Sunday, June 30, 2013

Fête de la Musique 2013 featuring The Naïve New Beaters

The Naïve New Beaters
Eurobelix, David Boring and Martin Luther BB King

I've never been comfortable with music festivals that go on for hours featuring numerous acts. Previous attempts in watching music festivals always ended up with me getting sick and unable to get out of bed the following day. I guess that I am so used to air conditioned concert halls and comfortable, cushioned seats that watching an outdoor concert somehow makes my body breakdown afterwards. But I decided to try the music festival circuit once again since I am always up for crazy adventures all for my love of music.

With the invitation of the Embassy of France to the Philippines, I was able to experience 2013 Fête de la Musique once again which was my second time in a row. I got more excited this year knowing that I have prior Fête de la Musique experience. This year, there were several music acts that I know personally and also, Radio Republic was a media partner which meant that I would be more at ease, have more access and probably would enjoy the festival more. And just like last year, I avoided drinking any alcohol since things can get unpredictable at events like these and I don’t want to be among the unpredictable ones.

It was already dark and night has set in when I arrived at the A.Venue Open Parking where the event was held. Quest was already wrapping up his set by the time I got my media pass. After he got off stage, I immediately went to the holding area to say hi to him. Then I saw beat boxer Josef Amarra and rapper Abra who were clearly enjoying the event watching by the side. Josef went on stage as he was the guest performer collaborating with Flying Ipis, the next act after Quest. In contrast to Quest’s inspiring and uplifting music, Flying Ipis let some explicit language fly pumping out the crowd that already started to thicken as the night went on.

Then it was time for the main act from France, The Naïve New Beaters (NBBS) composed of David Boring (vocals), Martin Luther BB King (guitar), and Eurobelix (drums and loops). The group, an electro-pop act can be considered as a novelty act since not only their catchy music but also their names, costumes and props suggest that humor plays a huge part in their live performances. With a clear grasp of the English language for a French national, David Boring (who wasn’t boring at all) was able to engage the Filipino audience with his antics. Audience participation was key to their set as David convinced the crowd to stick out their fingers and form a heart with them, put arms around the shoulders of the person next to them even if their total strangers and to join in singing “L” and “A” in one of their songs that almost everyone in the crowd has never heard of before. I decided not to consume any alcohol during the entire time that I was at festival but I felt drunk because of the craziness that the NBBS put on stage like the inflatable palm tree (literally).

After The Naïve New Beaters, other acts that followed were Ukulele Philippines who surprisingly rocked the stage. The ukulele might be a small instrument but who knew that it could rock that big. I saw in the audience what I believe are some members of the group since they were cheering loudly and holding their ukuleles up proudly. Legendary rock/metal band Razorback was also among the highly anticipated acts of the night. But while vocalist Kevin Roy, guitarist Tirso Ripoll and bassist Louie Talan were there, drummer Brian Velasco and other guitarist Manuel Legarda were not present. I wanted to ask Kevin where the two were but knowing him, I knew that wouldn't get a decent answer. The band then had to borrow SinoSikat?’s drummer Reli de Vera for their set. Kevin sported a lighted glove which is in line with this year’s theme: the 30th Anniversary of Thriller. He was joined by General Luna’s Nicole Asencio who also wore a similar glove. It is amazing to note that while Razorback was performing, a group of middle aged Korean women were right in front of the stage and having the time of their lives.

SinoSikat? performed next but alas, I could only catch their opening song as it was time for me to wrap things up. That meant that I also missed Up Dharma Down which I think was the real highlight of this year’s event. I’ve had a busy and rain filled week leading towards the 2013 Fête de la Musique. Thankfully, the weather fully cooperated and I didn’t feel a single drop of rain falling from the sky while I was there, although I was subjected to puffs of second hand smoke and other microbes floating around. I somehow regret not being able to interview The Naïve New Beaters fearing that their French might be too thick for me to understand. But I’ll take all of these as lessons learned as I will once again attempt to last longer at the 2014 Fête de la Musique. And once again, I’ll do it without drinking any alcohol.

Italian piano duo performs Italian opera music at the CCP

July 13, 2013, 7:30 PM
Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (CCP Little Theater)
CCP Complex
Pasay, Metro Manila

Luciano Bellini, piano
Antonella Vitelli, piano

The music of four Italian opera composers will be brought to life by four hands (courtesy of two Italian pianists) at a concert entitled Four Hands at the Opera happening this July 13, 2013, 7:30 PM at the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (CCP Little Theater).

Conductor, pianist and composer Luciano Bellini along with concert pianist and recording artist Antonella Vitelli will showcase the works of Italian opera masters like Gioachino Rossini, Giuseppe Verdi, Gaetano Donizetti and Giacomo Puccini. Fantasies culled from Puccini’s Tosca, Verdi’s La Traviata, Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia and Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor which were all arranged by Luciano Bellini.

Luciano Bellini is the permanent conductor of Nova Philharmonia as well as guest conductor or soloist for many European, Asian and Latin-American orchestras. His works have been performed in nearly all western countries, in various parts of Asia and in South America, and have also been recorded by several national broadcasting stations and networks. He and Antonella Vitelli co-founded the Italian Pianistic Duo.

In commemoration of Verdi’s bicentennial of his birth, the Overture from La Forza del Destino and two of his rarely heard solo piano pieces, Romance sans paroles and Waltz in F major will be performed in this concert as well. A century after its composition, the waltz was orchestrated by Nino Rota and was used at the Grand Ball scene in the film The Leopard, directed by Luchino Visconti. The Four Hands at the Opera concert aims not only to celebrate the bicentennial anniversary of the birth of Giuseppe Verdi but also to give highlight to Luchino Visconti.

Luciano Bellini and Antonella Vitelli

The Four Hands at the Opera is a co-production of the Cultural Center of the Philippines, the Philippine-Italian Association, Rustan’s, the Embassy of Italy, in cooperation with the Peninsula Manila, and Ralph’s Wines & Spirits. This event is being staged for the benefit of the PIA Endowment Fund.

Ticket prices:
P1000 Orchestra Center/Left
P800 Orchestra Right

For inquiries:
CCP Box Office 832-3706
Lulu Casas 895-2109, 895-2404
PIA office 815-1310
TicketWorld 891-9999

Friday, June 28, 2013

MensaHEROs: Messengers of heroism for Tanghalang Pilipino’s 27th Season

Tanghalang Pilipino aims for a heroic season when the resident theater company of the Cultural Center of the Philippines recently launched their 27th Season at a dinner held at the Main Theater Lobby of the CCP. Dubbed this season as MensaHEROs, Tanghalang Pilipino aims that their productions will be messengers of heroism.

Also formally introduced to members of the press during the launch was Jolly Gomez, Tanghalang Pilipino’s President and Carmela Manuel, TP’s Company Manager. In his speech, Gomez expressed his hopes to bring Tanghalang Pilipino’s productions to various parts of the country stating that the company’s productions are worthy to be seen by as many Filipinos as possible. Comelec Commissioner Grace Padaca was also present during the launch and she echoed his sentiments. She believes that a play or a musical can effectively deliver relevant messages quicker and a lot easier than speeches.

The productions to look out for in Tanghalang Pilipino’s 27th Season include their opener, Sandosenang Sapatos, the restaging of last year’s hit Ibalong, The Musical, Der Kaufman an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, the opera San Andres B. in celebration of the 150th birth anniversary of Andres Bonifacio and Mga Ama, Mga Anak, an adaptation of Nick Joaquin’s Father and Sons. The launch gave the guests a glimpse of the upcoming productions through song numbers by Trixie Esteban, the cast of Sandosenang Sapatos and by soprano Clarissa Ocampo. Also present during the launch were Jenine Desiderio and Suzette Ranillo, the lead stars of Ibalong and Walang Kukurap respectively.

Fernando "Nanding" Josef
Through this season’s offerings, we desire to inspire, to educate, to entertain and encourage thoughts of selfless heroism.  We invite everyone to join us in becoming messengers of hope, goodwill, truth, justice, and heroism. - Nanding Josef

Here is the schedule of performances for Tanghalang Pilipino’s 27th Season:

July 13-21, 2013
Tanghalang Huseng Batute (CCP Studio Theater)

August 30-September 15, 2013
Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (CCP Little Theater)

Der Kaufmann
September 27-October 13, 2013
Tanghalang Huseng Batute (CCP Studio Theater)

San Andres B.
November 29-December 8, 2013
Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (CCP Little Theater)

Mga Ama, Mga Anak
February 21-March 9, 2014
Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (CCP Little Theater)

Tanghalang Pilipino opens 27th Season with Sandosenang Sapatos

July 13, 2013, 10:00 AM, 3:00 & 8:00 PM
July 14, 2013, 10:00 AM, 3:00 & 6:00 PM

July 18, 2013, 10:00 AM, 3:00 & 8:00 PM
July 19, 2013, 10:00 AM, 3:00 & 8:00 PM
July 20, 2013, 10:00 AM, 3:00 & 8:00 PM
July 21, 2013, 10:00 AM, 3:00 & 6:00 PM

Tanghalang Huseng Batute (CCP Studio Theater)
CCP Complex
Pasay, Metro Manila

Tanghalang Pilipino, the Cultural Center of the Philippines and the Philippine Board on Books for Young People present Sandosenang Sapatos, the 27th Season opening production of TP. This children’s musical, based on the book by Dr. Luis Gatmaitan, will have its run on July 13-21, 2013 at the CCP’s Tanghalang Huseng Batute (CCP Studio Theater).

Trixie Esteban and the TP Actors Company

Sandosenang Sapatos tells the story of Susie, a shoemaker’s daughter who, despite her disability, still hopes to fulfill her father’s dream of having a ballerina for a daughter. Seen through the perspective of the daughter, this sung-through musical will feature fantasy elements like a diwata (fairy) and the shoes being brought to life. Trixie Esteban, who was last seen as the young Oryol in Ibalong portrays the lead role Susie. The musical features a colorful cast led by Tessa Prieto-Valdes as the Diwata, Jonathan Tadioan as the shoemaker, May Bayot as the mother, Hazel Maranan as the Diwata alternate and the TP Actor’s Company namely Regina de Vera, Marco Viaña, Remus Villanueva, Jovanni Cadag, Ralph Mateo, Doray Dayao, Raquel Pareño, JV Ibesate, Antonette Go, Lhorvie Nuevo and Aldo Vencilao.

Tessa Prieto-Valdes

The musical is written by playwright Layeta Bucoy with music by Noel Cabangon and Jed Balsamo while Tuxqs Rutaquio directs. This will be Tanghalang Pilipino’s first sung-through children’s musical. Not only am I interested to hear how the songs will sound like but I am also curious to see how the shoes will be brought to life by the members of the Actors Company donning rollerblades. Equally interesting would be director Rutaquio’s execution of the material since his and Bucoy’s previous collaborative works like Walang Kukurap and Titus Andronicus were definitely not for children and the faint of heart.

Director Tuxqs Rutaquio

Ticket price:
-50% student discount
-20% senior citizen discount

For inquiries:
Cherry Bong Edralin (0917) 750-0107, (0918) 959-3949,

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

CCP celebrates the flute with Flutopia

Flutist Jin Ta

July 6-7 2013
July 7, 2013, 7:30 PM Gala Concert
Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (CCP Little Theater)
CCP Complex
Pasay, Metro Manila

The flute will be at the forefront as the Cultural Center of the Philippines presents Flutopia: A Flute Celebration at the CCP to be held on July 6-7, 2013 at the CCP’s Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (CCP Little Theater). This two day event aims to raise public awareness and appreciation of flute music, products and services in the country, and to strengthen ties with Singapore.

Performances, masterclasses, workshops, lectures, exhibits and other flute services are some of the activities to look out for in Flutopia. The performance highlight of this event is the Gala Concert by Jin Ta, principal flutist of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, happening on July 7, 2013, 7:30 PM at the Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (CCP Little Theater). Joining him will be David Johnson, Kiko Candelaria, Marie Poblete, Hercules Santiago, Gary Silangcruz and Olivier Ochanine. Jin Ta will also conduct flute masterclasses on July 6-7, 2013 at the Little Theater stage area.

Music educator Lin Shumei

A series of mini-concerts can also be seen held at the CCP Little Theater Lobby. Performances happening on July 6, 2013 at 9:00 AM, 1:00 and 4:30 PM will feature the Philbanda Wind Orchestra, David Johnson, the PPO Woodwind Quintet, Olivier Ochanine, Adolfo Mendoza, Jina Suh, Dr. Sonny Yangco and Raymond Sarreal. The mini-concert happening on the next day, July 7, 2013 at 3:00 PM, will feature UST Conservatory of Music and UP College of Music students, the MPO Woodwind Quintet, flutists from community bands, the Philbond Trio, and the Candelarius Flute Quartet.

Woodwind technician Sean Tan

A flute maintenance workshop will be given by Sean Tan, a woodwind master technician at WindWorks & MusicGear Pte Ltd and also a regular performer with The Philharmonic Winds in Singapore. Lin Shumei, current head of the Flute and Music Academy Pte Ltd in Singapore will give a talk on Exploring Mozart’s Flute Concerto in G major. Both talks by Sean Tan and Lin Shumei will be held at the Little Theater stage area.

Flute specialist Hirofumi Tamamitsu
Flute specialist Toshifumi Watanabe
Flute specialist Shota Yamamoto

Hirofumi Tamamitsu, Toshifumi Watanabe and Shota Yamamoto, flute specialists from Muramatsu Flute, the top flute maker in Japan will be attending the event providing technical consultation and flute repair service. The minimal cost will be P500 per repair, covering adjustment/alignment and replacement of a maximum of four pads. A product exhibit and trade show will be among the attractions of Flutopia as well where flute accessories and music sheet will be available for purchase at reasonable prices.

For inquiries:
Ms. Nila Bondoy 832-1125 local 1609-1610, (0920) 273-7718
Marie Poblete (0915) 779-3017, (0922) 843-5809

Jazz band Unit Asia returns to Manila for the Philippines-Japan Friendship Month 2013

July 9, 2013, 8:00 PM
Music Museum
Greenhills Shopping Center
San Juan

Unit Asia
     Isao “Sankichi” Miyoshi, guitar
     Koh Mr. Saxman, saxophone
     Tay Cher Siang, piano
     Shigeki Ippon, bass
     Tomo’o Tsuruya, drums

The Japan Foundation, Manila in cooperation with the Embassy of Japan, Radio High 105.9 and Yoshinoya bring back to Manila the jazz band Unit Asia for a one-night concert entitled A Jazz Night with Unit Asia happening on July 9, 2013 8:00 PM at the Music Museum, at the Greenhills Shopping Center.

Formed in 2008, Unit Asia is jazz group composed of guitarist Isao “Sankichi” Miyoshi at the guitar, saxophonist Koh Mr. Saxman, pianist Tay Cher Siang, bassist Shigeki Ippon, and drummer Tomo’o Tsuruya. Special guest at this concert is highly acclaimed Filipino singer-songwriter Noel Cabangon. Admission to the concert is for free.

The ASEAN tour of Unit Asia is in line with the 40th Year of the ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation. July is also the Philippines-Japan Friendship Month and aside from A Jazz Night with Unit Asia, another music event happening this month is the J-Pop Anime Singing Contest Grand Finals and Cosplay Mini-Contest happening on July 20, 2013, 1:00-5:00 PM at Centerstage, SM Cinema at the SM Mall of Asia. Special guest in the event is Joe Inoue, co-host of the NHK show J-Melo, and the singer behind Naruto’s opening theme Closer.

Free admission

For inquiries:
Japan Foundation, Manila 811-6155 to 58,

Monday, June 24, 2013

Little Singers of Monaco debuts in the Philippines

July 9, 2013, 4:30 PM
FEU Auditorium
Far Eastern University
Nicanor Reyes St. Sampaloc, Manila

July 12, 2013, 5:00 PM
Sky Dome
SM City North EDSA

July 13, 2013, 7:00 PM
Greenbelt 5
Ayala Center, Makati

July 14, 201310:30 AM
Shrine of Jesus, the Way, the Truth and the Life
SM Mall of Asia Complex
Pasay City

July 14, 2013, 5:00 PM
SM Mall of Asia
Pasay City

One of the most celebrated boys’ choirs in the world, the Little Singers of Monaco will grace the Philippine shores for the first time in a series of performances happening on July 9-14, 2013 as part of their 2013 Asian Tour. The choir, led by director Pierre Debat, is under the royal patronage of H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco.

The Little Singers of Monaco is composed of 28 members ranging from ages 10-18 will have their Philippine debut performance at the Far Eastern University (FEU) Auditorium on July 9, 2013 at 4:30 PM. This performance is in line with FEU’s 85th anniversary celebrations and its cultural season themed Debuts and Farewells. Subsequent performances happen at the Sky Dome, SM City North EDSA on July 12, 2013 at 5:00 PM, Greenbelt 5 on July 13, 2013 at 7:00 PM and at the SM Mall of Asia on July 14, 2013 at 5:00 PM. The repertoire will encompass works written for children’s or men’s voices by composers such as Johann Sebastian Bach, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Giuseppe Verdi, Richard Wagner, Felix Mendelssohn and Marc-Antoine Charpentier. All performances are free and open to the public.

The Little Singers of Monaco

The Philippine tour of the Little Singers of Monaco is sponsored by the Consulate General of Monaco headed by Consul General Fortune Ledesma together with SinagTala Management for Filipino Performing Artists and its executive director Martin Lopez in cooperation with the Department of Tourism, Manila Pavilion Hotel, Ayala Malls, SM Malls and DZFE 98.7 FM, the official media partner.

Free admission

For inquiries:
FEU President’s Committee on Culture 736-4897

Rival Queens clash in Met Opera's Maria Stuarda screening at the CCP

July 9, 20132:00 & 7:00 PM
Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (CCP Little Theater)
CCP Complex
Pasay, Metro Manila

The high definition screenings of Metropolitan Opera productions continue once again at the Cultural Center of the Philippines with Maria Stuarda showing on on July 9, 2013 at 2:00 and 7:00 PM at the CCP’s Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (CCP Little Theater). This tragic opera by Gaetano Donizetti is the fourth Met Opera production to be screened at the CCP following last month’s viewing of the romantic comedy L’Elisir D’Amore which is another opera by Donizetti.

This opera tells about the rivalry between Queen Elizabeth I and Mary Stuart (Mary, Queen of Scots) not only for the throne of England but also for the heart of Robert Dudley, the Earl of Leicester. With the massive popularity of the television series Game of Thrones and its source materials, the novels of A Song of Ice and Fire, Maria Stuarda is a timely staging with all the intrigues and scheming involved in the story. American mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato leads the cast in the title role of Mary Stuart. Joining DiDonato are Elza van den Heever as Queen Elizabeth I and Matthew Polenzani as Robert Dudley, the Earl of Leicester who was also Nemorino from L’Elisir D’Amore. Also included in the cast are Joshua Hopkins as William (Guglielmo) Cecil, Lord Burghley,, Matthew Rose as George Talbot, the Earl of Shrewsbury. This production of Maria Stuarda is directed by David McVicar while Maurizio Benini conducts.

The Metropolitan Opera in HD screenings are delivered, using the high definition format and in Dolby Surround sound. During the opera’s intermission, special features such as behind-the-scenes look and interviews with the cast are shown. The Metropolitan Opera in HD at the CCP concludes with the showing of The Tempest on August 20, 2013 at 2:00 and 7:00 PM.

Ticket price:
-50% student discount
-20% senior citizen discount

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

Jed Balsamo's new work debuts in London

July 6, 2013, 7:30 PM
St. John Smith’s Square
London, SW1P 3HA

London Piano Trio
     Robert Atchison, violin
     Olga Dudnik, piano
     David Jones, cello
Bill Hawkes, viola
Christopher Laurence, double bass

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Piano Quartet No.1 in G minor, K.478
Jed Balsamo Piano Trio No.2
Franz Schubert Piano Quintet in A, D.667 Trout

The London Piano Trio composed of violinist Robert Atchison, pianist Olga Dudnik, and cellist David Jones along with renowned friends, violist Bill Hawkes and double bassist Christopher Laurence returns to St. John's Smith Square for a concert happening on July 6, 2013, 7:30 PM.

The London Piano Trio
Cellist David Jones, pianist Olga Dudnik
and violinist Robert Atchison

This upcoming performance featured the world premiere of Jed Balsamo’s Piano Trio No. 2, commissioned for the London Piano Trio by the Inter-Cultural Society of London. This is the first time ever that a work by a Filipino classical composer will be premiered in London. This piece is described as very innovative, accessible and pleasing to the ear. The concert will also include two very well known pieces: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Piano Quartert No. 1 in G minor, K.478 and Franz Schubert’s Piano Quintet in A, D.667 known as Trout.

Ticket prices:

For inquiries:
(020) 7222-1061,

Belgian artists Manu Mellaerts and Thanos Adamopoulos guest at Manila Symphony Orchestra concert

July 6, 2013, 8:00 PM
Francisco Santiago Hall
South Tower, BDO Corporate Center

Manu Mellaerts, trumpet
Manila Symphony Orchestra
Thanos Adamopoulos, conductor

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Symphony No. 35 in D major, K. 385 Haffner
Johann Nepomuk Hummel Trumpet Concerto in E flat major, S. 49
Franz Schubert Symphony No. 9 in C major D. 944 Great

The Manila Symphony Orchestra, in cooperation with the Embassy of Belgium, welcomes two Belgian guest artists for the second concert of their Color Your World 2013-2014 Concert Season on July 6, 2013, 8:00 PM at the Santiago Francisco Hall of the BDO Corporate Center in Makati. This concert, billed as The Trumpet Calls, will feature trumpeter Manu Mellaerts and guest conductor Thanos Adamopoulos.

The pieces to be performed this evening include Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Symphony No. 35 in D major, K. 385 Haffner, Johann Nepomuk Hummel’s Trumpet Concerto in E flat major, S. 49 with Mellaerts as the soloist and Franz Schubert’s Symphony No. 9 in C major D. 944 also known as the Great Symphony.

Trumpeter Manu Mellaerts

Trumpeter Manu Mellaerts, based in Brussels, is the artistic director of the brass ensemble Belgian Brass and solo trumpet player of La Monnaie Opera House. Mellaerts was in the Philippines last year participating at the International Bamboo Organ Festival and giving a workshop to MSO brass members.

Conductor Thanos Adamopoulos

Guest conductor Thanos Adamopoulos is currently the Music Director and Conductor of the Brussels Philharmonic Orchestra. He has served as the concertmaster of the Monnaie Symphony Orchestra in Brussels and as guest coach of the Asian Youth Orchestra. He was the guest conductor/soloist during the MSO’s concert entitled The Artistry of Thanos Adamopoulos back in July 2011.

The Manila Symphony Orchestra

Ticket prices:
P1200 Orchestra
P600 Balcony
-50% student discount
-20% senior citizen discount

For inquiries:
523-5712, (0916) 408-7549,
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