Monday, February 27, 2012

Korean and Filipino opera singers star in La Traviata at the CCP

March 2, 2012, 8:00 PM
March 3, 2012, 8:00 PM
March 4, 2012, 5:00 PM
Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (CCP Main Theater)
CCP Complex
Pasay, Metro Manila

Yun-Kyoung Yi, soprano
Rachelle Gerodias, soprano
Daesan No, baritone
Andrew Fernando, baritone
Jae Wook Lee, tenor
Arthur Espiritu, tenor
Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra
Jae-Joon Lee, conductor
UST Singers

For years, I’ve been trying to watch an opera but I’ve always failed to see one. Now, the Cultural Center of the Philippines in cooperation with the Opera Guild Foundation of the Philippines, and Daejeon Opera Company of Korea are staging the one of the most popular operas there is which is La Traviata by Giuseppe Verdi. The opera will run on three consecutive nights from March 2-4, 2012 at the Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (CCP Main Theater) which is just the first of three opera productions scheduled for this year at the CCP.

The opening night on March 2, 2012 at 8:00 PM features Korean opera singers led by soprano Yun-Kyoung Yi, baritone Daesan No and tenor Jae Wook Lee. The March 3, 2012 performance (also at 8:00 PM) will feature Filipino opera stars soprano Rachelle Gerodias, baritone Andrew Fernando and tenor Arthur Espiritu. The final performance on March 4, 2012 at 5:00 PM will once again feature the Korean leads. The Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra, under the baton of Korean Maestro Jae-Joon Lee, will provide the live music while the UST Singers will make up the chorus in this production directed by Floy Quintos.

I was able to watch a stripped down version of Così fan tutte some time back and it made me want to see a full production of an opera and I am very glad that I didn’t have to wait that long for it to happen. Knowing who the people are behind the production and witnessing Rachelle, Andrew and Arthur sing excerpts during the press conference only heightened my excitement. It didn’t matter that I had no idea what those songs were since I only know Libiamo and Sempre Libera which they purposely avoided since I was told that it’s better for the audience to hear these popular numbers during the actual performance itself.

Here are some interesting info regarding the Korean and Filipino leads that can hopefully convince people to check La Traviata out.

Soprano Yun-Kyoung Yi

A 2nd prize winner of the Bellini International Voice Competition in Italy, Yun-Kyoung Yi has performed the lead parts in La Traviata, Lucia di Lammermoor, Rigoletto, and La Boheme, among others. Yun-Kyoung Yi graduated from Keimyung University, majoring in Voice in 2000. She took her graduate degree also at Keimyung in 2003 and earned two diplomas from ARENA accademia and AIDM accademia in Italy in 2007. She is currently a visiting professor at her alma mater Keimyung University

Soprano Rachelle Gerodias

Soprano Maria Rachelle Gerodias is one of the Philippines’ most awarded sopranos. She received her Master’s Degree in Vocal Performance and Vocal Literature from the famed Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. She holds a Professional Diploma in Operatic studies from the prestigious Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. She made her European debut in the role of Liu in Puccini’s Turandot at the VOLSKOPER WIEN in Vienna, Austria.

Baritone Daesan No

Daesan No’s opera credits include the title role in Falstaff and Rigoletto and the roles of Leporello in Don Giovanni, Bonze and Yamadori in Madama Butterfly, Scarpia in Tosca, Escamillo and Marcello in Carmen. He has won numerous awards, one of which was the Placido Domingo Fellowship Award at the Academy of Vocal Arts. Daesan No earned his Graduate Performance Diploma and Master of Music Degree from the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore

Baritone Andrew Fernando

Filipino bass baritone Fernando completed his Professional Diploma and Professional Certificate in Opera Performance at the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts where he was awarded a full scholarship. Fernando is an Opera Pacific Resident Artist for which he has sung many roles including Friedrich Bhaer in Little Women, Marullo in Rigoletto, Masetto in Don Giovanni, Zaretsky in Eugene Onegin and a Prison Guard in Dead Man Walking

Tenor Jae Wook Lee

Jae Wook Lee has performed in various concerts all over the world, including the Philippines, in lead roles of operas such as La Traviata, Rigoletto, Nabucco, La Boheme, Madama Butterfly, and Tosca, among others. Lee is an award winning singer, having bagged top prizes in the Korean National Vocal Music Competition, Montserrat Cabelle, Rosetum and Nino Carta international vocal competitions.

Tenor Arthur Espiritu

Filipino-American tenor Arthur Espiritu is the winner of the 2009 George London Award and the La Scala Award. He received an Artist Diploma from Oberlin College Conservatory of Music and earned both a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Music degree from the University of New Orleans

A lot of people do find opera intimidating for a lot of reasons: the style of singing is so different from popular music, the language is foreign, and it may only be for the upper class. For me, I always try to keep and open mind and be willing to experience new things. I’ve always admit that my knowledge about opera is very limited and I see this production of La Traviata as a way of educating myself. And nothing beats learning about opera than by watching an actual production itself and I plan to catch both sets of leads in order to maximize my learning experience. I just hope that most people will have the same mindset as well not just in opera but in other art forms as well.

Ticket prices:
P1500 Orchestra Center
P1000 Orchestra Side
P600 Balcony I Center
P500 Balcony I Side
P300 Balcony II
-50% student discount
-20% senior citizen discount

For inquiries:
CCP Box Office 832-1125 loc. 1409, 832-3704
TicketWorld 891-9999

Christian Bautista and Karylle share Love and Laughter in concert

February 29, 2012, 8:00 PM
Newport Performing Arts Theater
Resorts World Manila

Christian Bautista
Nanette Inventor
Opera Belles

Christian Bautista and Karylle both starred in the musical West Side Story, the international television series The Kitchen Musical and of course, appear regularly at the Sunday noon time show ASAP. So it’s odd to know that these two singers, dubbed as Asiansations have never shared the stage at a concert. But now the time has come, for this February 29, 2012 at 8:00 PM, at the Newport Performing Arts Theater at the Resorts World Manila, Christian and Karylle will finally be teaming up in a concert entitled Love and Laughter. This special event, a Post-Valentine/Leap Year show is produced by Resorts World, in cooperation with Ultimate Entertainment and Stages Talents.

Joining the two promising talents are veteran comedienne Nanette Inventor as well as Primo and the Opera Belles. As the last hurrah before saying goodbye to the love month, Christian and Karylle will be singing tunes about love with all the joy and sadness that come along with it. Nanette, on the other hand, will be dishing out the humor with the skits that she’s been known for. Love and laughter is indeed a rare and unique concert that is as special as the date of the event itself. While this upcoming concert is certainly keeping everyone busy as the performance dates draws near, it will be nice to recall what’s been happening to both Christian and Karylle lately.


I’ve had the opportunity to see Karylle during her launch as the new endorser of Jeunesse Anion Sanitary Napkins that was held at Patio Carlito. Karylle could’ve just coasted through show business just by being the daughter of Zsa Zsa Padilla. But she proved that she deserved to be in the industry by being one of the rare triple threats in the industry. She can sing, act and dance (she’s had ballet training for years and it shows in her carriage) which makes her a very versatile artist. She is also into health and fitness as well which is why it is no wonder that Jeunesse found a perfect partner in her.

I admit that I felt very awkward being in a launch for a product that caters to females. But it’s worth noting that Jeunesse Anion is a proudly Philippine made product. And despite the presence of a lot of males during the launch, Karylle gamely answered questions and explained what the Anion strip found in the napkin actually does: it releases negative ions that reduce bad odor and discomfort. Jeunesse totally supports Karylle in all her endeavors which also include the upcoming concert as well.

As for Christian Bautista, he celebrates a decade in the industry and the celebrations started with a golden bang. His latest album Outbound has been recently certified gold as he prepares to release First Class: Outbound Expanded Edition made specially to commemorate his ten years in show business. He has also just launched the carrier single for this album, Beautiful to Me. I have yet to hear the new tracks from this album but the collaborators in it namely KC Concepcion, Angeline Quinto, Neocolours, Sam Concepcion, Baby M and Zia as well as the re-recording of two of his biggest hits do make this album worth checking out. And a nice treat for those who have followed Christian’s career throughout the years is that the CD has a limited edition coffee table book. Both Outbound and First Class is released by Universal Records. I was able to meet Christian when he had a Bloggers' Conference some months ago.

Christian Bautista

Also, Karylle’s album Roadtrip which boasts her all original compositions was also certified gold at the start of this year as well. With just two months into 2012 and great achievements and milestones happening to Christian and Karylle, love and laughter will surely prevail during this special day in February which they hope that audiences will share with them.

Ticket prices:
P4000 VIP
P3000 Premiere
P2500 Deluxe
P2000 Balcony
P1000 Upper Balcony

For inquiries:
Resorts World Manila Tourist/Visitor Hotline 836-6333, 908-8833
TicketWorld 891-9999

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Leading Ladies

After the heart wrenching and very introspective Next Fall, Repertory Philippines follows it up with a hilarious gender bending comedy Leading Ladies as their second offering for their 2012 season. Held at Onstage over at Greenbelt 1 in Makati, audiences were treated to a romping ride in this play featuring two actors in a rut trying to snag a fortune by posing as women.

James Stacey and Topper Fabregas

Leading Ladies which premiered back in 2004 and written by internationally acclaimed playwright Ken Ludwig tells the story of Jack Gable (Topper Fabregas) and Leo Clark (James Stacey), two actors who are still trying to catch that big break. And they thought that their big break will be posing as Florence’s (Juno Henares) missing relatives Max and Steve who are supposed receive a multi-million dollar inheritance. Convinced that this will be their way to fortune, Jack and Leo decide to act their way as the two heirs but things get complicated when they find out that Max and Steve are actually Maxine and Stephanie. The two still decide to go for it and pose as Maxine and Stephanie but things get a lot more complicated once they encounter the people who hang around Florence’s household namely Meg (Cris Villonco) and her fiancé Duncan (Jamie Wilson), Audrey (Giannina Ocampo), Butch (Hans Eckstein) and Doctor Myers (Oliver Usison). Close calls, a suspicious fiancée, an inept doctor, a seemingly shallow bimbo, an aunt who can’t seem to die and budding affairs of the heart all combined makes this the most challenging  part that Jack and Leo has to play. And as the story unfolded, I was kept on the edge of my seat wondering whether Jack and Leo will pull it off and walk away with the money. But I think was actually the laughter that almost made me fall of my seat during the press preview of this play which I was able to watch.

I’ve always had a reservation regarding plays in English since the ones that I’ve previously seen somehow failed to connect to me but Repertory Philippines already made me reconsider just by seeing two of their plays this season alone. I think that it’s harder to make people laugh than to make them cry and the theater was indeed roaring in laughter throughout this play. It certainly helped that Jack and Leo had to be in drag in most of the scenes and they looked awful in it. And material that has the audience knowing while some characters in the play remain oblivious is always a sure fire hit in eliciting laughs when done right.

Director Michael Williams and the cast of Leading Ladies

At first, I did resist the urge to groan when I realized that the play included elements about plays, playwrights, actors, etc. and I usually find inclusion of those within a play self serving and a bit too forced. And sometimes, I am left wondering why the playwright had to include those at all. But in Leading Ladies, these elements were essential to the plot and the development would not have happened if the lead characters weren’t actors in the first place. So I wasn’t too bothered by them this time. Although, I confess that the part in the play where Shakespeare was heavily referenced had me lost. I think that fans of the bard who get the inside joke will surely be delighted by this bonus in the material.

Repertory Philippines’ second offering of the season is a total change of pace from their season opener. Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo, Executive Producer and Associate Artistic Director of Repertory Philippines told me that the company does make it a point to offer a varied selection for every season. And their upcoming productions will offer something different as well. I also had the opportunity to have a conversation with the Artistic Director of Rep herself, Ms. Baby Barredo who is extremely proud of the artists who had been a part of the company. Despite the success of these artists in local and international productions, she still points out that theater companies like the Rep (and other performing art companies as well) find it hard to gain support from the public and private sector. That is why she values people who do take an effort in spreading the word about theater and the work that they do. She stresses that watching theater is a unique experience that enables one to escape reality, learn life lessons and be entertained as well.

I do support the arts a lot and I really recommend people to check the shows and events produced by local companies. So do try to watch Leading Ladies and have a good time since I did. This play will run for two more weekends at Onstage at Greenbelt 1 in Makati.

Menchu-Lauchengco Yulo and Giannina Ocampo

Here are the remaining performance dates of Leading Ladies:

February 24, 2012, 8:00 PM
February 25, 2012, 3:30 & 8:00 PM
February 26, 2012, 3:30 PM
March 2, 2012, 8:00 PM
March 3, 2012, 3:30 & 8:00 PM
March 4, 2012, 3:30  PM

Returning Korean Soprano Yun-Kyoung Yi to perform in a solo recital

 Soprano Yun-Kyoung Yi

February 27, 2012, 7:30 PM
Philam Life Auditorium
UN AvenueManila

Yun-Kyoung Yi, soprano
Raul Sunico, piano

Returning to Manila after two successful performances back in 2009, Korean soprano Yun-Kyoung Yi will take to the stage once again in Song Recital on February 27, 2012, 7:30 PM at the Philam Life Auditorium. Organized by the University of Sto. Tomas Conservatory of Music, this concert will feature songs and arias by Mozart, Vivaldi, Rossini and Thomas to be accompanied by Raul Sunico on the piano.

Yun-Kyoung Yi won the Grand Prix at the 4th Gotaeguk Competition in Busan, Korea and the 2nd Prize at the 37th Bellini International Voice Competition in Italy.  She has performed the lead parts in La Traviata, Lucia di Lammermoor, Rigoletto, and La Boheme among others. Yun-Kyoung Yi graduated from Keimyung University, majoring in Voice in 2000.  She took earned her graduate degree also at Keimyung in 2003 and earned two diplomas from ARENA accademia and AIDM accademia in Italy in 2007.  She is currently a visiting professor at her alma mater Keimyung University.

Yun-Kyoung Yi, with other Korean opera artists Daesan No and JaeWook Lee, will also be performing in the opera La Traviata, a production of the Cultural Center of the Philippines, Opera Guild Foundation of the Philippines and Daejeon Opera Company of Korea.

Ticket prices:

For inquiries:
UST Conservatory of Music
731-4022, 406-1611 loc. 8246

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tribu Lunok opens Pasinaya 2012 CCP Open House Festival

The Pasinaya 2012, the biggest one day multi-arts festival in the country, is finally happening on February 26, 2012 and as usual, the Cultural Center of the Philippines will be brimming with over a hundred performances from various groups/companies utilizing every possible space inside and outside the building. This festival gives the public its once in a year chance to see all that they can for as low as P20 and this has made the Pasinaya one of the most attended events at the CCP. The opening ceremonies start at 8:00 AM and the festival ends at 7:00 PM.

Leading the performances are the resident companies of the CCP, namely the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra, UST Symphony Orchestra, Philippine Madrigal Singers, Tanghalang Pilipino, Bayanihan Philippine National Folk Dance Company, Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group, Ballet Philippines, Philippine Ballet Theater and the winners of the National Music Competitions for Young Artists. Aside from the music performances that I am most interested in, there will also be dance and theater performances, along with film screenings, art exhibits, workshops and a lot more.

Tribu Lunok warrior

One highlight of the festival will be performances by Dinagyang’s Tribu Lunok of the Iloilo City National High School. They will take part in the opening ceremonies and parade at 8:30 AM at the Pedro Bukaneg Street of the CCP Complex and will be performing throughout the day.

Expect huge crowds this year and better map out a plan of which performances to watch. Schedule of performances is available here. But also be prepared to have a contingency plan when a venue becomes packed. One way to ensure entry is to avail of the Fast Passes for P200 that enable its bearer to be prioritized at the lines. And this is one of the rare moments where cameras are allowed inside the theaters. 

The crowd during the Pasinaya is always huge and I always hope that a lot of them will have a great time at the CCP and eventually return to see the shows that are lined up. While I am very interested to see the music performances, I will be using this opportunity to see other groups outside of music. And for just P20, it’s a very inexpensive price to explore different art forms at the CCP.

P200 Fast Pass

For inquiries:
CCP 832-1125 loc. 1800

Monday, February 20, 2012

Ateneo blueREPERTORY celebrates 20 years with Bare: A Pop Opera

February 29, 2012, 8:00 PM
March 1, 2012, 8:00 PM
March 2, 2012, 8:00 PM
March 3, 2012, 3:00 & 8:00 PM
March 7, 2012, 8:00 PM
March 8, 2012, 8:00 PM
March 9, 2012, 8:00 PM
March 10, 2012, 3:00 & 8:00 PM
The Promenade, Greenhills
San Juan

The Ateneo blueREPERTORY, in celebration of their 20th anniversary, re-stages Bare: A Pop Opera as their 2011-2012 season finale offering. Setting their sights on a bigger audience, this production will be staged at T.E.A.T.R.I.N.O at Promenade in Greenhills from February 29, 2012 up to March 10, 2012. While maintaining a cast composed mainly of members of the Ateneo blueREPERTORY, this staging boasts of a production team made up of professionals making this a huge step for this theater company based in Ateneo de Manila University.

Bare: A Pop Opera, with book, music and lyrics by Jon Hartmere Jr. and Damon Intrabartolo, centers on Jason and Peter, two high school seniors who are in love but are trying to keep their relationship a secret from their friends, classmates, parents and the rest of the Catholic school that they go to. The show was originally staged on Hudson Theatre in Los Angeles, California back in October 2000 and has also been staged Off-Broadway a few years after in 2004. Ateneo blueREPERTORY first staged this back in 2009 to a sold out audience during its entire three week run.

Bibo Reyes and Jaime Barcelon

For this re-staging, the leads are Jaime Barcelon playing the role of Jason and Bibo Reyes who is reprising the role of Peter. Maronne Cruz and Cassie Manalastas play the role of Ivy and Nadia respectively. Orange Sanchez and Franco Chan alternate the role of Matt. Other cast members are Mark Bernardo, Jenny Jamora, Rem Zamora and the ensemble consisting of Jussy Peña, Mikah Franco, Mica Fajardo, Raisa Tabusalla, Jian Kho, Gabriel Perez, Lara Antonio, Luigi Du, CJ Francisco, Bernice Reyes, and Dar Uy. Ana Abad Santos directs this production once again.

I’ve had the chance to see a sneak peek of this production and the chrous impressed me with their singing after just a couple of measures into the scene. It is remarkable to note that there isn’t really a music/theater program over at Ateneo de Manila and that the members of the Ateneo blueREPERTORY are taking different courses, with some totally unrelated to the arts. As I’ve said earlier, the production team is made up of people who have already worked in various theater productions before. All this and the fact that the show will be held outside the campus is a testament that the company is moving forward to make its presence felt as another theater company to be reckoned with. Clearly an impressive feat for a campus based company.

Part of my preparation prior to watching this was listening to the recording of this musical. Rock rhythms dominate the tracks although there are some surprises like the songs in triple meter and a rave track as well. I was very amused with the gospel tinged numbers included in the musical that promise to be memorable highlights in this production. And making me more excited is knowing that there will be a live band accompaniment headed by music director Joseph Tolentino. There are cello and flute parts in the recording and I am very curious if there will be an actual cellist in the band. I am pretty sure that there would be a flutist since there was one during the sneak peek. Hearing the music, seeing a peek and general curiosity since this will be my first time to see an Ateneo blueREPERTORY production now make me count the days until Bare: A Pop Opera opens.


Bare: A Pop Opera  is sponsored by Big Better Burgers, Cerealicious, Cha Dao Tea Place, Freeform Printing, Intersection Bar and Cafe, Mile Hi Diner, Sicilian Express, and Tunog at Liwanag sa Teatro. Media partners include BusinessWorld, Click the City, Manila Bulletin, Monster Radio RX93.1, Philippine Daily Inquirer, and Philippine Paradise Pages. Bare: A Pop Opera is also brought to you by Angel's Pizza Pasta Combo, Boardwalk, Energizer, Evans, Figlia, Folded and Hung, Jockey, Sbarro, and 101 New York. Special thanks to Aperture Society and Jonathan Matthew Salon.

The artistic and creative team is composed of  Onyl Torres (Musical Director for Vocals), Abi Sulit (Assistant Musical Director for Vocals), Joseph Tolentino (Musical Director for Band), Carlon Matobato (Choreographer), Leeroy New (Set Designer), John Batalla (Lights Designer and Technical Director), Jethro Joaquin (Sound Designer), and Raven Ong (Costume Designer).

The production staff is composed of Tomik Tendero (Company Manager), Nina de Leon (Production Manager), Loraine Macatangay (Co-Head Stage Manager), Tricia Javier (Co-Head Stage Manager), Wrench Canicosa, Meg Yatco, Nick Fortuna, Claude Flores (Stage Managers), Rosa Leon Lumagbas (Costume Stylist), Jie Dela Paz (Assistant Technical Director), KL So Chan (Costumes Technical Director), Kina Casino (Lights and Sounds Technical Director),  Claude Flores (Set and Props Technical Director),  Asami Kobayashi (Logistics Head), Abbey Manliclic (Finance Head), Aina Pacificador (Documentations Head), and Chiz Jardin (Front-of-House Head).

The marketing, sales and publicity is led by Toots Tolentino (PR & Publicity) with Gala Sanchez, Aldrich Alcantara and Luis Marcelo (Promotions and Marketing) and Jojit Lorenzo (Photography).

Bare: A Pop Opera is presented through special arrangement with and all authorized performance materials are supplied by Theatrical Rights Worldwide (TRW), 570 Seventh Avenue, Suite 2100, New York, NY 10018.

For tickets and inquiries:
Chiz Jardin (0916) 578-7618,
Luis Marcelo (0917) 502-5847

An Evening of Chamber Music opens the 2012 Cultural Arts Events Organizer concert season

February 25, 2012, 8:00 PM
Philam Life Auditorium
UN AvenueManila

Gina Medina, violin
Wilfredo Pasamba, cello
Mary Anne Espina, piano
Quartetto Espressivo
     Joseph Brian Cimafranca, violin
     Sara Maria Gonzales, violin
     Rey Casey Concepcion, viola
     Gary Graham Gonzales, cello

Anton Arensky Piano Trio No. 1 in D minor, Op. 32
Ernest Chausson Concerto in D major for Piano, Violin and String Quartet, Op. 21

The Cultural Arts Events Organizer invites all music lovers to An Evening of Chamber Music slated on February 25, 2012, 8:00 PM at the Philam Life Auditorium, United Nations Ave.Manila.

The concert features two (2) of the most beautiful but rarely played chamber music compositions  during the Romantic Period– the Anton Arensky’s fiery First Piano Trio in D minor, Op. 32 and the heartwarming Ernest Chausson’s Concerto in D major for Piano, Violin and  String Quartet, Op. 21.  These masterpieces will be performed by seven (7) of the country’s distinguished musicians namely, pianist Mary Anne Espina, violinist Gina Medina, cellist Wilfredo Pasamba and Quartetto Espressivo of the Manila Symphony Orchestra.

Pianist Mary Anne Espina

Known for her “impeccable musicality and sensitivity”, Espina is one of the most sought after chamber musicians in the country today.  A 2008 Aliw awardee, Espina continues to team up with outstanding local and international artists in major concert and recital venues in the country. 

Violinist Gina Medina

As a distinguished violinist, soloist and chamber performer, Medina has gained a vital seat in the Philippines’ classical music circle.  Her commanding musical techniques and precarious abilities never cease to awe her audiences.

Cellist Wilfredo Pasamba

Pasamba, considered one of the finest Filipino cellists today, is a graduate of Moscow Conservatory of Music. He has performed in all major music centers in the world.

Quartetto Espressivo

Quartetto Espressivo, the resident string quartet of Manila Symphony Orchestra, consists of Joseph Brian Cimafranca, violin; Sara Maria Gonzales, violin, Rey Casey Concepcion, viola and Gary Graham Gonzales, cello – all graduates of St.Scholastica’s College School of Music.

Don’t miss this musical coup. This concert is made possible in partnership with Vision Classic, Lyric Piano and OrganBusinessWorld, Nethal Marketing and TIEZA.

Ticket prices:
P1000 Orchestra Center
P800 Orchestra Sides
P600 Loge Center
P500 Loge Sides

For inquiries:
Cultural Arts Events Organizer 781-7164, (0918)347-3027
MCO Foundation 750-0768, (0920)954-0053
TicketWorld 891-9999

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Clarion Chamber Ensemble, pianist Raul Sunico and soprano Joanna Go perform for DZFE benefit concert

February 24, 2012, 8:00 PM
Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (CCP Little Theater)
CCP Complex
Pasay, Metro Manila

Clarion Chamber Ensemble
Raul Sunico, piano
Joanna Go, soprano

Johann Sebastian Bach Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F, BWV 1047
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov Capriccio Espagnol, Op. 34
Franz Schubert Piano Quintet in A major, D. 667 Trout
Ludwig Thuille Septet in B flat major, Op. 6
Antonio Molina Piano Quintet
Dominick Argento Elizabethan Songs

Pianist and President of the Cultural Center of the Philippines Raul Sunico joins Clarion Chamber Ensemble in Chamber Music in Progress, a benefit concert mounted by the CCP, in cooperation with the Ensemble, for 98.7 DZFE “The Master’s Touch”, February 24, 8:00 PM, at the Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (CCP Little Theater).

Presenters of DZFE with the Clarion Chamber Ensemble, guest pianist Raul Sunico and featured soloist, soprano Joanna Go, will offer a guided sampling of chamber music’s many possibilities.

Pianist Raul Sunico

The kaleidoscopic Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F, BWV 1047 of Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750), and the festive Capriccio Espagnol of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908) arranged for chamber ensemble, are the departure and final destination points on an itinerary that includes music from the Piano Quintet in A major, D. 667 “Trout” of Franz Schubert (1797-1828), the Septet in B flat major, Op. 6 of Ludwig Thuille (1861-1907), the Piano Quintet of Antonio Molina (1894-1980), and the Elizabethan Songs of Dominick Argento (b. 1927).

Chamber Music in Progress takes its name from the chamber music program of the same name on 98.7 DZFE (Sunday 300 PM and Wednesday 800 PM) hosted by Clarion Music Ensemble co-founder and artistic director David Jerome Johnson. With pianist Hyun Joo Lee, flutist Johnson formed Clarion Chamber Ensemble in December 2001. It was joined by members of the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra to create a core group of nine ensemble members. Other musicians collaborate with the ensemble as the music demands.

The strength of the Ensemble lies in the diversity and flexibility of instrumental combinations and repertoire that embraces 18th 
to 20th century works. Clarion Chamber Ensemble has also worked with opera singers and jazz and tango dancers in the service of the chamber music repertoire and the cause of various charities and non-profits, including the Macabata Children's Foundation and 98.7 DZFE. The concert Chamber Music in Progress offers a foretaste of performances that Clarion Chamber Ensemble will soon be offering in celebrating its tenth anniversary.

Soprano Joanna Go

Soprano Joanna Go, who performs Argento’s Elizabethan Songs at the concert, hosts and produces the opera program OPERAphile on DZFE (Saturday 7:30 PM). She last performed with Clarion Chamber Ensemble in the 2006 and 2007 presentations of the concert “If it Ain’t Baroque, Don’t Fix It!” A graduate of the University of British Columbia (UBC) Opera Performance program in Vancouver, Canada, Joanna Go was one of the featured Filipino artists in the Shanghai World Exposition in 2010, performing with the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra and the Philippine Madrigal Singers at the gala presentation of the Philippines-China Friendship Day. She also gave a command performance at Malacañang Palace for the Shanghai diplomatic delegates. In August of 2009, she was featured in a concert entitled Pagpupugay, a tribute to the works of National Artists Rolando Tinio and Bienvenido Lumbera, as well as Nicanor Tiongson and Jose Lacaba.

Since it first went to air in 1954, DZFE has been a donor-supported non-profit and non-commercial outfit. DZFE’s unique blend of programs is designed to foster an appreciation for classical music and biblical precepts. The station is the only one of this format across the faith-based radio network, Far East Broadcasting Company, Philippines.

This year, DZFE will be relocating its transmitting facilities and studio to a site in Ortigas Center, where it will share a common facility with its sister station, 702 DZAS-AM, which is also set to move out of its current home in Valenzuela City. The new, compact Ortigas facility will require the updating of broadcast software and equipment, some of which has not been updated for decades. Fundraising for this initiative is intensive and ongoing. Donations for DZFE’s day-to-day operations and its relocation project will be accepted by station personnel at the venue.

Ticket price:

For inquiries:
CCP Marketing Department 832-1125 loc. 1806
CCP Box Office 832-3704
DZFE 810-3835,
TicketWorld 891-9999
Clarion School of Performing Arts 890-8840

2012 Philippine International Guitar Festival and Competition: Tomonori Arai and Gen Matsuda

Tomonori Arai, guitar
Gen Matsuda, guitar

Jacques Ibert
     Paraboles 1 and 2
     Bajo la mesa
Enrique Granados 6 Spanish Dances
Joe Hisaishi Summer
Teiichi Okano Furusato Fantasy Hometown
Kazufumi Miyazawa Shima Uta Island Song
Fernando Sor Fantasy Op. 54 bis
Toru Takemitsu To the Island
Sergio Assad Invitation

The 2012 Philippine International Guitar Festival and Competition’s schedule was a case of  bad timing for me since this festival always fall under the same weekend as the fiesta in my neighborhood. Getting out of the neighborhood is almost impossible at around this time. So just being to see a single concert is already an achievement for me. And that was just I did during this year’s edition when I caught the performance of Japanese guitarists Tomonori Arai and Gen Matsuda at the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (CCP Little Theater) on the first night of the festival.

The pair prepared a programme consisting of pieces by western and Japanese composers that were specially arranged by Tomonori Arai for a guitar duo. The concert started with Jacques Ibert’s Paraboles 1 and 2 and Bajo la mesa (Under the Table), and 6 Spanish Dances by Enrique Granados. This kind of pieces are the ones I now come to expect whenever I watch classical guitar concerts. However on the second half of the concert, the duo played pieces by Japanese composers which are more contemporary since it included Joe Hisaishi’s Summer which is the popular theme from the movie Kikujiro. The piece, with its memorable theme done originally with pizzicato strings, sounded well with just two guitars since it guitar strings are plucked in the first place. Another Japanese composition that the duo played was Furusato Fantasy by Teiichi Okano which is a very popular tune in Japan. It was refreshing to hear these Japanese tunes which are so familiar to me but done in an unfamiliar arrangement for two guitars. It made me appreciate the tone and the texture that the classical guitar can actually produce. Another piece that was performed was Shima Uta or Island Song by Kazufumi Miyazawa which is actually a popular song in Japan by the band The Boom. Fernando Sor’s Fantasy Op. 54 bis was also played which was a last minute addition to the programme. The pair also played To the Island by Toru Takemitsu and Invitation by Sergio Assad as their final pieces.

Guitarist Tomonori Arai

The concert was a nice mix of the traditional and the modern. While the duo played with classical guitars, they still did some pretty nifty moves like tapping the body of the guitar and slapping when playing some bass notes. The duo seemed to be suffering from colds (as did so a lot of the members of the audience as well) but this didn’t seem to affect their performance. The turnout wasn’t as spectacular as I thought it would be but it was a weekday and just the first day of the festival. I would’ve wanted to come back during the succeeding days but it was not possible for me to travel all the way to CCP because of the fiesta in our neighborhood. But I’m still glad to catch at least one concert during the festival’s entire run.

Guitarist Gen Matsuda

The 2012 Philippine International Guitar Festival and Competition did have a competition which I unfortunately missed. But here are the ones who came out on top after two intense days of competing:

Franco Maigue, Takashi Endo, Worrapat Yansupap and Roneil Santos

1st Place: Franco Raymundo Maigue (Philippines
2nd Place: Takashi Endo (Japan)
3rd Place: Worrapat Yansupap (Thailand
Special Prize: Roneil Santos, Best Filipino Guitarist 
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