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Esplanade celebrates 10 years of artful existence
Dr Chitra Krishnakumar  Art and Culture / Singapore
Monday, 05 Nov 2012, 10:50 pm | comments

Samarpanam- Memories from the Silver Screen, programme of 14 Oct at the Esplanade Concert Hall saw a rich gathering of Singapore’s Tamil music scene’s favourite artistes; artistes from Tamil radio programmes, live shows and television shows as far back as the early days of Singapore Broadcasting Corporation take the stage. For over 2 hours, 20 over  singers and  around 20 musicians kept the audience under their spell as the auditorium resonated with their rendering of popular evergreen Tamil movie songs from the 1960s to 1990s. 

Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay commemorates its 10th anniversary this year, 2012, with the theme Celebrating Life – The best of the Human Spirit through the Arts. Esplanade opened its doors to the arts a decade ago on 12th October 2002. The weekend from 11th to 14th, Birthday celebrations, saw a myriad of performances from various genres of dance, music, theatre and visual arts by Singapore’s own artistes.  Programmes paying tribute to those who have built the art scene of Singapore, which  included a concert that paid tribute to the composer of Singapore’s National Anthem, Zubir Said and also inviting artistes to share their artistic journey.

Interestingly the year’s programmes celebrate 17 key values that form an intrinsic part of our lives; the various festivals / series highlight each value. The values being service, love, respect, passion, joy, gratitude, courage, peace, faith, truth, fun, trust, friendship, harmony, grace, home and hope. For example da:ns festival (19-28 Oct) on Love, Kalaa Utsavam-Indian festival of Arts (23 Nov to 2 Dec)  on Passion and so on. Samarpanam event was on Service.

Samarpanam                                              Photo credits:  Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay


Asked what was specially done as part of the celebration Ms Asha Popatlal, familiar to us as the popular news reporter from Media Corps, presently Director of Marketing Communications at Esplanade Co. Ltd, explained, “The four day weekend anniversary celebration, titled Dedicated to You, featured  11 productions which were new productions specially commissioned for Esplanade’s 10th Anniversary Weekend.

We also launched a project titled Tribute, which celebrates contributions to the arts ecosystem in Singapore – from art administrators, to teachers, impresarios and more. Put together after extensive interviews with these inspiring individuals ( 170), their stories  appear on a special website, which was launched with a Visual Arts exhibition running from 12 October right through to 31 December at the centre. We plan to continue building upon this list and adding more such individuals to the website, even after the exhibition ends, so that it can become a national resource that people can access freely.

 As the nation approaches its 50th year of independence, it’s important to not just acknowledge those who have contributed to the arts in the past but also do something that will help us carry this forward for the next generation. Anniversary celebration is trying to achieve this.”

Sharing his experience Mr Radha Vijayan (multi –instrumentalist, composer, conductor, instructor ) one of the two music directors of the Samarpanam event  stated, “ The concept was proposed by Ms Rajeswari Ramachandran of Esplanade …it was a great teamwork and due credit has to be given to Md Raffee and Md Noor who did most of the spade work in the choice of songs and artistes…we had around 10 rehearsals…each of us were dedicated  various sections I handled the 60s and 70s repertoire and Md Raffee handled the 80s and 90s. Md Noor was in charge of the orchestral communication, fixing up studios for rehearsals etc… on stage I was enjoying the show apart from performing. It was a great opportunity and a wonderful experience, one memorable event in my career.”

Singapore’s vibrant art and culture scenario replete with diversity and local flavours continues to evolve showcasing the finest productions, in the process raising art appreciation.

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