Monday, January 25, 2016

Bravi!

Tenor Arthur Espiritu was called by the audience to also render a song after the final ovation for his students. Accompanying him in "La donna è mobile" from the opera Rigoletto is Najib Ismail. Photos by Babeth Lolarga

Trust Espiritu to bring out nothing but the best from his 12 disciples. I missed observing his three-day masterclasses the other weekend, but I made sure that I would be back in Manila for "A Night at the Opera" at the Ayala Museum wherein the 12 showed the subtle or obvious changes in their singing and acting after being coached, or to use his own word, "hammered" by their Sir Arthur.

He shared how his workshop concentrated on character, what the young vocal artists were singing about. He was pleased that they responded well. Of this batch, he described them as "among the most beautiful voices I've worked with." Each time he returns to the home country leads to the discovery of "so much talent" here. He lamented at the same time how a lot of these talents do not get the support they need when it is time for important auditions within the country or abroad. Despite their talents, there is not enough support for music artists so they could grab that possibility of making singing their life's passion and commitment.

To the capacity crowd at the museum lobby (a positive sign for classical music events this new year), Espiritu hurled the challenge of continuing to support these artists. Congratulations to the Cultural Arts Events Organizer for taking a big gamble by giving the 12 the opportunity to learn from and closely interact with Espiritu.

Myramae Meneses and Iona Ventocilla play the already affianced but still flirtatious girls Dorabella and Fiodiligi in the aria "Prendero quel brunettino" from Mozart's Cosi fan Tutte.

Mia Ana Tanciongco looks the part in the aria "Porgi Amor" from Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro. Her song runs: "O Love, give me some remedy!/ For my sorrow, for my sighs! / Either give me back my darling / or at least let me die."


Guildhall London-bound soprano Renee Michaela Fajardo, the only female performer in trousers that evening, stays true to her character Cherubino, a lovesick page boy who sings "Voi che sapete," again from Mozart's opera The Marriage of Figaro. In Italian, the song mocks love "a feeling, full of desire, / Which is by turns delightful and miserable. / I freeze and then feel my soul go up in flames, / Then in a moment I turn to ice." In the third photo, Teacher Arthur is seen at right watching his student closely. After each workshop participant exited, he greeted him or her with a bear hug, fist bump, high five or firm handshake.

Nomher Nival is a properly emotional Nemorino in Donizetti's "Una furtiva lagrima" from the Italian opera L'elisir d'amore when he sees that a love potion for his snobbish beloved works. An audience member who had heard Nival sing the same aria a year ago said this second time around, he wasn't just hitting the notes, he was feeling each one.

From the top: Carlo Bunyi, Jan Brianne Astom, who sang a beautiful Shakespeare poem "Come away, come away death"
set to music by R. Quilter and Mheco Magalit (in red gown) were the fresh voices we heard for the first time and hope to see and hear more of.


Sexy Roxy Aldiosa socks it to the audience with her coloratura Rosina singing while twirling a cloth flower and purse "Una voce poco fa" from Rossini's The Barber of Seville.

Madness, thy face is Stephanie Quintin who brought the house down with her "Ombre Legere" from Meyerbeer's opera Dinorah. The wonderful thing about a concert of opera highlights is one doesn't have to sit through a three-act, hours-long opera just to hear a famous aria of a woman who loses her husband-to-be on the day of the wedding and is driven mad by the loss.

Nomher (playing Rodolfo) and Anna Migallos as Mimi exit dramatically as they sing their love for each other in "O Soave Fanciulla" from Puccini's well-loved La Boheme.

The faces and the future of Philippine musical theater and opera. Hello world! See you in a few! From left: Carlo Bunyi, pianist Gabby Paguirigan, Jan Briane Astom, Carlo Mañalac, Mheco Magalit, Mia Tanciongco, Stephanie Quintin, Anna Migallos, Myramae Meneses, Roxy Aldiosa, Marielle Tuason, Renee Michaela Fajardo and Iona Ventocilla.
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