Reminiscing “Fences” by OperaViva
History has always been a fascination to me, but the local history is never as enchanting and spell-binding than the histories of our forefathers and ancestors from China, India, Europe and the Borneo region. OperaViva’s “Fences” is a riveting performance for the latent Operatic Baroque scene in Singapore. When I watched “Fences”, it was as though I feel an immediate connection to the days of my grandparents. When this should strike a chord in them during those tumultuous days. Personally, my grandmother was one who forsake Malaysia and moved on in Singapore during the merging and separation. But I could never relate to it.
Where the history lessons and textbooks fail, there gather two bespoke creative minds, Robert Yeo and John Sharpley. With diligence and passion, they release contemporary art in form of Baroque and Opera for the modern generation of youths. “Fences” fills one’s heart with the joy of music, enriching experience of the past which seemed closer to life itself.
True to life, Singapore should continue to learn lessons from its past, that our progress and growth could only persevere when we disregard notions of hate and segregation. Humanity itself is centered on love, not hate, not racial purity nor setting fences in our hearts to bar ideas that are displeasing or are not in our personal favour. As sung by Steven Lee in Act 2 of “Fences”, “My heart is unfenced. Tak’ada pagar di hati” (Malay for there are no fences in my heart.) Singaporean communities should learn to keep our hearts unfenced, and embrace the difference in everyone.
Indeed, “Fences” is a promising opera with intricate Asian culture and characters will develop a passion for early and contemporary opera in youths!