Kuala Lumpur, 24 August 2009 - The sweet sounds of opera music was heard at UCSI University's Blue Ocean Strategy Hall last night, as singers from the OperaPlus and Flanders Opera Studio of Belgium graced the stage. Performers from Malaysia, Belgium, Italy, Thailand and the United Kingdom came together to "wow" the international and local crowd. Among those in the audience were H.E. Boyd McCleary, the British High Commissioner and H.E. Frank Van de Craen, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Belgium and En. Mohamed Juhari Shaarani, Director General of Istana Budaya.Pro Musica, which means "in favour of music" is an ensemble of outstanding singers from the Flanders Opera Studio of Belgium who travel the world to perform for the international audience. Their appearance at UCSI University marks the third and final performance in Malaysia after performing in Penang and Ipoh earlier this month. Their next performance will be in Singapore.
The main cast of the opera ensemble were singers Inês Madeira (Portugal), Enrico Casari (Italy), Andrew Ashwin (United Kingdom) and Sabine Conzem (Belgium). Also performing with them were opera singers from Thailand who were trained under OperaPlus. They were accompanied on the piano by Hein Boterberg and part-time UCSI University School of Music lecturer, Geneviene Wong Jen-Pei. The production was under the artistic direction of Mr. Ronny Lauwers, a singing coach as well as a professor at the Brussels Royal Conservatory of Music, together with international vocal teacher, Ms. Loh Siew Tuan. The concert also featured a special interlude performance by Malaysia's own international dance maestro, Ramli Ibrahim and the Sutra Dancers together with soprano Sabine Conzen.
Ms. Loh was responsible for mooting the idea for OperaPlus, an independent training centre dedicated to assisting young singers in the advancement of their vocal, musical and drama capabilities. Ms. Loh has voiced her enthusiasm to collaborate with UCSI University's School of Music to train and coach students who are majoring in classical music (vocals) at the University in the near future.The Pro Musica concert is UCSI University's inaugural Music Maestro Annual Concert, a yearly event which aims to bring world class musical performances from around the world to Malaysia. This effort marks the University's vast commitment towards expanding the music industry in Malaysia by letting its students, staff, graduates and the public witness world renowned music performances.The entire production was accompanied by the newly-acquired Steinway piano which the University purchased for future musical events at the acoustically-refined Blue Ocean Strategy Hall. Acknowledged by institutions such as Yale School of Music and the Julliard School as one of the world's finest pianos, this instrument is a major addition to the School's facilities, and will play a significant role in the development of UCSI University's postgraduate music programmes.Datuk Seri Lim Chong Keat, the cultural advisor for the Pro Musica concert, has lauded the concert at the UCSI University Kuala Lumpur Campus as the best among the three that they have had in Malaysia. "The reception at UCSI University has been tremendous, and this encouraged the performers to give their best." One of the performers, Inês Madeira concurs with this. "It was great to see such a receptive audience, and seeing the packed hall really boosted our enthusiasm to perform better."Many among the audience were also music students of UCSI University. One of them was Oskar Musaev (Uzbekistan) who is majoring in vocals, he said, "I hope one day to be of the caliber that I have seen tonight, and it's great for the University to organise such events to expose us to international standard concerts such as Pro Musica."Datuk Seri Lim Chong Keat (far left), Ms. Loh Siew Tuan (far right), and Mr. Ronny Lauwers (second row, sixth from right) in a group photo with the performers and music coaches of Pro Musica 2009More photos of the event can be found at here.Other related articles: