The Maestro referred to is that music whiz from Singapore Darrell Ang who has been in the country for over a week. He seems to be carrying a love rash for the Philippines around his neck. It couldn't be sunburn from a visit to Pagsanjan Falls, Laguna, where tenor Arthur Espiritu hosted him Aug. 7--that was an overcast day.
It couldn't have come from his free Sunday, Aug. 8, when he and Zara visited the Rizal Monument (my chance to recite all I knew by heart about our National Hero), Intramuros, the National Museum and Chinatown in that order (much of the tour was done inside the car driven by photographer-watercolorist Amado Chua as it was a gray, rainy day). So where did the rose color circling his neck come from? It has gotten the Philippine hosts so worried that last night, we parted from the Maestro and his girlfriend Zara more or less assured that they would get some calamine lotion to ease the itch. Medical consultation was done by telephone.
As I write this blog, I imagine him wielding his baton before the Manila Symphony Orchestra, twisting around now and then to cue the Aleron Chorale and the all-star cast. His mane of dark hair flies all over the place, and he hardly tames or presses them down so focused is he on the work at hand--the first-time staging in the Philippines of Rossini's La Cenerentola.
La Cenerentola, to be performed complete with two acts but in concert version on Saturday (Aug. 15) at the Meralco Theater in Ortigas Center, Pasig City, has generated a lot of excitement. With good reason because the moving spirit is Maestro Ang who believes that yes, the Filipino can! He calls us the most naturally musical, vocally, of all Asians. We're up there with all peoples of the world with a long tradition of singing.