Tuesday, May 18, 2004


I've been hit by the flu bug, no thanks to the influenza vaccine forced on me last October. With the bad weather, hazy skies and major bug-spreading going on right now, PLUS my recent rotation to the paeds ER, small wonder I've been hit. And hit bad.

Started off with a fuzzy throat, then escalated to hoarseness, a low-grade fever and dry cough, before culminating in a near-complete loss of voice this morning. I'm currently down to a whisper / croak, and will be on medical leave till tomorrow. My deepest apologies to the standby guys if they're called down. I would've gone to work if I could. But there's no way I can see patients if they can't even hear me. :(

Anyhow, I may be sick, but I'm far from depressed about it. Had a terrific Monday, thanks to a well-timed day off:

LOTR Exhibition at the Singapore Science Centre

Xena asked if it's worth the $20 admission ticket. My reply: depends on what you consider "worth the money". I got some discount, but even if I'd paid the full price, I have absolutely zero regret. First of all, it is the exhibition's only stop in Asia, in between London and Boston. We're also fortunate enough to be the first venue featuring props from all 3 films.

I took 2 hours to get through everything -- mostly displays of costumes and various accessories like weapons, crowns, rings; some life-size cave troll / goblin / Treebeard models. Each section is accompanied by video presentations that offer in-depth explanations. There's also a booth where you will experience first-hand the camera gimmicks employed in creating the effects responsible for shrinking the likes of Elijah Wood to hobbit proportions.

My favourites are definitely the costumes: Gandalf, Saruman, Arwen, Legolas ( wow, this one is really gorgeous ), Galadriel ( by far the most beautiful ) and Aragorn. I almost freaked out when I read that this is the same one Viggo Mortensen wore throughout the trilogy -- he even washed and mended it himself, thus giving it a very "lived in", slightly tattered look. Like the others, this outfit was protected by a plastic case, but only up till shoulder level. And guess what, I managed to tip-toe and touch its left sleeve. :) Sorry, you just CANNOT put something Mortensen wore right in front of me and expect me to walk off without copping a feel. That put a smile on my face for the rest of the day. :D

I can confidently say that LOTR fans will not be disappointed. A friend who accompanied me is a faithful follower of the series, and was duly impressed. The intricacy of the designs, and sheer ingenuity of the many visual effects, are enough to make you gawk. It was also a nice time to reminisce about my recent NZ trip, whenever filming locations were mentioned and I realized I'd been there. :)

My only complaint is the merchandise store, which sadly didn't stock up on sold-out items like movie posters, mugs and other popular paraphernalia. Thank goodness my friend, who was in NZ last year as well, was kind enough to help buy me an Aragorn T-shirt before returning to Singapore. I really treasure that!

The Ten Tenors Concert @ the Esplanade Theatre

Official website

List of the Tenors

To top off an already excellent day, my smile grew even larger when the guys stepped onto the Singapore stage yet again in the space of just 9 months. After charming the socks off local audiences last August, they graced us with their good-humoured antics once more, playing to a packed hall and an even more appreciative crowd ( in comparison with last year's ). Lots more cat-calling, whistling, squealing, and a unanimous standing ovation after the 3rd encore.

This is my first time in the larger theatre ( I've always attended shows in the smaller concert hall ), and I found the acoustics slightly flawed. The tenors definitely sounded better last year, when they gave a one-night show in the less expansive concert hall. No fault of theirs, believe me. Their voices remain exceptional in tone and control, never wavering even when they're engaged in disco moves, country square dances, rock-star head-banging or cabaret-style high-kicking. The repertoire isn't much different from 2003's, but I'm not complaining! I never tire of their classic covers of Bohemian Rhapsody, Good Vibrations, Dancing Queen, "opera without the boring bits", Rawhide, Love Is In The Air, and the biggest crowd pleaser -- Bee Gees songs.

A few subtle differences this time round: more singing, less banter. I didn't recognize some of the new pieces, and the opera / Australian medley segments had maybe 1 or 2 songs missing.

Still, I just adore these guys, and watching them "live" is always the experience of a lifetime. Consummate performers oozing charm, confidence and loads of rhythm, you'd have to be a corpse in order to NOT enjoy yourself.

Will they be back in 2005? I sure hope so!

Post-Show Surprise

I'm trying to remember if they had this the last time, but I don't think so.
Last night, the tenors were accomodating enough to hang around after the concert to sign autographs and pose for photos in the foyer. Of course, their CDs were being snapped up at a nearby counter, after which you can join a queue and get the opportunity to get every single member's signature and mug shot.

It was a thrilling experience for me, but imagine my amusement when I witnessed middle-aged / elderly ladies turning into groupies as well. :P The woman just before me, who looked like she was in her late 50s or early 60s, kept snapping pictures of the tenors and bantering with them unreservedly, and they returned in kind, striking various side-splitting poses for us ( yep, I took advantage of the situation and clicked away, haha! ). They were so friendly and sweet, with each guy making sure he looked you straight in the eye, before beaming a bright, sincere smile, giving a warm greeting then thanking you for coming.

I didn't want to hold up the line, so I couldn't pose with all of them. However, I'm delighted that I managed to grab my favourite of the lot. Here's his profile:

Tod from The Ten Tenors

I already noticed that around 3 or 4 of the tenors are new, so to speak. Tod is one of them, 'cos honestly, if he'd been around last year, I would've remembered. :) I describe him as a shaggy-haired blonde -- a Rod Stewart look -- but with a much more pleasant voice. A fixture in the 2nd-from-right position on-stage, he takes the lead in songs like Volare, Burn For You and the opening verse to Bohemian Rhapsody. I also heard him sing opera a little, to great effect. He has a very lovable personality, and will no doubt be easily remembered as "the guy who did those pirouettes". In person, he is ( in my opinion at least ) the nicest of the lot, and much better-looking. I was a little nervous when it was my turn to get his autograph, but he put me at ease immediately, flashing a gorgeous smile and talking to me a little as he scribbled his name. I'd already told my friend ( who was gamely helping me snap pictures as I made my way down the line ) that Tod was my favourite and I HAD to get a photo with him, but Tod was very observant, and spotted my friend focussing for a shot, after which he actually said, "Let's pose for a proper one." and roped in 2 other guys ( the younger, cuter ones, heh heh ) for a group pic. Tod leaned in on my right, another was behind me, and the one on my left ( I have to develop the photo in order to identify him, 'cos everything went by so fast! ) even plastered himself to me, and according to my mom, put his cheek right next to mine. Haha! That was a real icing on the cake!

All I can say is, the Ten Tenors have oodles of talent, and will surely win the world over someday. Thanks, guys, for making me forget my flu for 2 whole hours, and for being so unbelievably nice. I just hope I didn't pass any of you my potent virus. :)

More Troy

I just can't get enough of this film!

*Spoilers alert, as usual*

Cool scenes ( both of which involve Brad Pitt, hmm )

1. When Achilles leaps off the ground and swoops down on Sparta's chosen warrior, ending his life with one well-aimed blow to the right shoulder. Thereafter, he faces Sparta's troops, yelling arrogantly, "Is there NO-ONE ELSE?!"

2. When Achilles rides up to the gates of Troy, then screams Hector's name repeatedly. In between, he paces the ground like a hungry lion, his breath heavy with rage and impatience. Woo. :)

Right then, I have to go eat lunch now. More later. Man, my throat hurts.

No comments: