HOM Music – Heart of Music

Malaysia soprano Cecilia Yap is currently an active singer in the country’s musical scene. An alumnus of Santa Cecilia Conservatory of Rome, Yap’s vocal style is in the vein of the Italian bel canto tradition, taught to her by renowned singers Lorraine Nawa Jones Marenzi, and Arte Scenica opera directors Marcello Ferroni and Marcella Govoni, to name a few. While in Italy, Yap won the 7th Cascinalirica International Vocal Competition (1994), in which she was the only Asian finalist. The country’s magazine L’Opera described Yap as a singer with a “dramatic flair, refined vocal expression and interpretation.”

Yap has performed a wide repertoire throughout her career, including art songs of European and Russian origins, opera arias, sacred genres of oratorios, cantatas and requiems, as well as art and folk songs in her own mother tongue of Mandarin. Yap’s vocal prowess has earned her much recognition. In 2002, she was honoured with the Best Solo Performance of the Year by the The BOH Cameronian Arts Awards.

With many producers, Yap has brought gems of Western Classical music to the stage: Vivaldi’s Gloria in D (RV 589) and Dixit Dominus (RV 594), Bach’s St. Matthew’s Passion, Mass in B minor, and Cantata BWV137, Handel’s The Messiah and Dixit Dominus (HWV 232), Haydn’s The Creation and Mozart’s Requiem Mass in D Minor (K.626), Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Mendelssohn’s Psalms 95 Op.46, Elijah, St. Paul and choral works from Symphony no. 2 in B-flat (Lobgesang). In 2008, Yap performed in Singapore the Asian premiere of Handel’s Gloria (HWV deest), on invitation by the Hallelujah Oratorio Society. In 2015, Yap performed Bach’s Magnificat in D, BWV243 and Cantata BWV137 with Aula Simfonia Jakarta, under the baton of internationally-acclaimed Bach scholar and interpreter Masaaki Suzuki. Among opera productions, Yap’s notable roles include Micaela in Bizet’s Carmen, Liu in Puccini’s Turandot as well as Cio Cio San in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly.

Currently, Yap is the Vocal Director of Kuala Lumpur City Opera (KLCO), where she has directed in productions of Puccini’s La Boheme (2016), Donizetti’s Le fille du Regiment (2017) and Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro (2017), Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel (2018).

In 2017-18, Yap was selected as the soprano soloist in a grand concert tour with Jakarta Simfonia Orchestra and Jakarta Oratorio Society, directed by Dr. Stephen Tong, presenting Mendelssohn’s Hymns of Praise to cities across Indonesia and Singapore.

On 29th January 2018, Yap was awarded the honourary title of Knight of the Order of the Star of Italy by His Excellency Ambassador of Italy Cristiano Maggipinto at the Italian Ambassador’s residence in Kuala Lumpur, presented on behalf of the President of Italy. The accolade is awarded to expatriates and foreigners for promoting Italian excellence, culture and prestige abroad. Her recent performances in Italy (September 2018) proposed by the Malaysian Embassy in Rome, Tourism Malaysia and The City Hall of Ostia, Rome, were highly acclaimed by the Malaysia Ambassador, Dato Malik Melvin Castelino and public.


“Yap certainly lived up to expectation. Her voice was clear and powerful, and superbly controlled even for the most demanding songs…” ~ The Malay Mail 

“Yap is a singer of rare musicality and stunning virtuosity. Her voice left the audience in awe with its sheer power, wide range and histrionic ability…” ~ The Star

“Carmen” – “Micaela is a complicated role to play. Cecilia brought humanity to Micaela, … Her voice was clarity and sweetness, sorrow and loss”. ~ Kakiseni.com

“Viva Verdi” – …very secure technique, blossoming in the higher range, with ease and freedom in the singing that was welcome, as well as some real dramatic flair with no sacrifice to beauty of tone.” ~ The Flying Inkpot, Singapore