Sentosa Musical Fountain
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Coordinates: Sentosa Musical Fountain, also known as the Magical Fountain of Sentosa, or as the Musical Fountain by locals, was a former musical fountain water feature and entertainment venue on Sentosa Island in Singapore. It was located on a now-demolished portion of the Imbiah Lookout entertainment zone on the island. The Musical Fountain was officially opened on 1 June 1982, and ceased operations 25 years later on 26 March 2007, and was demolished that same year. The venue arena could accommodate more than 5000 people. It hosted five different shows through the 25 years it had been in operation, including the famous Magical Sentosa show which ran during the last 5 years of the fountain's operations.
- 1 History
- 2 Shows
- 3 Demolition
- 4 Architecture and engineering
- 5 Web documentation
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
In the late 1960s, the Singapore government decided to develop of a plot of land on the then-named Palau Blakang Mati (currently known as Sentosa Island) for entertainment purposes. After the Sentosa Development Corporation was incorporated, one of their major plans for the island was to build a musical fountain feature. The fountain would be located at the Northwest of the island, which would be known as Imbiah Bay, (later called Imbiah Lookout).
Construction began in 1972. A contract was signed between Mr. Tham Tuck Yen—then director of the Sentosa Development Corporation, and Mr Norman Wee—then director of Venus Enterprises and a building contractor.
Preview and Official opening
On the 30 April 1982, Singapore news publication, The Straits Times reported that the fountain will open briefly for an official preview on May Day. The half an hour event was graced by 500 guest which included the two guests of honor, then Home Affairs minister, Chua Sian Chin and the now-retired Minister in Prime Minister's Office, Lee Khoon Choy. It was only at 7:30pm (SST) on the 11 June 1982, that the Musical Fountain was officially opened to the general public. The fountain was declared open by then Sentosa Leisure Group chairman, Mr Tan I. Tong. At the point of its opening, the outdoor fountain was the largest of its kind in Asia.
In the late 1980s, the concrete wall that stood behind the fountain was rebuilt into a man-made cliff and waterfall, then in 1992, the cooperation decided that extra features like the then-newly introduced 1982 Sentosa logo; drawn onto a large wooden plank, ponds, a symphony stage, and renewed water jets would be added. Plans were drawn for the water jets to shoot up over 23 metres (75 ft) high, but due to high cost estimates their height was only raised up to 20 metres (66 ft). The colonnades at the top of the fountain also had its design changed.
In 1996, the gigantic 31 metres (102 ft) tall Merlion Statue was added above the Musical Fountain as a new attraction on Sentosa. Afterwards, the idea was developed to install LED laser beams in the Merlion's eyes, with the intention that laser would be part of the musical fountain's show. Laservision was commissioned to make a major upgrade to the fountains and install laser lighting. The laser light beams are strong enough to be seen from 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) away. After this upgrade, visitors had no access into the Merlion Statue tower after 7pm — due to laser radiation blinding and other safety issues. Also, the 1982 Sentosa logo was then taken down and replaced with a different logo, but still bearing the same name. (The 1982 logo would reappear again for a brief period until ECA2 was commissioned to restore the fountain where it was once again taken down.)
In 1999, the fountain underwent a major two-year restoration project directed by Fischer Media Group under the supervision of ECA2. During the restoration, the wooden plank with the old Sentosa logo from 1982 was replaced by a plaster sculpture for two reasons. Firstly, due to termite infestation and secondly as a prop for the Magical Sentosa show after it was commissioned in September 2002. The fountain's exterior design and the colonnades design was re-designed to the more attractive Neoclassical design. In addition, the seats in the fountain's gallery were repainted to resemble the seven colours of a rainbow. The previously installed laser fixtures were draped in green fabric by Laservision Australia.
The Sentosa Musical Fountain was the venue for many events, special performances, and variety shows — from its opening in 1982 until its closure in March 2007.
It was one of the hosting venues for the 2005 Singapore Youth Festival. The Musical Fountain was the venue for a gala dinner held in conjunction with the Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization in 1996. In 1993 the flame of the 1993 Southeast Asian Games was lit at the symphony stage of the fountain by then Prime Minister, Goh Chok Tong. In 2002, the then unheard of, Media Development Authority was announced at the fountain by David Lim, the then acting minister for the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts.
Through the Musical Fountain's years as an entertainment venue, five different shows were staged there. Each one required up to five months to fully design, choreograph, and install.
Fountain Display Show
Running Period: 1982 – 1991
(later re-continued in the late 1990s in the day [4pm to 5pm] until the fountain's closure and for a brief period in the evening until Magical Sentosa was incorporated.)
Production company: Self choreographed
The first programmed show at the Musical Fountain was the "Fountain Display Show", running through the 1980s and early 1990s. It was inspired by the synchronized water dance of the Fountains of Bellagio on the Las Vegas Strip. Usually the show used computer choreographed Broadway show tunes and other famous songs. The show ran thrice nightly with an additional show during Sundays and Public Holidays. In the late 1990s, the show was repeated during the day from 4pm to 5pm but without the colorful lights, and the only evidence left is two videos that can be found on YouTube and a few dozen photographs scattered all over the Internet. Between 2000 and 2002, the show was repeated in the evening until Magical Sentosa permanently replaced the show.
Rise of the Merlion
Running Period: 1993 – 1995
Production company: Disputed but sponsorship later taken over by Laservision Australia
"Rise of the Merlion" is considered the first show to use laser animation and graphics at the 'Musical Fountain'. The show gave a 'revisionist' History of Singapore that included the outcome of the Merlion (country mascot). In 1994 the show's lighting was improved by Laservision Australia, before the show was shut down a year later.
Spirits of Sentosa and Going Around the World
Running period: 1997 – 2000
Production company: Laservision Australia (Spirits of Sentosa); Disputed (Going around the World)
In 1997 came two shows, the first was "Spirits of Sentosa", developed by Laservision Australia. The second is Going Around the World, which has disputed origins. Spirits of Sentosa is the first show staged on the fountain, to use graphical imagery. It was developed by Laservision designers, Simon McCartney, Lloyd Weir and Richard Tan.
According to the only known video taken during the show's run, the show starts with an old wizard speaking to the audience about the wonders of Sentosa, which is also inhabited by spirits. The three Spirits of Sentosa is then shown one at a time, and it is revealed that their mystical powers are bound in a magical pearl. Unfortunately, the pearl is stolen by an evil 2D/CGI dragon, who wants it for its own selfish needs. Upon realizing that their magical pearl was stolen, the three spirits battle with the dragon to regain the pearl, with the evil dragon being defeated in the end. The pearl is returned to its rightful place and the fountains dance in celebration. The show ends with a final monologue from the same old wizard, and the show closes with a final dance from the fountains. It is noticeable too in the video that before the actual Spirits of Sentosa show starts, there is footage showing laser images projecting iconic world landmarks. This suggest that Going Around the World could have been played first before Spirits of Sentosa is actually being performed.
Running period: 2002 – 2007
Production company: ECA2
"Magical Sentosa" was the fifth and final show staged on the fountain and arguably the most recognizable. The show was created in 2000, when Yves Pépin (designer of the Songs of the Sea show and its upcoming replacement show Wings of Time) designed a show to fit the Imbiah Lookout zone's theme of fantasy. After using ideas from an earlier production in France and restoring the fountain again which took about two years, engineers installed new equipment to create an all-new nighttime show that placed Kiki the Hyperactive Monkey of Sentosa, the official mascot of Sentosa Island at that time, as the host. It was also the first time that the audience saw him in CGI—Computer Generated Imagery.
After operating for 25 years, the Musical Fountain staged its last Magical Sentosa show on 25 March 2007. It was then shut down and demolished to make way for a new integrated resort named Resorts World Sentosa, which now occupies the site and beyond.
The area where the fountain once stood is the present site of: the 'Lake of Dreams'; Hotel Micheal; and Crockford Tower. Part of the Musical Fountain's old foundation was used in construction of the 'Lake Of Dreams' landscape feature. A new lower and much smaller fountain marks the site of the former tall waterfall and cliff, which is now used as the main entrance to Resorts World Sentosa.
The Sentosa Musical Fountain was eventually replaced by another computer programmed large musical fountain named Songs of the Sea, situated along Siloso Beach.
Songs of the Sea
The new musical fountain is sited at Siloso Beach, near Sentosa Express's Beach Station. Construction work on Songs of the Sea began in January 2006, and was completed in February 2007. The show made its debut in 26 March 2007. Between 26 March 2007 and 31 December 2007, the "Songs of the Sea" program had been watched by 992,000 visitors.
Architecture and engineering
During its final renovation, the Musical Fountain's redesign was based two opposite themes. The first theme which is widely seen in the fountain's design, was the formal Neoclassical architecture. But despite this, both Classical Revival and Postmodern versions; especially the substantially decorated colonnades are seen. The other theme was from informal 'nature's wonderland' imagery; using a small pond, flowering trees and ornamental plants, and a constructed large naturalistic waterfall, which was formerly a concrete wall. The fountain's symphony stage is better recognized for the location of the "SENTOSA" plaster sculpture, which is the centerpiece of the fountain. The sculpture sits in place of the earlier wooden plank with the 1982 Sentosa logo drawn on it.
The Musical Fountain's main swan shaped pool was 5 metres (16 ft) deep and contained of 31, 700 gallons of water, which took a total of 3 hours to completely fill. The pool length itself is 40 metres (130 ft) wide. The fountain could produce more than 19 different water formations (16 originally), including the famous form of a Phoenix flanked by waltzing chorus-lines. Water jets in the fountain were able to shoot water up to a height of 20 metres (66 ft). The fountain had two terrace pools flanking it. The Musical Fountain also had three large water projection screens, one on the main fountain, while the other two are on the terrace pools.
It is believed that the "O" in the "SENTOSA" plaster sculpture sign led to a dressing room concealed inside a narrow trench tucked in between the pond and main pool. Cast members of a show entered and exited through this opening. The "O" was also used during the performances of the 'Magical Sentosa' show. A projection room can also be clearly seen during the day, hidden on the left side of the cascading waterfall feature. The frontal part of the room is shrouded by greenery from the area, with some green scaffolding partially camouflaging it. Thus, rendering the only object in the room, the projector, visible from the seating gallery and platform. This may suggest that video and images are not projected from the front of the fountain but the back instead, to give it a clearer field of depth. The control room though is not located at that area, it is located at the front of the seating gallery. It is here that laser images and lighting are controlled and activated.
The history of the Musical Fountain, including rare audio recordings and videos, are posted throughout the internet. These show the fountains's key events and evolving development. Some of these include scores of the Magical Sentosa soundtrack, which were never released for distribution by ECA2. A majority of these videos have ended up on video sharing website, YouTube.
- This video shows the Musical Fountain's displays from the 1980s. —Singapore's Sentosa Island Park
- These two videos are the only evidence left to tell that the fountain also operates at 4pm and 5pm in the day. It is also notable that the video reveals major parts of the fountain's water jets and water screens. — (Part 2) &
- A home video belonging to an Indonesian family reveals the Rise of the Merlion show in its entirety .
- A 2000 video  documenting the Fountain Display show before the installation of Magical Sentosa was complete in the year 2002. It is also interesting to note that the stairs to the fountain's pool were converted to flower beds before being removed in 2002. ECA2 can also be seen doing a test run for the Merlion eye lighting system in background.
- This is the only known video of the Spirits of Sentosa show that ran during the late 1990s. — ""
- A recent amateur video  uploaded by a Singaporean YouTuber, features an hour of footage documenting the fountain's last 24 hours. Unlike most videos, it is notable that this one documents the fountain heavily in detail. Even going to the extent of showing the interior of the famous Sentosa Ferry Terminal, the seating gallery in its entirety, and the fountain's colonnades, now known to be made out of marble.
Magical Sentosa performances
- The long-lost High-definition trailer of the Magical Sentosa show was rediscovered on the official ECA2 website. The video also exhibits high-fidelity audio, which was quite rare in use during that period. It is at: ECA2: Magical Sentosa HD Trailer.
- The video covers the first 51 seconds of the show, with the full and muted soundtrack of Here Everybody Lives In Harmony included. — fountain_1.avi
- This bootleg recording is one of the only two existing samples of the score, Water Waltz from the Magical Sentosa Soundtrack that was never officially distributed by ECA2. — Soundtrack from Magical Sentosa—"Water Waltz"
This recently discovered video shows one of ECA2's earlier productions, Le Lac Aux Images which uses some of Magical Sentosa's characters and plot elements.
- YouTube: Magical Sentosa — Part 1
- YouTube: Magical Sentosa — Part 2
- YouTube: Magical Sentosa — Part 3
2013 soundtrack rediscovery
On the 30 January 2013, a Singaporean YouTuber who goes by the eponymous username "caix92" recovered the Magical Sentosa soundtrack in its original entirety. In a comment he / she mentioned that the album was originally bought by him / her shortly before the show stopped operations in March 2007. The rediscovery of the album also featured entirely new and unknown cast members involved in the making of the soundtrack. Examples included, Adele Masquelier, who is believed by many to actually played the character of Princess Pearl, did the soprano voices for Hello Hello and the Princess Pearl song and Jerome Scemla, who wrote the screenplay for Magical Sentosa. The album's artwork which was thought to be lost was also shown in all of the video thumbnails.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Musical Fountain, Sentosa.|
- Fountain Gardens promenade.
- Imbiah Lookout — Sentosa entertainment zone: former and current features.
- Sentosa Island — former and current features.
- Magical Sentosa
- Songs and Tunes from The Original Soundtrack of Magical Sentosa
- Index: Sentosa Island
- 10 March 1980, Page 10 The Straits Times (Musical Fountain)
- 10 June 1982, Page 7 The Straits Times (Musical fount opens—1982)
- 1 May 1982, Page 1 The Straits Times (Magical waters planned)
- 30 April 1982, Page 13 The Straits Times (May Day debut for Sentosa Musical Fountain)
- Edwin Koo (18 March 2007). "One Last Bow". The Straits Times. p. C2.
- Laservision projects on Spirits of Sentosa.
- Infovision Profile
- "Fountain Display Show": A rare archived 3 minutes and 36 seconds of the original show footage on YouTube @ 
- Highlights on the Musical Fountain`s Reopening 1992-93
- Laser Display Awards nominees
- This video shows Laservision™ going behind the scene of Spirits of Sentosa. — Sentosa Island Singapore
- ECA2: Magical Sentosa HD Trailer
- See also: Magical Sentosa (soundtrack)
- 25-year-old Sentosa Musical Fountain stages last two shows — an article by Channel Newsasia.
- "Musical Fountain replaced by Songs of the Sea". Retrieved 20 December 2010.
- "Sentosa's multimedia beachfront experience" (Press release). Dan Ferrisi. 2008. Retrieved 3 January 2011.
- Songs of the Sea — Part 1 on Youtube
- Songs of the Sea — Part 2 on Youtube
- Songs of the Sea — Part 3 on Youtube
- Princess Pearl song: Page 1 of Comments