By Abigail Lim (13S03N) and Fong Hoy Yik (13S03N)
Raffles Piano Ensemble’s annual concert, Légende was a fairytale – literally. Strung along the well-loved fairytale Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Légende saw many popular and well-established numbers in its repertoire (think the Disney Medley and Symphony No. 5, Op. 67 – I. Allegro con brio), but also made sure to include other less famous yet intriguing pieces like Méditation from Thaïs. That night, the audience was treated not only to a wide range of wondrous music played by our pianists but also a mellifluous combination of tones, textures and registers from the sounds of violin and voice as well.
The concert opened with a scene from Snow White, where the king (played by Cao Yuxin) and queen (Dionne Ng) took to the stage, drawing much laughter from the audience. The night started with a beautiful medley of two popular Disney songs, “A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes” from Cinderella (1950) and “When You Wish Upon a Star”, the opening song to Pinocchio (1940). They were performed by Lee Jia Qi and Dionne Ng, the former tickling the ivories and the latter singing about her wish to have a daughter with “skin as white as snow, lips as red as blood and hair as black as ebony”.
The magical and ethereal atmosphere of the concert continued with the charming piece Waltz from The Sleeping Beauty, performed by Yuen Wing Shan and Lee Jie Qi. However, it was the piece, Theme from Schindler’s List, performed by Huang Fengjing and guest violinist Zhang Rui that greatly moved and touched the audience, probably due to the haunting and beautiful sound of the violin.
The fairytale continued with the evil queen (Christine Tay) sending her men to kill Snow White (Yuen Wing Shan). The tension was cleverly portrayed by the intense pieces Symphony No. 5 Op. 67 – I, performed by Rosie Lim and Tan Li Ying and In the Hall of the Mountain King, performed by Lee You Jun and Dionne Ng. However, the mood soon lightened with the appearance of the seven dwarfs (Cao Yuxin, Huang Huijun, Issaac Ng, Lim Jian Heng, Lin Qing, Randy Soh and Sandra Chong). The vivacious and lighthearted pieces Scaramouche – Suite for Two Pianos, op. 165b, performed by Evangeline Chai and Zheng Tiancheng, and Military March, performed by Zhang Aidi and Fu Xin portrayed the excitable nature of the dwarfs, to the delight of the audience.
The next piece, Picture at an Exhibition – IX. The Hut on Fowl’s Legs, performed by Liu Aofei and Charmaine Yap was a great contrast to the earlier pieces as it was a more intense piece, depicting the evil Queen’s plan to kill Snow White with a poisoned apple. In the middle of the song, said evil Queen was seen walking down the stairs of Lecture theatre 2, handing out apples to amused members of the audience.
The second half of the show proceeded with the Prince kneeling over Snow White, distraught over the sight of her unconscious lover. The lights dimmed and the act went into Meditation from Thais, a soothing piece performed by Selina Tang and featuring the return of violinist Zhang Aidi, Sonata for 4 Hands, FP 8 and Salut d’Amour, performed by Mark Yeo & Lu Yu and Nathania Christy & Zou Tangsheng respectively.
The pop song What Are Words was met with rousing applause from the audience, which the singer acknowledged with a flick of the wirst and a cheeky smile. The chemistry between the pair of Lee Jia Qi and Zhou Huiwen shone through as video cameras were noticeably whipped out at various stages of the performance.
As the act entered its climax, so did the energy of the audience, who were anticipating the pivotal ‘kiss of life’ that woke the sleeping Snow White in the original fairytale. The Prince, played by Mark Yeo, bent forward towards Snow White and the audience momentarily shrieked at the impending liplock. But it never happened – Snow White leapt up from her vegetative state in a fit of disarray, and despite awakening from her slumber of her own volition, swiftly consented to marrying the Prince, inducing much awkward laughter from the audience.
Two pieces later, Légende came to an end, with the piece Rhapsody in Blue playing in the background as the cast – both actors and musicians, made their courteous bow in front of the stage. Calls of ‘Encore’ resounded, but the Ensemble graciously took their leave, but not before wishing the audience “Here’s to finding your happily ever after!”