Friday, October 24, 2014

Comedy films to bring out the laughs at the 13th Israeli Film Festival

November 5-6, 2014
Greenbelt 3
Ayala Center, Makati

For two days, the Embassy of Israel will serve Laughter from the Holy Land as they present the 13th Israeli Film Festival happening this November 5 & 6, 2014 at the Greenbelt 3. A total of eight comedy films, both classic and contemporary, will be screened for free over the course of two days.

To be screened at the festival are a couple of films by director Gur Bentwich namely Up the Wrong Tree (2013) which is about a restless bum and cynic who finds solace up a tree after he gets thrown off by his girlfriend and Total Love (2000) which is about a girl’s dilemma on who among her three former lovers to choose when they attempt to rescue her after she gets arrested in India. Another contemporary film in the lineup is Hunting Elephants (2013) by Reshi Lefe which tells the story of Jonathan who thinks that robbing a bank is his only recourse when he goes down in his luck with his finances.

Films from the past decades in the festival include Alex is Lovesick (1986) directed by Boaz Davidson where12 year old Polish-Jewish Alex falls in love with his classmate and also with his aunt who came from Israel, Pick a Card (1997) by Julie Shles which is about little people trying to fulfill big dreams in a big city, and The Matchmaker (2010) by Avi Nesher, a story of a teenage boy, a matchmaker working near a theater showing only love stories, who ends up falling in love with a woman who is all about women’s rights, free love and rock and roll. The oldest film in the festival, Big Dig (1969) by Ephraim Kishon is about a lunatic who digs a canal out of compulsion. And in a crazy twist, the only one who points out the lunacy of this project gets tagged as the lunatic.

Lastly, A Matter of Size (2009) returns and caps the 13th Israeli Film Festival. This movie, directed by Sharon Maymon and Erez Tadmor tells the story of a group of overweight men who form a sumo wrestling club in order to deal with their personal issues. This film was also part of the 11th Israeli Film Festival back in 2011. All films are in Hebrew with English subtitles.

Here is the 13th Israeli Film Festival screening schedule:

November 5, 2014
1:00 PM Alex is Lovesick
3:00 PM Total Love
5:00 PM Up the Wrong Tree
7:30 PM Hunting Elephants

November 6, 2014
1:00 PM Big Dig
3:00 PM Pick a Card
5:00 PM The Matchmaker
7:30 PM A Matter of Size (Special Screening)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Musicartes stages La Bohème opera at SM Aura Premier’s Samsung Hall

October 18-19, 2014
Samsung Hall
SM Aura Premier, Taguig

Margarita Giannelli, soprano
Scott Ramsay, tenor
Fernando Araujo, baritone
Myramae Meneses, soprano
Greg de Leon, baritone
Nonon Baang, baritone
Viva Voce
Manila Symphony Orchestra
Jonathan Velasco, conductor

Soprano Margarita Giannelli

After a year’s absence, full length operas came back on the live stage in full force this 2014, and to cap it all off is the one considered as the most romantic of all, Giacomo Puccini’s La Bohème happening this October 18-19, 2014, 7:30 PM at the Samsung Hall of the SM Aura Premier in Taguig.

Baritone Fernando Araujo

This opera, presented by MusicArtes, Inc. and A-Team, is led by the phenomenal soprano Margarita Gianelli playing the seamstress Mimì. Giannelli, a Rosa Ponselle awardee, impressed audiences with her performance as Micaela in Carmen back in 2012 and Aida at the Viva Verdi 1813-2013 Bicentennial Gala Concert. Her lover, the poet Rodolfo will be played by American tenor Scott Ramsay. Italo-Brazilian baritone Fernando Araujo plays Marcello while promising young soprano Myramae Meneses play the role of his on and off lover Musetta. Baritones Nonon Baang (Colline) and Greg de Leon (Schaunard) complete the main cast.

Tenor Ivan Nery and baritone Fernando Araujo
Tenor Ivan Nery and soprano Margarita Giannelli

Also appearing in this production are Michael Bulaong, Raymond Yadao and Viva Voce. Maestro Jonathan Velasco conducts the Manila Symphony Orchestra. Directing the opera will be Dr. Anton Juan whose last full length opera was Madame Butterfly, also presented by MusicArtes, Inc. The set design by Otto Fernandez is said to have a modern aesthetic even though the opera will still be set in the early 19th century. Light design will be by Joseph Matheu while the costumes will be handled by the MusicArtes team.

Soprano Stephanie Aguilar

The opera La Bohème is actually the source material of the popular musical Rent and now is the perfect chance for fans of the musical (and/or the film adaptation) to finally see for themselves where their favorite was actually based from. For me, the main highlights of La Bohème has got to be Sì, mi chiamano Mimì in which Mimì dishes out more poetry than the love struck poet Rodolfo and also her parting aria to her lover, Donde lieta uscì. But for many, their favorite is the most popular aria from the opera which is Musetta’s waltz, Quando men vo. Other highlights in the opera are Rodolfo’s Che gelida manina, Mimì and Rodolfo’s duet O soave fanciulla, and Colline’s Vecchia zimarra which is a sad farewell to his coat. Most of these arias were performed during the press conference held at Chef Jessie's with Margarita Giannelli, Fernando Araujo, Nonon Baang along with understudies Ivan Nery (Rodolfo), Stephanie Aguilar (Musetta).

Baritone Nonon Baang

It will also be very interesting to see how the Samsung Hall will be like since the venue hasn’t been used for a full length opera production before. MusicArtes’ Jay Glorioso told members of the media that one reason why they decided to stage La Bohème there is so that they can reach out to more people, especially those who frequent the SM Aura Premier.

Nonon Baang, Ivan Nery, Stephanie Aguilar, Jonathan Velasco, Margarita Giannelli,
Fernando Araujo, and Jay Glorioso

Ticket prices:
P5000 Orchestra Patron
P4500 Orchestra VIP 1
P4000 Orchestra VIP 2
P3500 Orchestra VIP 3
P3000 Orchestra 1
P2800 Orchestra 2
P2500 Loge Center
P2000 Loge Side
P1500 Balcony Center
P1000 Balcony Side

For inquiries:
Musicartes 895-8098, 519-3603
A-Team (0918) 921-6835
Nonon Baang (0921) 207-6945, (0927) 687-4403
SM Tickets 470-2222

Monday, October 13, 2014

Filipino trumpeter Rommel Reyes performs at PPO’s October concert

October 17, 2014, 8:00 PM
Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (CCP Main Theater)
CCP Complex
Pasay, Metro Manila

Rommel Reyes, trumpet
Herminigildo Ranera, conductor

George Gershwin Cuban Overture
Georg Philipp Telemann Trumpet Concerto in D major, TWV51:D7
Alexander Borodin Symphony No. 2 in B minor

The Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra, along with its Associate Conductor Herminigildo Ranera, welcomes trumpet player Rommel Reyes in their upcoming concert this October 17, 2014, 8:00 PM at the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (CCP Main Theater).

Reyes, currently based in Scandinavia returns to Philippine soil for this concert playing Georg Philipp Telemann’s Trumpet Concerto in D, TWV51:D7. The orchestra, conducted by Ranera will also perform George Gershwin’s Cuban Overture and Alexander Borodin’s Symphony No. 2 in B minor in this concert.

Trumpeter Rommel Reyes

Rommel Reyes took his first trumpet lesson in his local town band, the Band 4 of Malabon. He enrolled afterwards in the UST Conservatory of Music under the tutelage of Professor Roger Llado. After winning a scholarship from the Loyola Foundation, he earned his Master of Music degree from the Elizabeth University of Music, Hiroshima, Japan. He took further studies in the Royal Flemish Conservatory of Music in Belgium where he finished his Specialisatie Diploma and Teaching Diploma. At the same time, he took lessons with Professor Klaus Schuhwerk in Frankfurt, Germany. A NAMCYA prize winner, he also joined competitions abroad such as the Raimo Sarmas Trumpet competition in Lieksa, Finland and the International Jean Dartier trumpet competition in Brussels, Belgium where he was a laureate. He was a member of the Brass Band Willebroek, cultural ambassadors of Flanders, when they won the Second Prize in the National Brass Band Competition, Highest Level.  Rommel Reyes was a member of the World Youth Orchestra, the Asian Youth Orchestra and the Flemish Youth Orchestra during its concert tour in St. Petersburg. He also performed with the Royal Flemish Philharmonic Orchestra and the I Fiamminghi.

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

Greenbelt’s Met Opera in HD screens Rigoletto set in Las Vegas

October 14, 2014, 6:30 PM
Greenbelt 3 (Cinema 1)
Ayala CenterMakati

Giuseppe Verdi’s tragic opera Rigoletto opens to the public the Metropolitan Opera high definition (HD) screening series this October 14, 2014, 6:30 PM at Cinema 1 of Greenbelt 3 at the Ayala Center, Makati. This radical production of Rigoletto, directed by Michael Mayer, takes the opera to Las Vegas during the 1960’s from its original setting of Mantua circa the 1600’s.

I am not sure if what will be screened in Greenbelt is the exact the same show that I saw back at the CCP with Željko Lučić andas Rigoletto, Diana Damrau as Gilda, Piotr Beczala as The Duke, Štefan Kocán as Sparafucile, and Oksana Volkova as Maddalena. But flyers distributed for this upcoming series has listed the re-run of the production with a new cast led by Dmitri Hvorostrovsky as Rigoletto, Matthew Polenzani as The Duke, with Irina Lungu and Sonya Yoncheva making their Met debuts alternating as Gilda. But for those who missed the CCP screening last year, or for those who watched the recent Rigoletto production and still want more, this production set in Las Vegas with the gambling and neon lights, is a must see.

Other screenings scheduled for this season are Antonín Dvorák’s Rusalka on November 18, 2014, Giuseppe Verdi’s Othello on December 16, 2014, Giacomo Puccini’s La Bohème on January 13, 2015, Jules Massenet’s Werther on February 10, 2015 and George Friedrich Handel, Antonio Vivaldi, and Jean-Philippe Rameau’s Enchanted Island on March 13, 2015. All screenings will start at 6:30 PM

The Met Opera in HD series is made possible through the Cultural Center of the Philippines, the New York Metropolitan Opera and the Filipinas Opera Society Foundation Inc. in cooperation with the Ayala Malls Cinemas and Greenbelt.

Ticket price:

For inquiries:
Dominique Dionisio (0929) 784-8783
Barbie Maceda (0917) 887-9687

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Clarinetist Andrew Constantino wraps up MCO Foundation's Young Artists Series 2014

October 8, 2014, 7:00 PM
Ayala Museum
Makati Avenue corner De La Rosa Street
Greenbelt ParkMakati

Andrew Constantino, clarinet
Melissa Taqueban, piano

Marcel Dautremer Récit et Impromptu
Francis Poulenc Sonata for Clarinet and Piano, FP 184
Claude Debussy Premiére rhapsodie
Robert Schumann Fantasiestücke, Op. 73 for Clarinet and Piano
Aaron Copland Clarinet Concerto

The MCO Foundation's Young Artists Series 2014 ends with a performance of one of the most promising young clarinetists today, Andrew Constantino on October 8, 2014 at 7:00 PM at the Ayala Museum in Makati.

Clarinetist Andrew Constantino first drew the attention of world renowned clarinetist Marcel Luxen in his masterclass two years ago. Luxen noted, "Andrew is a talent to watch out for, a major talent in the making".  

Andrew started his first clarinet lessons at a young age of nine under his father, Ariel Constantino and become a member of his grandfather's band, Imus Youth Symphonic Band. At 12, he was accepted as a music scholar under the tutelage of Prof. Ariel Sta. Ana at the Philippine High School for the Arts.

As a member of the Philippine Youth Symphonic Band, he was able to perform in various venues such as Cultural Center of the Philippines, the defunct Philam Life Auditorium to name a few. Last year, he participated and performed at the Il Convegno Clarinet Festival held at the UST Conservatory of Music. An avid participant in various masterclass including those conducted by John Schertel, Wendy Mazon, Brian Gnojek, Marcel Luxen and recently Andrew Simon.

This concert marks Andrew's professional solo debut. He will be performing Marcel Dautremer’s Récit et Impromptu, Francis Poulenc’s Sonata for Clarinet and Piano, FP 184, Claude Debussy’s Premiére rhapsodie, Robert Schumann’s Fantasiestücke, Op. 73 for Clarinet and Piano, and Aaron Copland’s Clarinet Concerto with Melissa Taqueban as his collaborating pianist.

Clarinetist Andrew Constantino

This concert is made possible through partnership with Ayala Museum,  NCCA, Friends For the Cultural Concerns of the Philippines, Raintree Group of Restaurants, BusinessWorld, Her Words, Highlife, Lyric Piano and Organ and 98.7 The Master's Touch.

The MCOF Young Artists' Series is one of Manila Chamber Orchestra Foundation's core programs.  The MCO Foundation, established in 1985, has a mission of promoting classical music. Every year the foundation selects four of the most promising young artists, who are given the endorsement, performance opportunities, and exposure to a wider public. Oftentimes, the recitals of young artists under the MCO Foundation aegis have become the artists’ official debut as performers.

Ticket prices:
P1000 Premiere
P800 Regular

For inquiries:
MCO Foundation 750-0768, (0920) 954-0053
CAEO 762-7164, (0918) 347-3027
TicketWorld 891-9999 

Friday, October 03, 2014

Spanish entry to the Oscars opens 13th Pelicula-Pelikula

October 10-19, 2014
Greenbelt 3
Ayala CenterMakati

Película-Pelikula may be on its 13th edition this year, but there’s no bad luck in sight as the movie Vivir es fácil conlos ojos cerrados (Living is Easy with Eyes Closed) is set to open this year’s festival with no other than the film’s director David Trueba presenting it. The film, the winner of 6 Goya Awards and recently chosen as Spain’s entry for the Best Foreign Language Film category in upcoming Academy Awards, leads the selection of over 20 films (feature length, shorts and documentaries) to be screened in the biggest Spanish film festival in Asia this October 10-19, 2014 at the Greenbelt 3 Cinemas.

David Trueba

Aside from presenting Vivir es fácil con los ojos cerrados (Living is Easy with Eyes Closed) on October 10, 2014, 7:00 PM, David Trueba will be having an open forum right after the screening. His other films Madrid and Soldados de Salamina/Soldiers of Salamina will also be screened in the festival.

Running along with the film festival on October 10-18, 2014 will be an exhibit at Greenbelt 5 Fashion Walk. Opening on October 10, 2014, 5:30 PM, the exhibit, fusing film with human interaction, will showcase a mirror display that will reflect various clips from the films from the festival. Red boxes in tripods dispersed in the venue allow shoppers to view clips of the Spanish films.

Mexican films are represented this year with two documentaries, Espantapájaros and Azul intangible, and three feature films Implacable, La cebra, and La revolución de Juan Escopeta making up the festival’s A Window on Mexican Cinema in collaboration with the Embassy of Mexico in the Philippines.

Spanish Ambassador Luis Calvo

Other highlights of the festival include the midnight screenings featuring the disturbing and the bizarre Caníbal and Las brujas de Zugarramurdi, animated films Las aventuras de Tadeo Jones and La revolución de Juan Escopeta and a diverse selection of Basque short films namely A Political Story, Cólera, Democracia, Hotzanak, for your own safety and Zela Trovke that are co-presented by the Etxepare Institute.

As always, the audience will get to choose which film they like best through the Audience Choice Award. Stubs will be given throughout the festival where audience members can rate the movies that they have seen. For every five movies, viewers can then qualify for the raffle wherein the prize is a round trip ticket to Spain, courtesy of Qatar Airways.

A selection of films screened in the festival then travels to Cinematheques in Zamboanga on October 28-31, 2014, Baguio on November 6-9, 2014, Ilo-ilo on November 13-16, 2014, and Davao on November 20-21, 2014 through the efforts of the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP).

La vida inesperada/The Unexpected Life

During the press conference, members of the media were able to see the film La vida inesperada (The Unexpected Life), directed by Jorge Torregrosa. Set in New York City, the film tells the tale of two cousins, Juan (Javier Cámara), a struggling actor who does odd jobs to make ends meet and Primo (Raúl Arévalo), a handsome financial adviser who seems to get what he wants (dream job and beautiful woman) with ease. When Primo moved in with Juan right before his wedding due to unclear reasons, long standing jealousies, unresolved issues, rivalries, their dreams, aspirations, and also love lives are brought out into the open.

The film gave viewers a glimpse of New York City from the eyes of a foreigner. While a lot of people flock that famed city in order to make dreams come true it also holds true that in this place, one can have their dreams dashed and broken. It also highlighted how easy it is in New York City to hook up and/or fall in love.

What I loved most about the film was the music score by Lucio Godoy and Federico Jusid. Taking cues from George Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F and Rhapsody in Blue, the sweeping, jazz infused music brilliantly captured the grandeur and allure of New York City and its diverse inhabitants.

Javier Cámara can also be seen at the festival’s opening film Vivir es fácil con los ojos cerrados (Living is Easy with Eyes Closed) which should delight his fans here.

Película-Pelikula is presented by Instituto Cervantes, the Embassy of Spain, the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), Greenbelt and Ayala Cinemas. The festival is also made possible by Emperador Distillers, Vibal Foundation, Qatar Airways, in collaboration with the Embassy of Mexico, Instituto Etxepare, Ayala Museum, Alba’s Restaurante Español, New World Hotel and Espa-Fil.

Ticket price:

For inquiries:
Instituto Cervantes 526-1482 

Thursday, October 02, 2014

James Cousins Company takes Murakami’s Norwegian Wood from the page to the stage

October 9, 2014, 8:00 PM
October 10, 2014, 3:00 & 8:00 PM
PETA Theater Center
No. 5 Meynard Drive, New Manila
Quezon CityPhilippines

October 11-12, 2014, 7:30 PM
Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (CCP Little Theater)
Cultural Center of the Philippines
CCP Complex
Pasay, Metro Manila

James Cousins, one of the UK’s foremost choreographers, brings to the Philippine stage two masterpieces of contemporary dance - Without Stars and There We Have Been on October 9-10, 2014 at the PETA Theater Center and October 11-12, 2014 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (CCP Little Theater).

Taking inspiration from the troubled relationships portrayed in Haruki Murakami’s novel Norwegian Wood, There We Have Been ushers the audience into a secluded world of fragile intimacy and love lost, a drama which finds fruition in Without Stars. Abstract yet lucid, emotional and clever, Cousins’ pieces chime with a complexity that provokes admiration rather than confusion. 

James Cousins

James Cousins is a London-based choreographer who started an up-and-coming contemporary company in 2012 with the passion to entertain a wider range of audience and, at the same time, nurture and inspire local and international artists. He became the inaugural winner of Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures Choreography Award (NACA), and is now being recognized as one of the future faces of dance.  His company, The James Cousins Company, continues to explore new dance and choreography ideas for critically acclaimed productions and tours in UK and abroad.

Dancers and choreographers are also invited to take part at the James Cousins Contemporary Dance Workshop on October 11 and 12, 2014, 9:00 AM-12:00 PM at the Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (CCP Little Theater). The workshop module will consist of technique class, movement material from repertoire, and creative Session using tasks set within the creation process.

Cousins will also give a short talk on both dates about creative process and his experiences as a young dancer who has performed and toured internationally. This will be an eye opener and an inspiration to all young artists who are interested to pursue a career in dancing.

Scouted from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2013, Without Stars and There We Have Been are brought to you by the British Council, the Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) and the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

Ticket prices:
P450 October 9-10, 2014 PETA performances
P500 October 11-12, 2014 CCP performances*

Workshop prices:
P500 Participant*
P200 Observer

*-25% workshop/performance bundles

For workshop inquiries:
CCP Artist Training Division 832-1125 local 1605,

For performance inquiries:
PETA 725-6244, (0917) 518-3654
CCP Box Office 832-3706

TicketWorld 891-9999

Cock returns for one weekend re-run

October 3, 2014, 9:00 PM
October 4, 2014, 4:00 & 8:00 PM
October 5, 2014, 4:00 & 8:00 PM
2314 Chino Roces Ave. Extension

Red Turnip Theater’s production of Cock, a comedy about sexual identity had theater fans and critics raving during its successful initial run earlier this year. Due to popular demand, the Olivier Award winning play returns for a limited one weekend re-run this October 3-5, 2014 at Whitespace in Makati.

Topper Fabregas

Written by Mike Bartlett, Cock tells the story of John (Topper Fabregas) and his gay lover M (Niccolo Manahan) as they bicker, fight and eventually make up. John and M’s relationship is shaken more when the former falls in love with the woman W (Jenny Jamora). The consequent meeting of the three over dinner is made more complicated when M brings along his father F (Audie Gemora) who of course, wants his son and John to be back together. I don’t want to reveal who ends up together after the dinner since one has to get his behind over to Whitespace to find out.

What is remarkable about this staging is that there is just the barest of stage, a circular wall similar to a cockpit arena with the audience seated on four sides as if they’re watching an actual cock fight. And as the characters go through their journey, one is indeed compelled in their minds to place bets (like in a real cock fight) as to who among M and W would end up with John in the end.

Cris Villonco, Topper Fabregas, Ana Abad Santos, Audie Gemora,
Rem Zamora, Niccolo Manahan, and Jenny Jamora

With this bare staging (no elaborate set, no props, and no costume changes), blocking is paramount. A lot was told by the position of the actors like where they were standing, who was facing who, how close was one to the other and whether they were inside or outside the “cockpit”. Never had I noticed symmetry/symmetry in a play before especially in this one where there were just four actors. And the blocking was very crucial during the much talked about sex scene between John and W.

Rem Zamora, Jenny Jamora, Ana Abad Santos, Topper Fabregas,
and Cris Villonco

Red Turnip Theater has been around for less than a couple of years and yet it has already established itself as one of the companies who dare to take the risk and present challenging, thought provoking material to a theater audience who never realized before that they were up to it.

Ticket prices:
P1500 Premium
P1000 Patron

For inquiries:
Red Turnip Theater
TicketWorld 891-9999
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