Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra performs at Mount Makiling

May 3, 2014, 5:30 PM
Tanghalang Maria Makiling
National Arts Center, Mount Makiling
Los Baños, Laguna

Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra
Olivier Ochanine, conductor

Enjoy viewing the sunset while listening to the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra, under the baton of Olivier Ochanine, perform on May 3, 2014, 5:30 PM at the Tanghalang Maria Makiling of the National Arts Center in Mount Makiling, Los Baños, Laguna. Entitled PPO Sunsets at Makiling, the program for the concert is a mix of Original Pilipino Music (OPM), Broadway, pops, and light classics.

Motorists may take public transport vehicles leading to the University of the Philippines (UP) Los Baños. Starting at 3:30 PM, free transportation will then be provided from U.P. Los Baños gate to the concert venue at the National Arts Center and back.

An open theater located in the slopes of Mt. Makiling in Los Baños, Laguna, the Tanghalang Maria Makiling is a National Arts Center structure that can accommodate up to a thousand audiences complete with state of the art lights and sound system suitable for low, medium and large scale productions and performances.

Established in 1976 as a haven for young and aspiring artists, the National Arts Center is tucked away in mythical Mt. Makiling, Laguna. Its various buildings and facilities are scattered over 13.5 hectares of the Makiling Forest Reservation and also houses the Philippine High School for the Arts, a government-run secondary educational institution for gifted young artists. The NAC's unique location offers a perfect vacation hideaway and its laid-back and contemplative atmosphere sets the mood to relax, unwind and recharge one's energies.

Ticket price:
Free admission

Monday, April 28, 2014

Lilet Never Happened Premiere Screening

Sandy Talag

In line with the International Human Rights Day, the European Union in the Philippines and Springfilm Foundation presented the premiere screening of the film Lilet Never Happened at the Glorietta 4 Cinema.

Jacco Groen

The event was graced by the film’s director, Jacco Groen from the Netherlands and the lead star Sandy Talag. Other cast members present during that night were John Arcilla, Marife Necessito, Antonette Garcia, Timothy Mabalot, Jermaine Patrick Ulgasan, Dorothea Marabut, Grace Onstantino, and Lara Unika Zapata who mingled with the other guests during the cocktail reception before the film screening.

The cast of Lilet Never Happened

European Union Ambassador Guy Ledoux, Terre des Hommes’ Asian Region Director Lenny Kling and Salinlahi Alliance’s Director Jaqueline Ruiz, all delivered welcome messages prior to showing the film. Jacco Groen and Sandy Talag gave closing remarks after the film screening.

Lilet Never Happened

The film Lilet Never Happened by Dutch director Jacco Groen, has already been entered in various film festivals in numerous parts of the world, picking out awards left and right before it had the chance to be screened here in the Philippines. So I’ve had high expectations when I watched this film during its European Union sponsored premiere screening over at Glorietta. Thankfully, the film lived up to its expectations.

Lilet, played by Sandy Talag, is a young girl forced into prostitution by no less than her mother, Rosing (Angeli Bayani). Lilet scouts for potential clients every night while trying to evading the police. During one of those times when she is caught and detained by the police, Lilet caught the eye of social worker Claire (Johanna Ter Steege) who ends up rescuing her along with Nonoy (Timothy Mabalot), another delinquent youth. Lilet and Nonoy instantly form a bond while getting educated in Claire’s center. Things may have started to look rosy for Lilet but it’s never going to be easy for her to get out of her predicament. With a mother who is a former prostitute and a sister, Tessie (Dorothea Marabut), who is a bargirl, Lilet grows up with a very warped sense of the world. She never shows any shame or remorse with peddling herself to elderly men, especially foreigners. Lilet flees both the clutches of her mother and the protection of Claire and ends up at the nightclub with Tessie. And with this environment, there’s no way for her to go but to sink further. But a good side of Lilet is shown through her relationship with her young brother, Dino (Jermaine Patrick Ulgasan), who Lilet tries to shield from the quagmire that she has sunk into. While I tried to remain hopeful that things will turn out well for Lilet in the end, I had to accept that her scars are way too deep for her to find full redemption.

I couldn’t help but compare this film to the Cinemalaya entry Nuwebe that also tackled sexually abused girls. While Nuwebe failed in coming up with a convincing character that was sexually abused, Lilet nonetheless was able to portray a girl who is both hardened by her circumstance while also retaining the traits of still being a child.

I may have had a few issues with the timeframe of Lilet, probably stemming from the fact that this film was shot in short bursts from 2009-2012. It made me a bit confused as to how long did Lilet work at the bar with her sister Tessie who got pregnant and gave birth during the film. I also found it odd the use of language in the film especially with Claire who spoke English entirely while seeming to have a decent understanding of Filipino, the main language of the film. It would’ve been a lot more convincing if Claire had some lines in Filipino, showing that she made some effort to reach out to the kids under her care as a social worker. This would’ve made for a less jolting experience whenever the scene featured characters of different social and economic standing speak to each other in different languages and yet, totally understanding each other.

Minor quibbles aside; Lilet Never Happened is a gritty, disturbing, eye opening social drama that is clearly for adults only. The young members of the cast were nowhere to be seen inside the theater during the screening and child psychologists were on hand during filming to ensure the young actors’ mental being after tackling such difficult roles. This film also hits close to home since I regularly pass by areas in Metro Manila where prostitution is rampant and I often wonder how these women end up in this trade. And I always give a sigh of relief whenever I fail to see someone like Lilet or any young girl for that matter prowling the streets. It’s a morbid thought to have but I couldn’t help it since watching the film and there’s no more denying that Lilet and an alarming number of young girls out there, hidden from sight, really do happen.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra debuts Spotlight Series with The Music of Ryan Cayabyab

May 3, 2014, 3:00 & 8:00 PM
Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (CCP Main Theater)
CCP Complex
Pasay, Metro Manila

The ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra unveils its first ever Spotlight Series by paying tribute to one of the Philippine music industry’s icons, Mr. Ryan Cayabyab. Entitled The Music of Ryan Cayabyab, this concert takes place on May 3, 2014, 3:00 PM matinee and 8:00 PM evening show at the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (CCP Main Theater).

The concert that also celebrates Ryan Cayabyab’s 60th birthday not only features the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Gerard Salonga but also some of the country’s notable performers like Celeste Legaspi, Basil Valdez, Hajji Alejandro, Mitch Valdez, Martin Nievera, Ogie Alcasid, Piolo Pascual, Noel Cabangon, Bugoy Drilon, Baihana, Ryan Cayabyab Singers, Mass Appeal, and the Ateneo Chamber Singers.

The Music of Ryan Cayabyab is the inaugural concert of the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra's, Spotlight Series, a chain of concerts that will feature masterpieces from world renowned composers, performers and music masters.

This show also ushers in Mr. C at 60, A Musical Celebration, a festival of various productions featuring Ryan Cayabyab’s compositions. Upcoming events include Rise: Rebuilding from the Ruins, which highlights his sacred music taking place on June 11, 2014 at the Manila Cathedral, Conversing with Mr. C , a talk back with the maestro himself happens on October 22, 2014 at the CCP Little Theater, Noli Me Tangere, The Concert , reuniting cast members from various runs of the musical with libretto by National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera on October 23-24, 2014 at the CCP Main Theater, Ballet Philippines’ La Revolucion Filipina, a ballet about Apolinario Mabini on July 25-27, 2014 at the CCP Main Theater; the Philippine Madrigal Singers’ The Grand Chorale Recital , the culminating concert of group’s Hands On Choral Workshop on October 25, 2014 at the CCP Main Theater, and lastly, the release of Simfonia Filipiniana: Philippine Symphonic Airs CD, a recording by the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra of Filipino folk songs reinvented by Ryan Cayabyab on November 14, 2014.

Ticket prices:
P3500 Premium Orchestra Center
P2500 Orchestra Center
P2000 Orchestra Side
P1000 Extreme Orchestra Side
P1000 Balcony I Center/ Lower Box
P640 Upper Box
P800 Balcony I Side
P500 Balcony II
-20% student discount on Matinee shows only

For inquiries:
Karlo Cea 415-2272 local 2409
TicketWorld 891-9999

Monday, April 21, 2014

Parokya ni Edgar’s Bente Press Launch

Parokya ni Edgar

For a band that has released albums with titles such as Khangkhungkherrnitz, Buruguduystunstugudunstuy, and Middle-Aged Juvenile Novelty Pop Rockers to name a few, Parokya ni Edgar went for a lot simpler title, just Bente, for their latest release in celebration of the group’s 20th anniversary. But one glance of the album cover, one can easily see that Bente’s logo was clearly taken from Cartoon Network’s Ben Ten which can only mean that two decades hasn’t toned down the humor that is expected from Parokya ni Edgar composed of Chito Miranda (vocals), Buwi Meneses (bass guitar), Darius Semaña (lead guitar), Gab Chee Kee (rhythm guitar), and Dindin Moreno (drums).

This double disc album, released by Universal Records, contains the band’s greatest hits along with two new tracks, the carrier single Ang Parokya and the bonus track, Salamat Po. Ang Parokya features guest appearances by Gloc-9 and Frank Magalona. This will be the second time that Parokya ni Edgar collaborated with Gloc-9 and Frank Magalona in a song with the first being Bagsakan included in Inuman Sessions Vol. 2.

For the casual fan or the newbie, this set is the perfect package for all the essential Parokya goodness. But for the hardcore fan who has been a fan of the band for two decades (and also who probably already has the entire Parokya discography), they would only settle for the DVD/CD edition of Bente. The DVD has almost 30 music videos and two documentaries that include the first gig of the band twenty years ago.

Bente is Parokya ni Edgar’s first release ever since vocalist Vinci Montaner left the band (again). But even though he is no longer officially part of the band, his presence is still much felt in this album.

Chito Miranda

It is interesting that for a band that has enjoyed tremendous success for 20 years, Chito Miranda still doesn’t believe that they’ve grown at all as musicians. This is further reiterated at the chorus of Ang Parokya which claims that they still suck after all these years. But Chito claims that it’s with sucking that they’re great at. According to them, it’s the friendship and the camaraderie among the band members, more than the musicality that resonate well with the fans. Even the controversy that has hounded Chito nor the departure of Vinci has slowed down the band a bit judging from the record breaking attendance that they had when they launched this album.

Bente, released by Universal Records, is available at record stores nationwide. It is available in CD only format and the CD/DVD bundle. Ang Parokya and the rest of the tracks are also available for download via MyMusicStore Philippines and iTunes.


CD1 Tracks:
1. Ang Parokya
2. Buloy
3. Maniwala Ka Sana
4. Silvertoes
5. Harana
6. Picha Pie
7. Halaga
8. Inuman Na
9. Swimming Beach
10. Sorry Na
11. This Guy’s In Love with You Pare
12. Mr. Suave
13. The Yes Yes Show
14. Chikinini
15. Your Song (My One and Only You)

CD2 Tracks:
1. Mang Jose
2. Para Sayo
3. Papa Cologne
4. The Ordertaker
5. Gitara
6. Bagsakan
7. First Day Funk
8. Macho
9. Akala
10. Boys Do Falling Love
11. Pakiusap Lang
12. Pangarap Lang Kita
13. One Hit Combo
14. Salamat Po

Music Videos:
1. Ang Parokya
2. Buloy
3. Maniwala Ka Sana
4. Silvertoes
5. Harana
6. Picha Pie
7. Halaga
8. Inuman Na
9. Swimming Beach
10. Sorry Na
11. Mr. Suave
12. The Yes Yes Show
13. Chikinini
14. Mang Jose
15. Para Sa’yo
16. Papa Cologne
17. The Ordertaker
18. Gitara
19. Bagsakan
20. First Day Funk
21. Macho (Version 1)
22. Macho (Version 2)
23. Akala
24. Pakiusap Lang (Lasingin Nyo Ako)
25. Pangarap Lang Kita (Version 1)
26. Pangarap Lang Kita (Version 2)
27. Pangarap Lang Kita (Version 3)
28. One Hit Combo

Special Features:
Ang Kwento ng Parokya
Ang First Gig ng Parokya

Saturday, April 19, 2014

San Andres B. Gala Night

Dondi Ong

Tanghalang Pilipino paid tribute to one of the country’s heroes, Andres Bonifacio by staging a new opera entitled San Andres B. in commemoration of his 150th birth anniversary.

This work, featuring the libretto of National Artist for Literature Virgilio Almario, the music of Josefino “ChinoToledo and under the direction of Floy Quintos, strayed from a straight, biographically accurate depiction of Bonifacio’s life but instead focused more on his personal transformation as he took on the mantle and became the Father of the Katipunan.

Margarita Roco

The difficult task of playing the title role of Andres Bonifacio fell into the shoulders of tenor Dondi Ong. In this opera, Ong had to portray a Bonifacio referred to as a saint, hence the title San Andres B. while still being tormented by conflicting views of not just of those surrounding him but also by the uncertainties within him as well.

The people surrounding him were led by Bonifacio’s wife, Gregoria de Jesus (Margarita Roco) who had to sacrifice a lot to support her husband in his revolutionary endeavors. Another hero Jose Rizal, played by Marvin Gayramon, earlier on became a hurdle for Bonifacio when their methods clashed. While Rizal didn’t approve, Bonifacio found support in Emilio Jacinto (Antonio Rey Manuel Ferrer) who became his right hand man at the Katipunan.

Marvin Gayramon

Bonifacio’s internal struggles were personified by the Four Beggars (Nicolo Magno, Terence Guillermo, Jose Nikolas Herrera, and Noe Morgado), four ragged figures from the Spanish Empire who were clinging on desperately to their grasp of the Philippines. Acting as a spark of hope and encouragement were the Three Marias (Regina de Vera, Clariane Avila, and Melanie Dujunco) with each donning a color of the Philippine flag.

Musically, the opera had a contemporary style, full of dissonance and a melodic line very much unlike the operas from the 19th and early 20th centuries. The music had some interesting textures mostly formed by the use of the parlato. Both the Beggars and the Marias parts were initiated by spoken lines that were followed through sung through lines that weaved polyphonically. It was only when something important had to be stressed that the occasional homophony was heard from the Beggars and the Marias. Grupo 20/21, a new ensemble dedicated in playing contemporary works provided the live music in this opera.

Antonio Ferrer

While I was mesmerized by the strangeness of the music, I couldn’t help be remain unconvinced with Dondi Ong’s portrayal of Andres Bonifacio. The other actors were effective in conveying their emotions on stage but it was odd to see that Bonifacio, the one who should be shouldering the heaviest emotional baggage, wasn’t able to show enough of the strain and turmoil that he was going through. Probably the most affecting part of the opera for me was when Bonifacio was given a glimpse of his tragic end if he ever took the path of the Katipunan and yet he remained steadfast towards that direction. But Ong’s reaction and eventual decision towards this revelation didn’t pack the same punch. I think that while Ong could hit the notes, he doesn’t possess the acting chops needed for such a complex character like Andres Bonifacio.

Jose Herrera, Terence Guillermo, Nicolo Magno, and Noe Morgado

The other elements of the opera (staging, lighting, and costume design) remained relatively straightforward which I think was the right call. Having contemporary music was already risky and to pull back in the stage direction, opting for clarity in storytelling instead of bombarding audiences with too much spectacle, made it a lot easier for me (and possibly everybody else) to digest fully the new music and to take this new work in.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Rachelle Gerodias’ Philippine Art Songs Album Launch

Rachelle Gerodias and Raul Sunico

The release of soprano Rachelle Gerodias’ CD entitled Philippine Art Songs is a breath of fresh air and a very welcomed addition to the local recording scene that is sorely lacking material in this genre of operatic singing. This thirteen track CD is made up of well loved Philippine tunes personally hand picked by Gerodias herself. And accompanying her in this album is no other than pianist Raul Sunico.

The album starts with Sa Kabukiran by Manuel Velez and Johnny Benasa, a popular crowd pleaser in live performances. Another Velez composition, Ako’y Kampupot (lyrics by Dominador Santiago) is also included in the album. The music of National Artist for Music Nicanor Abelardo can be heard in Bituing Marikit (lyrics by Cervando Angeles), Mutya ng Pasig (lyrics by Deogracias del Rosario), and Nasaan Ka Irog (lyrics by Jose Corazon de Jesus).

I will not be surprised if listeners get teary eyed when they get to hear Josefino Cenizal’s Hindi Kita Malimot, Augusto Espino’s Kundiman ng Langit, Mike Velarde and Dominador Santiago’s Dahil Sa Iyo and Restie Umali & Levi Celerio’s  Saan Ka Man Naroroon. The last one had a slight change in the lyrics that will pierce right through the hearts of Filipinos overseas.

Soprano Rachelle Gerodias

The only new track in the album is Ang Bilis Naman Dumaan ng Panahon by Ryan Cayabyab which is just one song from a cycle that he composed and dedicated to Rachelle. She said that they had a chance to work together before and that the next time they saw each other, he presented to her this newly composed work. I was able to watch the first ever public performance of this song and it only made me determined to ask (or possibly beg) Ryan Cayabyab to have Rachelle perform the entire cycle on stage with a full orchestra.

Constancio de Guzman’s Pamaypay ng Maynila, Santiago Suarez and Davao Santiago’s Tag-Araw, and Francisco Santiago and J. Hernandez Gavira’s Ano Kaya Ang Kapalaran round up the rest of the album. Proceeds of the CD will benefit the Rachelle Gerodias Music Foundation Inc. which also aims to give more scholarships to deserving music students.

Rachelle Gerodias’ Philippine Art Songs is available at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. Copies of the album can also be ordered through her website.

Philippine Art Songs

1. Sa Kabukiran
2. Bituing Marikit
3. Kundiman ng Langit
4. Mutya ng Pasig
5. Ako’y Kampupot
6. Nasaan Ka Irog
7. Dahil Sa Iyo
8. Tag-Araw
9. Ang Bilis Naman Dumaan ng Panahon
10. Pamaypay ng Maynila
11. Saan Ka Man Naroroon
12. Hindi Kita Malimot
13. Ano Kaya ang Kapalaran

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra ends 31st Season with film music concert

Conductor Olivier Ochanine

April 11, 2014, 8:00 PM
Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (CCP Main Theater)
CCP Complex
Pasay, Metro Manila

Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra
Olivier Ochanine, conductor

Richard Strauss Also Sprach Zarathustra
Gioachino Rossini William Tell Overture
Jerry Goldsmith, Alexander Courage (arranger) Music from Mulan
Charles Gounod Funeral March of a Marionette
John Williams Music from Pirates of the Caribbean
Tatsuo Takai Astro Boy March 
John Williams Music from Star Wars
Ralph Ford Go West!

The Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra bids its 31st season adieu with a concert with a concert featuring music popularized by the silver screen and the boob tube. This season ending concert, conducted by the orchestra’s principal conductor and music director Olivier Ochanine, will be held on April 11, 2014, 8:00 PM at the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (CCP Main Theater).

The Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra

Pieces to be performed at the concert is led by Richard Strauss’ Also Sprach Zarathustra, Op. 30. This symphonic poem became well known in pop culture when the piece’s Introduction/Sunrise fanfare was used at the opening scene of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: The Space Odyssey. And in this concert, the PPO will play the piece in its entirety giving the audience the rare opportunity to hear more than just the iconic opening brass fanfare.

Other pieces include Charles Gonoud's Funeral March of a Marionette, more popularly known as the theme of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Gioachino Rossini's William Tell Overture, fondly known as the theme of The Lone Ranger and Ralph Ford's Go West! an arrangement of Western flim music including the seminal Spaghetti Western theme of The Good, The Bad and the Ugly. Adventure and science fiction is represented by John Williams' music from Pirates of the Caribbean and Star Wars. Animated films take center stage with Alexander Courage's arrangement of music from Mulan by Jerry Goldsmith and Tatsuo Takai's Astro Boy March from the anime classic Astro Boy.

Ticket prices:
P1500 Orchestra Center
P1200 Orchestra Side
P800 Extreme Orchestra Side
P500 Balcony I Center
P400 Balcony I Side
P300 Balcony II
-50% student discount
-20% senior citizen discount

For inquiries:
CCP Marketing Department 832-1125 local 1806
CCP Box Office 832-3704
TicketWorld 891-9999

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Young pianists compete at the Philippine Steinway Youth Piano Competition 2014

April 26, 2014, 6:00 PM
Corazon Aquino Hall
St. Scholastica’s College

The search is on for to the country's best young pianists at the Philippine Steinway Youth Piano Competition 2014 happening this April 26, 2014, 6:00 PM at the Corazon Aquino Hall at St. Scholastica’s College, Manila.

The winner of this competition, participated by pianists aged 17 and below, will compete with representatives from Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam in the Steinway Regional Finals Asia Pacific that will take place in Singapore on July 26, 2014. The winner in Singapore will then get to represent the region in the prestigious International Steinway Festival in Hamburg, Germany in September. In the International Steinway Festival, talents from different parts of the globe, including Europe, East Asia, and Asia Pacific, will gather to celebrate musical excellence in a non-competitive concert.

Ms. Celine Goh, chairlady of the Steinway Youth Piano Competition, says, “The Steinway Youth Piano Competition is a holistic approach to the art of piano playing and it is a platform for young budding musicians to get together, foster friendship, and the joy of making music. There is of course a competition pressure but the real reward is to be part of it, and to be part of a big family of young people who love to play the piano.”

The Philippine Steinway Youth Piano Competition 2014 is organized by Steinway Boutique Manila, the exclusive dealer of Steinway & Sons pianos in the Philippines. Scheduled to open in April 2014 at the 6750 Building, Ayala Avenue, Makati, Steinway Boutique Manila will have a selection of Steinway & Sons as well as the Steinway-designed Boston and Essex pianos.

For inquiries:
Joyce Tan 718-0333, joycetan@steinway-boutique.com.ph
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