Candlelight Concerts review: is it worth the hype?

Have you seen an eye-catching ad on your social media feed that shows a gorgeous concert setting decorated with what looks like thousands of lit candles?

That was the Candlelight Concerts, a series of classical music concerts performed by local musicians at stunning locations.

candlelight concerts chijmes
Candlelight Concerts are held at many stunning venues in Singapore, including CHIJMES.

A concept by Fever, this was first launched in 2019 to make traditional classical music concerts more accessible and affordable to everyone.

While many Candlelight Concerts are focused on classical musicians such as Vivaldi and Chopin, the programmes have eventually been extended to include music by contemporary artists such as Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, Coldplay and Jay Chou. There are also programmes dedicated to K-Pop, as well as movie and anime soundtracks.

candlelight concerts adelaid town hall
Candlelight Concerts are held in over 90 cities around the world.

Holding the concert at a unique and beautiful location is another highlight of Candlelight Concerts. In Singapore, they are held at The Arts House, Victoria Concert Hall, CHIJMES, and S.E.A Aquarium. Candlelight Concerts are also held in 90 other cities around the world.

To find out if the Candlelight Concerts are indeed as magical as they look on photos, I booked tickets to the “Film Scores at S.E.A Aquarium” programme. This is a 60-minute string quartet performance held at the Ocean Gallery at S.E.A Aquarium.

Candlelight Concert review

The S.E.A Aquarium closes at 5pm for regular visitors, and the Candlelight Concert that I booked starts at 5.30pm.

This allowed me to enter the aquarium when it was practically empty so I was able to enjoy a quiet walk admiring the tanks filled with gorgeous marine life. And with LED candles lined up along the walkway, the ambience was definitely in sync with the magical vibe that the marketing materials I saw gave off.

There are differentiated ticket prices according to the zone you prefer. And then it’s free seating within your zone. If you’re particular about the seats you can get, remember to arrive early, like I did; I managed to get front-row seats.

candlelight concerts sea aquarium

However, for the S.E.A Aquarium edition, I feel that Zone A (the most expensive zone other than the “premium” tickets) may not be the most ideal seats. Seated at the same level as the quartet and at the side, I was looking mostly at the backs and sides of the musicians (see photo above, on left). I’d recommend going for Zone B tickets instead if you prefer a more frontal view.

The entire Ocean Gallery, especially around the stage, was filled with LED candles. Along with the huge tank that features giant manta rays in the backdrop, the venue looked absolutely enchanting.

The four musicians – two violinists, one violist, and one cellist – from Vocalise String Quartet opened the performance with Jaws, which I thought was a cheeky tribute to the venue.

Other familiar pieces included Superman March, Ponyo, Mission Impossible, and Skyfall.

candlelight concerts sea aquarium review 1

My favourite one was probably Hedwig’s Theme, the opening theme music of Harry Potter, which was totally bewitching – pun unintended. I felt goosebumps came up as the music played and filled the entire space.

I also particularly enjoyed A Million Dreams, from The Greatest Showman. This was one of my favourite songs from a film and the quartet did an amazing job with their interpretation.

I enjoyed my experience at the Candlelight Concert and would consider attending another one, perhaps at a different venue just to see how it’ll be like. I’ll recommend it as a great activity for a date or for friends who enjoy music.

Prices for a Candlelight Concert starts from S$35. See upcoming performances here.