Friday, May 25, 2018

Europeans and Pinoys collaborate in Europinoy concert

Another music treat from Viva Europa 2018 comes via Europinoy, a celebration of the heritage and friendship between the Philippines and Europe happening this May 30, 2018, 7:30 PM at the Ruins, Poblacion in Makati.

This event features guitarist Alex Alcaraz from Spain, violinist Jeanette Kamphuis from Sweden, and percussionists Stefan Löwenstein from Austria and Jean Paul Zialcita from the Philippines.

It will also feature a spoken word performance by Michellan Alagao (Philippines) and DJ’s Butta B (Philippines) and Michael Rattinger (Austria).

Admission is free and there will be a Don Papa Rum open bar (until supplies last).

The Europinoy concert is a collaboration between the European Union in the Philippines, the Austrian Embassy Manila, the Instituto Cervantes de Manila, and the Embassy of Sweden in Manila. The event is also supported by Z Hostel Philippines, Don Papa Rum and Lomography Philippines.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

German cellist Claus Kanngiesser guests in Manila Symphony Orchestra season opener

The Manila Symphony Orchestra welcomes German cellist Claus Kanngiesser as its guest artist in its 2018-2019 Year of the Titans season opening concert happening this June 3, 2018, 6:00 PM at The Theatre at Solaire.

Cellist Claus Kanngiesser

The concert, billed as The Color of Music, will feature performances of Richard Wagner’s Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde, Modest Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition and Antonín Dvořák’s Cello Concerto in B minor, Op. 104, B. 191 with Claus Kanngiesser as featured soloist. MSO Artistic Director and Principal Conductor Prof. Arturo Molina conducts.

Manila Symphony Orchestra

Claus Kanngiesser, born in Oldenburg, Germany, has studied with Heinrich Schüchner in Hamburg and with Zara Nelsova at the Juilliard School of Music in New York and gained further artistic inspiration from Gaspar Cassado, Pablo Casals, Yehudi Menuhin and Rudolf Serkin. He enjoys a rich musical life as soloist, chamber-music player, teacher, director, juror and advisor.

Conductor Arturo Molina

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

No language barrier in Qingdao Peking Opera Company's dazzling Monkey King

The Qingdao Peking Opera Company

The dazzling costumes, acrobatics, and well-choreographed fight scenes more than made up for whatever language barrier there was at the performance of The Monkey King Making Havoc in Heaven by the Qingdao Peking Opera Company at the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (CCP Little Theater).

Watching the Monkey King was like embarking on a trip into a strange new world where the senses are dazzled by colors that are bright and radiant, costumes that are both majestic and terrifying, and music that sounded exotic yet enticing. And these were all that I could latch onto since my knowledge of the tale of the Monkey King or Peking Opera was almost next to nothing.

Right from the start, I was impressed by the acrobatic skills of the troupe members performing as the monkeys dressed in vivid yellow costume decked with patterns. I couldn’t recall a time when I saw that many tumbling passes performed at any CCP stage. From this and their animated facial expressions, I was able to perceive the restless and mischievous nature of these monkeys.

Their leader, the Monkey King Sun Wukong, portrayed by lead actor Gong Fayi, set himself apart from the rest of the monkeys not just by a different costume and makeup, but also by having a more refined carriage exemplified by his kicks that had great extension and control while retaining a superb upper body posture.

Upon seeing the fairy maidens and the troops of the Heaven Palace, with their restricted and more calculated movements and basically stoic and fierce expressions, I somehow knew that they would come at odds with the monkeys and the Monkey King later on in the tale. I had to rely on seeing the contrasts between these two forces to make that conclusion.

There were several characters appearing at the Heaven Palace that wore impressive costumes that are elaborately layered and adorned with metallic patterns. And along with their make-up and headdress, it wasn’t difficult to figure out that these were powerful beings who look majestic and terrifying at the same time. And I knew that they would want to put the Monkey King who has started to make havoc back in his place.

The tale goes to a climax through several combat scenes between the Monkey King and the forces deployed by the Heaven Palace. These fights were a well-choreographed showcase mixing martial arts with dance plus a generous dose of juggling with a staff, swords, a hoop and a pair of clubs. The skill, precision, grace, and elegance of the members of the company were highlighted in this part that truly entertained the audience.

Throughout the performance, a six member ensemble provided accompanying music offstage using various traditional Chinese instruments. I wish that I could’ve known more about these instruments prior to the performance. The unusual colors and timbres of these instruments as well as the vocals of the women added to the exoticism of the whole experience.

I admit that it wasn’t the best decision to watch without knowing more about the Monkey King and Peking Opera. My limited knowledge tells me that the Monkey King is a main character in The Journey to the West, a Chinese classical tale attributed to We Cheng’en and his tale has already been adapted to various forms of media like film.

I couldn’t afford to miss the opportunity to see this rare art form performed in here especially when seats became extremely difficult to get right after the tickets were offered for free through the National Commission for Culture and the Arts. The demand was so high that an additional Saturday matinee show was put up to make sure that more people could be accommodated.

All smiles after the Gala Night performance

Thankfully, my years of being active in the culture scene offered a way for me to be at the Gala Night performance that had the NCCA’s Executive Director Rico Pableo, the Chinese Embassy’s Cultural Counselor Pan Feng, as well as CCP Chairperson Margie Moran-Floirendo along with other who’s who in the arts and culture scene in attendance.

The Qingdao Peking Opera Company’s performance of The Monkey King Making Havoc in Heaven, was presented by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts and the Cultural Center of the Philippines together with the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of China and the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in celebration of the 43rd year of the formal establishment of the Philippines - China Diplomatic Relations.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Cultural Center of the Philippines welcomes new chairperson Margie Moran-Floirendo

CCP Chairperson Margie Moran-Floreindo

The Cultural Center of thePhilippines welcomed Margarita “Margie” Moran-Floirendo as its new chairperson during a turn over and recognition ceremony held recently at the CCP Main Theater Lobby.

Margie Moran is no stranger to the CCP after serving as president (2009-2018) of Ballet Philippines, a resident company of the CCP. She was appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte as a member of the CCP Board of Trustees in January 2018 and was subsequently elected as CCP Chairperson at the board meeting held in April 2018. She succeeds advertising maven Emily Abrera who has served as chair from 2003 up to 2018.

Past and Present CCP Officers and Board of Trustees

The turn over ceremony also recognized and presented with plaques of appreciation some past members of the board of trustees namely Florangel Braid, Carol Espiritu, Isabel-Caro Wilson, Danilo Dolor, Arch. Cristina Turalba. Previous CCP president Dr. Raul Sunico and previous chairperson Emily Abrera were also among the list of recipients.

Kabataang Gitarista

CCP’s role in discovering and nurturing young music talents were also given a spotlight at the event through performances by the Kabataang Gitarista Quartet whose members are Fernando Sy-Changco, David Tiongson, Andrei Fernandez, and Edel Mark Bitao and National Music Competitions for Young Artists (NAMCYA) winners namely tenor Radnel Ofalsa, soprano Nicole Pugeda, and pianist Gabriel Allan Paguirigan.

Pianist Gabriel Paguirigan, soprano Nicole Pugeda, and tenor Radel Ofalsa

A press conference with Margie Moran followed soon after wherein she stressed the importance of the role of media in promoting arts and culture. She also mentioned that education is key in arts appreciation especially now with the K-12 system already in place.

She also noted that CCP’s upcoming 50th anniversary is on the horizon and it will be a yearlong festival with concurrent anniversaries also happening like Ballet Philippines’ 50th and the 15th for Pasinaya, Virgin Labfest, and the Cinemalaya that have become some of the most well attended events at the CCP. The launch of two new structures, the Black Box Theater and the Artist Center, will book end the celebrations.

Margie Moran has cemented her place in Philippine pop culture history when she won the country’s 2nd Miss Universe crown back in 1973. But she is more than just a beauty queen and just like her, CCP is more than just Imelda Marcos. Not shying to take advantage of her celebrity status, she aims to make CCP as the center of Arts in Asia and also as a destination for people to come even when there is no show.
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