Sunday, August 9, 2015

It's the process, not the final product alone

And documenting the process has been my assigned, more likely a self-imposed, task during the making and mounting of Gioachino Rossini's La Cenerentola, the two-act comic opera that goes onstage Aug. 15, Saturday, at 8 p.m. at the Meralco Theater in Pasig City. Of the many things I do for love these I like to kiss the day goodbye with.

Hey, Mister and Mister Good-looking! Maestro Darrell Ang (left) is the most sought-after Asian international conductor today and is La Cenerentola’s music director and conductor. He leads the Manila Symphony Orchestra, the country's oldest at 89 years old, on opera night. He is the Bretagne Orchestre Symphonique du France music director. Tenor Arthur Espiritu, looking fresh despite having just disembarked from his plane from Europe at 1 a.m. on this day of the press conference, is Don Ramiro, the role that put him on the world operatic map. He's a sensation in Europe, and this blogger hopes that in his home country Arthur receives the same recognition factor as the idol of his childhood, Gary Valenciano.

Guy on left is the most hardworking freelance journalist I know in this hemisphere. He also gives nicknames to artists that stick for a long time. Pablo A. Tariman once called Arthur the "Prince of Cantabile." Indeed this prince of high Cs is that and more, a humanitarian, too, who was among the first to respond to the post-supertyphoon Yolanda relief and rehab efforts

Media oldtimers are reliable at press cons with a strong cultural angle. Seen at Gerry's Grill before lunch was about to commence and as they waited for the opera talents to come in are (clockwise): Pablo, Amadis Ma. Guerrero, Alex Dacanay, Bibsy Carballo, Chit Roces Santos and Vergel O. Santos. After meeting the stars of the opera, Chit observed, "It's an impressive, good-looking cast. Gone are the days when opera singers looked like two-door refers." In the next table Barbara Mae Dacanay of Gulf News Asia is shown interviewing Arthur and other music artists.

The Maestro with blogger Adrian Lontoc whose area of concentration is music and the arts

They play full-blooded sisters to one another and nasty step-sisters to Cenerentola (or Cinderella). They are Myramae Tapia Meneses and Tanya Corcuera.

Another looker is baritone Byeong In Park who will play Dandini, Don Ramiro's (played by Arthur) valet. The Saturday event also marks Byeong In's official and first-time appearance on a Philippine stage. Byeong In is married to the Philippines' Rachelle Gerodias, soprano, and has a baby boy with her.

The voice of American mezzo soprano Karin Mushegain we hear for the first time at the Steinway Manila Boutique when she rehearses with the rest of the cast and Maestro Ang. She has Armenian roots, resides in LA and came to Manila for the first time with a list of to-eat places and stuff. To her left is Alvin Seville, the assistant conductor who Maestro Ang brought with him at his expense from Singapore to ensure a perfect production.

Intently studying the music while rehearsing it at the same time are Arthur, Maestrao and Najib Ismail, who served as repetiteur

Maestro and the Manila Symphony Orchestra practice with such focus at Glorietta 5. The MSO being gypsies, except for a small office unit along Roxas Blvd. in Malate, the members use the mall for open rehearsals. Until such time the City of Manila or whatever institution or philanthropist offers the MSO a more permanent space, mall goers never had it so good, listening to the classics performed live instead of hearing the usual piped-in music.

For tickets, call Ticketworld at 891-9999 or the Cultural Arts Events Organizers at 997-9483, 782-7164 or 0920-9540053 or 0918-347-3027. CAEO can schedule ticket delivery for free.

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