Tuesday, December 16, 2014

American Jeffery Meyer conducts PPO in December concert

December 19, 2014, 8:00 PM
Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (CCP Main Theater)
CCP Complex
Pasay, Metro Manila

Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra
Jeffery Meyer, conductor

Johannes Brahms Symphony No. 3 in F major, Op. 90
Steven Stucky Jeu de timbres
Claude Debussy La mer

The Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra welcomes American Jeffery Meyer as he conducts the orchestra in their upcoming concert this December 19, 2014, 8:00 PM at the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (CCP Main Theater).

The evening’s lineup consists of Johannes Brahms’ Symphony No. 3 in F major, Op. 90, Steven Stucky’s Jeu de timbres, and Claude Debussy’s La mer. Some promotional images like the one posted above have Jeu de cartes, which is actually by Igor Stravinsky, listed erroneously. This concert is the fourth for the orchestra’s 32nd season entitled Sound Kaleidoscope.

Conductor Jeffery Meyer

Meyer is the Artistic Director of the St. Petersburg Chamber Philharmonic in St. Petersburg, Russia, one of St. Petersburg’s most innovative and progressive ensembles.  Called “one of the most interesting and creatively productive conductors working in St. Petersburg” by Sergei Slonimsky, he has  appeared with orchestras all over the world collaborated with dozens of composers, and commissioned and premiered numerous new works. 

As a pianist, Meyer has been in residence at the Banff Centre for the Arts, and in residence at the Aspen Festival as part of the Furious Band.  He performs frequently with percussionist Paul Vaillancourt as part of the piano-percussion duo Strike, which, in January 2010, released an album of world-premiere recordings of works written for the duo on Luminescence Records, Chicago.   He has been broadcast on CBC, has recorded and performed with the Philadelphia Virtuosi (Naxos), and has been heard as a soloist at the Aspen Festival.  During the 2001-2002 academic year he lived and studied in Berlin and Leipzig as the recipient of a DAAD grant in music, during which time he wrote incidental music to David Mamet's Duck Variations, which was performed throughout Berlin by the theater group Heimspieltheater.

Passionate about working with young musicians and music education, Meyer is also the Director of Orchestras at Ithaca College and is an active adjudicator, guest clinician, and masterclass teacher. He has served on the faculties of the Icicle Creek Music Center, Rocky Ridge Music Center, Dorian Keyboard Festival, Opusfest Chamber Music Festival (Philippines), Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, Marrowstone Music Festival, and the LSM Academy and Festival. Recent and upcoming activities include appearances throughout Southeast Asia including a guest residency in orchestral training at Tianjin Conservatory and concerts with the Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra  and appearances   with   Stony   Brook Symphony  Orchestra  and  Ensemble  X  in  New  York,  the  Indiana  University  Jacobs School of Music Chamber Orchestra in Indiana, Alia Musica in Pittsburgh, the Orquesta Sinfónica  de  Xalapa  in  Mexico,  the  MiNensemblet in  Norway,  and  the  Portland- Columbia Symphony in Oregon.

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

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Alice Reyes' Cinderella by Ballet Philippines

Ballet Philippines’ production of Alice Reyes’ Cinderella turned out to be the baptism of sorts for Denise Parungao and Monica Gana, two of the company’s young, up and coming ballerinas who were the belles of the ball as they danced the ballet’s title role. This ballet, the fifth staging since its debut back in 1981, marked the first for newly promoted soloist Denise to dance at gala evening performances while it was junior company member Monica’s debut in a lead role.

Denise Parungao

The neo-classical choreography by Alice Reyes, who is among the newest batch of National Artists to be announced but yet to be formally conferred, dispelled the notion that a ballet originally meant for children had to be a lightweight affair that can bore longtime fans and purists. The choreography was indeed very challenging right off the bat in the first scene with Prince Charming along with his brothers and friends having to contend with tricky turns in both directions. It didn’t let up as the various animals dressed in colorful and unusual costumes (by National Artist Salvador Bernal who also did the stage design) danced their respective numbers to amuse the distraught Cinderella during the garden divertissement. And there was also the highly anticipated Pas de deux that also called for solid classical technique from both pairs of Cinderella and Prince Charming.

Richardson Yadao

As expected, it was the wicked step mother and the ugly step sisters who stole the show. The stepsisters had to dance in an awkward, comedic, and grotesque form while doing it en pointe. The stepsisters’ roles gave the dancers more room and flexibility for interpretation and personalization. The pair of Katherine Trofeo opted for the serious yet vacuous approach contrasting with Ma. Celina Dofitas who somehow forgot to close the lid on the clumsiness department. The other pair of Rita Winder and Edana Labitoria portrayed the step sisters with a similar inelegant and bizarre manner.

Earl John Arisola and Monica Gana

Clearly one of the highlights in this ballet was the guest artists who alternately portrayed the stepmother. Madame Isabelle Garachon was a revelation for me. Ever since her husband, French Ambassador Gilles Garachon, assumed his post in the country, my friends and I have always wondered about Madame Garachon’s past as a professional dancer and we could only imagine her performing. And with this ballet, we finally got the chance to see her perform. Even if she had been away from dancing for 15 years, she showed that there is still the dancer in her as she managed her own doing pique and chaine turns along with the stepsisters towards the end. Margie Moran Floirendo, on the other hand, may not possess the extensive dance training and background that Madame Garachon had, but she still held her own, giving the people a glimpse of a mean streak which is so unlike the general impression of her as the prim and proper Miss Universe.

Madame Isabelle Garachon

Other notable performances of the ballet were that of the Prince Charming’s brothers Prince Fortune (alternately played by Victor Maguad and Emmanuelle Guillermo) and Prince Desire (alternately played Timothy Cabrera and Cyril Fallar). The Dancing Master (alternately played by Cyril Fallar and Victor Maguad) also had a scene stealing scene as he had the misfortune of teaching the stepsisters how to dance. It was a surprise for me to see Paul Morales do a double pirouette as the King. His alternate in this role is Butch Esperanza who also plays the stepmother in some performances. And I can imagine what a laugh riot that could be.

The music for Alice Reyes’ Cinderella was stitched together from various Tchaikovsky works by Francisco Feliciano, another newly proclaimed National Artist who sadly passed away recently. I think that it was a good thing that they didn’t use most of the popular ballet music by Tchaikovsky or else it would’ve been difficult for me not to think of the choreography from those other ballets.

Valentin Garachon, Isabelle Garachon, Alice Reyes, Margie Moran-Floirendo,
Arthur Garachon, and Ambassador Gilles Garachon

I’ve had the privilege to watch both gala performances with the first night featuring Denise Parungao as Cinderella, Richardson Yadao as Prince Charming, Isabelle Garachon as Stepmother Brunhilda, Katherine Trofeo and Ma. Celina Dofitas as Stepsisters Prunella and Griselda, Rita Winder as Fairy Godmother, and Paul Morales as King Christopher Rupert Vladimir Alexander Francois Reginald Herman. The second gala performance featured Monica Gana as Cinderella, Earl John Arisola as Prince Charming, Margie Moran Floirendo as Stepmother Brunhilda, Rita Winder and Edana Labitoria as Stepsisters Prunella and Griselda, Katherine Trofeo as Fairy Godmother, and Butch Esperanza as the King whose name I won’t repeat.

Ballet Philippines’ staging of Alice Reyes’ Cinderella wraps up this weekend with shows on December 5-7, 2014 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (CCP Main Theater).
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