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.