An Innovative Producer

Learn how Melissa has been challenging performance norms to reach newer and younger audiences around the world

Production Philosophy

"There’s nothing like witnessing up close the power of the human voice in its unfiltered, unamplified form.  As venues ballooned in size and capacity, the audience’s connection with the voice has sadly diminished and audiences increasingly alienated through misconceptions about opera as an art form and the classically trained voice as the medium.  

 

I choose projects which challenge those misconceptions by putting artists and their voices up close and personal with audiences.  Oftentimes, we break down the “fourth wall” of the theatre - removing the boundary of the proscenium, or framing, which separates the artist from the audience - to do this.  That is merely a means.  

 

My end goal is to let audiences judge for themselves when they experience the artistry and vulnerabilities of the classical voice and its repertoire whether they still possess the power to move the spirit, touch the soul, and inspire the heart.  I say they do."


- Melissa Chan d'Estrella

Past Production Projects:

Coming Soon in 2020-2021: Music Commission & Performance Showcase

Stay tuned for our music commission and virtual performance showcase to accompany the international book tour of

Tony Estrella's fiction novel Comatose.

About the book:

Comatose follows the lives of four strangers who are trying to cheat death. On the surface, these people - a famous Hollywood director suffering from terminal brain cancer, a budding scientist in Artificial Intelligence whose honeymoon tragically ended with a freak plane accident, an angry orphan who lost her closest family to a tragic motorcycle accident, and the leading medical expert in treating comatose patients – appear to have nothing in common.

 

However, once they independently uncover a link between lucid dreaming and comas, their lives start to intersect. They uncover astounding opportunities to ease individual suffering and pain and ultimately careen forward into a life-threatening race for survival and supremacy against each other.

World First Collaborative Book & Music Event

In a successful world first collaboration in Singapore, Melissa partnered with fiction novelist Tony Estrella to bring a new dimension to the traditional book talk event.

Through music curated from the classical to modern cabaret repertoire, Melissa painted a soundscape to stir the imagination around characters, themes, and settings in the novel while sharing insights about her creative process. 

 

The series was presented by TALIOSSA Productions at Shangri-La Hotel in Singapore in 2019.

About the novel:

Comatose follows the lives of four strangers who are trying to cheat death. On the surface, these people - a famous Hollywood director suffering from terminal brain cancer, a budding scientist in Artificial Intelligence whose honeymoon tragically ended with a freak plane accident, an angry orphan who lost her closest family to a tragic motorcycle accident, and the leading medical expert in treating comatose patients – appear to have nothing in common.

 

However, once they independently uncover a link between lucid dreaming and comas, their lives start to intersect. They uncover astounding opportunities to ease individual suffering and pain and ultimately careen forward into a life-threatening race for survival and supremacy against each other.

"New York State of Mind" 
- a solo cabaret show

Independently conceptualised venue-appropriate theme to demonstrate that art song, opera, Western and Chinese cabaret, and contemporary works can be relevant to an audience that is new to the repertoire.  The show was presented by Theatre Lounge Café, an intimate venue in Kuala Lumpur managed by Dama Orchestra, Malaysia and was sold out for all 3 nights.

PRESS RELEASE:

Theatre Lounge Café Presents “New York State of Mind”

by returning Malaysian artist Melissa Chan


LONDON and KUALA LUMPUR (13 October 2014):  Theatre Lounge Café’s music theatre series is presenting the KL debut for Melissa Chan’s new program “New York State of Mind.”  This musical cabaret show, which runs for three nights starting 31 October marks the debut of Melissa Chan in her hometown after spending 23 years living and traveling in over 40 countries and performing in Opera and Cabaret shows in leading artistic centres including New York, London, Venice, and Singapore.  Melissa Chan’s program combines musical styles of a classical mezzo-soprano with traditional Chinese and more contemporary music from the 1950’s through 2014. 


“New York is more than bright lights and big city.  It’s about people creating deep connections despite their differences that resonates with the celebration of diversity that I grew up with in Ipoh and KL,” said Melissa Chan.  “I’m delighted that I can bring to life how this vibrant little village called New York has captivated me in the same way it has drawn leading artists from afar who made New York their home, including Leonard Bernstein, Maria Callas, and Kurt Weill.”

"Opera Mixer" Series

Independently conceptualised and produced the “Opera Mixer” series - an innovative "opera 101" concert-lecture concept to introduce new curious audiences to opera in intimate salon settings that occasionally feature BYOB (bring-your-own-beverage) arrangements.  


The series was presented by OPERAVIVA Singapore at The Arts House in Singapore annually from 2016 to 2018.

PRESS RELEASE:

Opera Viva Returns with: OperaMIXER: THE ITALIAN EDITION


SINGAPORE (1st October 2017): Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and imagine yourself in Peggy Guggenheim’s music salon in Venice. Next, open your eyes and find yourself transported into the world of Mozart, Rossini, Verdi, and Puccini, through a delightful mix of both familiar favourites - including ‘Un bel di’from Puccini’s Madama Butterflyand ‘Non più mesta’from Rossini’s La Cenerentola - and new discoveries from classic Italian opera repertoire. 


Following sold-out performances of OperaMIXER: A Weekend of Opera Delightsin July 2016, OperaViva proudly presents OperaMIXER: The Italian Edition- a follow-up to the popular and accessible opera and wine event - this time with an Italian twist. We will present a full repertoire of classic Italian opera arias and ensembles featuring Singapore’s very own opera singers Wendy Woon (soprano), Melissa Chan (mezzo-soprano), Leslie Tay (tenor), Alvin Tan (baritone), with Ben Lim on piano. 


“Breaking down the fourth wall and enabling audiences to be up close and personal with singers allow us to reimagine the opera experience,” says Melissa Chan, producer.  “We encourage audiences to bring their own beverages (BYOB) so that they can enjoy the visceral power of opera music the same way audiences did 100 years ago, in an intimate salon setting where they can experience beautiful music in a relaxed environment, as if they were at a friend’s party.” 


Repertoire has been thoughtfully curated to showcase a range of composers, styles, and stories from the Italian opera songbook.  Singers will share personal anecdotes that will give audiences interesting insights into the delightful world of opera and opera singers. The organic approach and personal flavour ensures OperaMIXER offers something for everyone, whether someone new to opera or an enthusiast.

Research Publication

Chan, Melissa M. "Second Chances: Exploring the Role of Unexpected Contexts in Live Performance to Rekindle Classical Music's Relationship with Today's Audience." Master's thesis, Teachers College, Columbia University, 2010.

Contact

Want to learn more about Melissa Chan's upcoming performances, productions, or her views on audience development in the arts? Don’t hesitate to get in touch for production, collaboration, and speaking opportunities.

©2019 by Melissa Chan d'Estrella