La Scala diva Elena Monti regaled music lovers at the CCP Little Theater with arias mostly from operas by her compatriots: Verdi, Puccini and Tosti. Her lithe figure attired in a black gown, backless, and form-fitting, the beautiful and gorgeous singer mesmerized the audience.
Monti’s light-timbered voice (characteristic of coloratura sopranos) traversed the scales with ease, her admirable technical skill sustaining top notes with masterful control and smoothness.
The singer, an excellent actress, with the score on a stand in front of her, enhanced her renditions with highly dramatic action, movement and eloquent, constantly changing facial expression revealing diverse, passionate emotions.
Tenor Ronan Ferrer, also possessing a light-timbered voice, performed with energy and enthusiasm in his solos e.g., Verdi’s Il Poveretto and duets with Monti, e.g., Dis Lippen Schweigen from Lehar’s operetta “The Merry Widow”, Parigi O Cara from Verdi’s “Traviata” and the resounding finale with orchestral accompaniment. The Libiano, also from the Verdi opera which garnered lusty, prolonged applause.
Ruggero Barbieri, a familiar figure for having been Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra’s conductor, wielded the baton over the Musigear Chamber Ensemble consisting of PPO members, most of them are the prinicipal players of their respective sections. Barbieri honored them by identifying them as “soloists” in this pocket opera.
Under Barbieri, the orchestral interpretations of the Sinfonia (from Donizetti’s “Don Pasquale”) and Donde Listo (from Puccini’s “La Boheme”) were thoroughly polished and refined while manifesting spirit and vibrance.
The celebrated international concert pianist Raul Sunico, president of CCP and dean of the UST Conservatory, was the impeccable, flawless accompanying artist for the initial part of the concert.
How each of Monti’s solos, e.g., Vilia from Lehar’s operetta, electrified the listeners!