Monday, January 29, 2018

Cultural Center of the Philippines 2018 season in a glance

CCP Vice President and Artistic Director Chris Millado (left) with members of
Ballet Philippines, Tanghalang Pilipino, and Philippine Ballet Theatre

The Cultural Center of the Philippines recently announced some of the productions, exhibits, and various events lined up for 2018 at a press conference held at the Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (CCP Little Theater).

Leading this year’s calendar are the milestone anniversary celebrations of some of the resident companies and other institutions that lead towards the 50th Golden Anniversary of the CCP in 2019.

Personally, I am already psyched by the various music performances that are in store for this year.

First up is the 45th Sapphire Anniversary of the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra. Aside from an Anniversary Concert, the PPO, along with Principal Conductor Yoshikazu Fukumura and Associate Conductor Herminigildo Ranera, will also embark on a national tour.

The National Music Competitions for Young Artists (NAMCYA) is also celebrating 45 years and Secretary General Renato Lucas is eyeing one of the biggest alumni success stories to perform at the NAMCYA Anniversary Concert.

The 50th Anniversary celebrations of the Saturday Group, Philippine Art Educators, and the Association of Pinoyprintmakers will be highlighted by their respective exhibits.

Ronelson Yadao and Candice Adea perform Amada from Ballet Philippines

A CCP Gala tribute will be given to National Artist for Music Lucrecia R. Kasilag in celebration of her birth centenary. Tita King, as she was fondly called, also served as the CCP President from 1976 up to 1986. The Philippine Women’s University will also mount another concert tribute to Tita King who was an alumna and former Dean at the College of Music and Fine Arts of the university.

Also happening this year is the return of the Asian Youth Orchestra performing once again in Manila after 14 years. Joining them on their tour are 2015 Tchaikovsky Violin Competition 2nd Prize Winner Benny Tseng Yu-Chien and 2015 Leeds International Piano Competition 1st Prize Winner Anna Tsybuleva. The Manila auditions were held recently at the CCP and let’s see who among our local hopefuls will make it to the AYO this time.

On the horizon is the Lyric Opera’s production of Ruggero Leoncavallo’s Il Pagliacci that also serves as a fundraiser for Marawi. This opera staging will also feature a Carnivale themed fashion show showcasing the works from 30 of the country’s top designers.

The CCP will also host the finals of the Akapela Open International 2018, a contemporary a cappella group competition, in cooperation with The Music School of Ryan Cayabyab. Past winners Acapellago and Pinopela have gone on to win other a cappella competitions overseas.

Other music treats to look forward to this year is a new edition of the Special Concert Series featuring pianist Clement Acevedo, harpist Madeline Banta, and tenor Arthur Espiritu. Making its debut will be the Young Artist Series co-produced with the Philippine Opera Company, a series of concerts featuring opera singers to be held at the Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo Lobby (Main Theater Lobby).

Isay Alvarez and Robert Seña

Real life couples Julienne Mendoza and Stella Cañete, Robert Seña and Isay Alvarez, and Franco Laurel and Ayen Munji-Laurel makes up the duos featured in this year’s Triple Threats concert series.

Happening this year also is the Order of National Artists Conferment Ceremony and Tribute. As of this moment, the latest batch of National Artists have yet to be announced. The newest performance space of the CCP, the Tanghalang Ignacio Jimenez (CCP Black Box Theater) is also scheduled to open with the inaugural performances to be revealed soon. This sets the ball rolling for the expansion of the CCP. And barring any further delay, the CCP Encyclopedia will finally see the light of day.

The Tanghalang Pilipino Actors Company in Ang Pag-Uusig

As for the CCP’s resident companies, some like the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra, Ballet Philippines, and Tanghalang Pilipino have yet to wrap up their current 2017-2018 seasons. A couple of popular productions from last year will have repeats like Tanghalang Pilipino’s Ang Pag-Uusig and Philippine Ballet Theatre’s The Merry Widow.

Philippine Ballet Theatre's Jimmy Lumba
and Kim Abrogena in The Merry Widow

What I listed above is just the tip of the iceberg. There are still other music performances that have yet to be finalized so I am not yet at liberty to spill them now. And also still happening are the usual shows, festivals, competitions, workshops, film screenings, and other events that occur regularly like the Pasinaya, Virgin Labfest, Wi-Fi Body, Cinemalaya, etc. As the dates for these events draw near, I’ll write more about them in detail.

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