.
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    uh, but why write about it out of the blue? i totally missed the ioc event coverage...

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by sehsuan
    uh, but why write about it out of the blue? i totally missed the ioc event coverage...
    The criticisms is done sometime back by other newpaper. Today's article is from the reporter's alternative view regarding the singers.

    Anyway... I dare say majority of the people don't appreciate this kind of music (classical/opera etc) so sure give bad review about it.

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    Senior Member Ansel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drudkh
    so who are the 3 heroes?
    Today they aren't heroes. They are martyrs.

    I have been wanting to write this for a while. Today's ST article just reminded me I should write it today.

    Anyway, the Trio are:

    KHOR AI MING

    A graduate from Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, Singapore, Ai Ming is a holder of Fellowship in Voice (FTCL), and Licentiate in both Voice and Piano (LTCL) from Trinity College of London, UK.

    SATSUKI NAGATOME

    Born in Tokyo, Japan, Satsuki began performing as a member of NHK Tokyo Broadcasting Children’s Chorus at the age of seven. In Singapore, Satsuki has performed in several opera productions as a member of the Singapore Lyric Opera in 2001 and 2002.

    WILLIAM LIM

    Singapore-born, William Lim, studied under Michael Rippon at The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, Rudolf Pierney at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and Patrick McGuigan at the Royal Northern College of Music. He was awarded the Silver Rose Award at the Rosa Ponselle International Voice Competition, New York.

    These are highly skilled, experienced, talented vocalists.

    Read more about them here:

    http://www.singapore2005ioc.org.sg/M...of+singers.htm

    http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stori...155492/1/.html
    Last edited by Ansel; 15th July 2005 at 03:09 PM.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by sehsuan
    uh, but why write about it out of the blue? i totally missed the ioc event coverage...
    how come missed out.... u are so hyped up abt it b4...
    Last edited by oeyvind; 15th July 2005 at 06:33 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Snow_One
    The criticisms is done sometime back by other newpaper. Today's article is from the reporter's alternative view regarding the singers.

    Anyway... I dare say majority of the people don't appreciate this kind of music (classical/opera etc) so sure give bad review about it.
    I m classical music lover .... n have to admit their perfomances is "lack of coordination" and seems they just sing it loud...... may be better suggest a choir for this kind of event. More grand ....

  8. #8
    Senior Member Hommie's Avatar
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    Very subjective....

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    This is just a case of those western imperialists who always think that only the west can do a better job ..... and is definately racists in nature. Has the camera not focus too much on the singers but on the IOC videos while they were singing, then I dont think they will condemn the singing too much.
    Do you think those commentators who bad mouth know anything about Greek?
    We should be proud of our singers.
    always the Light, .... always.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Ansel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Canonised
    This is just a case of those western imperialists who always think that only the west can do a better job ..... and is definately racists in nature. Has the camera not focus too much on the singers but on the IOC videos while they were singing, then I dont think they will condemn the singing too much.
    Do you think those commentators who bad mouth know anything about Greek?
    We should be proud of our singers.
    Ah.....to be honest...the singing *was* bad, doesn't matter what you were looking at. But, what I was trying to say was that it probably wasn't all the singers' fault. The event organisers, more specifically, the sound system provider, were probably the more guilty ones.

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    Quote Originally Posted by oeyvind
    how come missed out.... u are so hyped up abt it b4...
    bo eng leh. too much exercise a day == tired and unable to keep track of news. i still have a 2 foot pile of ST still unread! *gulp!*

  12. #12

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    Those who had done live singing performances either in a choir or a cappella (i.e. group settings) will understand the difficulties of singing in a badly-equipped venue.

    I've not caught the IOC Opening Ceremony peformance, but if everything Ansel has pointed out is true, then the organisers must bear some responsibility of the poor performance.

    Unless the performers are standing in a circle facing each other, chances are they are unlikely to be able to hear each other's voices without some kind of monitors in that setting because they would be projecting their voices outwards to the audience, not to each other.

    We don't know how long have the singers have practiced together, so I can't really say that 100% of the blame goes to having a badly-equipped venue. However, this being an international event, I believe they would have put a significant amount of effort practicing together to give the world a wonderful performance.

    As with any fault, there are multiple points of failure. But to put most of the blame to the performers is definitely unfair too.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ah Pao
    Those who had done live singing performances either in a choir or a cappella (i.e. group settings) will understand the difficulties of singing in a badly-equipped venue.

    I've not caught the IOC Opening Ceremony peformance, but if everything Ansel has pointed out is true, then the organisers must bear some responsibility of the poor performance.

    Unless the performers are standing in a circle facing each other, chances are they are unlikely to be able to hear each other's voices without some kind of monitors in that setting because they would be projecting their voices outwards to the audience, not to each other.

    We don't know how long have the singers have practiced together, so I can't really say that 100% of the blame goes to having a badly-equipped venue. However, this being an international event, I believe they would have put a significant amount of effort practicing together to give the world a wonderful performance.

    As with any fault, there are multiple points of failure. But to put most of the blame to the performers is definitely unfair too.
    thorough sound checks would have been carried out on the stage during the full dress rehearsal as well as before the perfomance itself. if the singers could not hear themselves/each other/music clearly, the sound levels would have been rectified by the sound engineers there and then. frankly i find it quite amazing to read the suggestion in this thread that for an event of such great international exposure for singapore, the three hand-picked singers were included in the program as an 'afterthought'.

    it's more plausible that at least one of the singers had an off day (which happens to the best of singers, e.g. luciano pavarotti), or they simply did not practice together enough.
    Last edited by zaren; 17th July 2005 at 11:32 PM.
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  14. #14

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    It is quite nerve-racking, to say actually. In a choir, it will not be obvious to go out of tune. The vocalists had to curb with a foreign language, a highly classical piece of tune and I should say, worst of all, an international audience of leaders, sportsmen, and celebrities. Of course, all eyes on them and we expect an excellent execution, but its just turn me off when I heard the anthem. Was really looking forward for the anthem, having been an anthem/hymn enthusiast for years myself.

    Just based on their resume itself, they are among the best you can pick to take this job that most probably, not many wants in Singapore. In addition, I agree with that the venue was not suitable for singing at all. Ask a person who is nearly deaf to sing, you will know how it sounds like.

    When you want to hear yourself while singing, your natural instinct tells you to raise your voice. Of course, not sure what they actually do professionally, but that appears what they did, and of course, the worst one could expect. From my point of view, the female vocalists seemed to overshadow the male vocalist by too much a margin, and for such, the rendition was disastrous.

    Nonetheless, there are no questions of their qualifications at all. Its just the wrong decision at a wrong time to bring them unprepared, back to stage for the second time. They are really pleasing at the first performance.
    Last edited by Slivester; 17th July 2005 at 11:34 PM.

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