Despite the passing of time, Romania’s celebrated coloratura soprano Nelly Miricioiu, now in her 60’s, captivated the Meralco Theater audience.
Charming, engaging, vivacious, she rendered songs by Respighi, Chausson, Chopin (arranged for voice), and Brediceanu. Arias, the most familiar being the encore “Vissi d’ arte” from Puccini’s “Tosca,” were from less-known operas “Simon Bocanegra” by Verdi and “Simerande” by Rossini.
Top notes were sung with awesome but refined bravura; lyrical passages, with empyrean beauty. The tragic songs and arias exuded fiery passion; the joyous ones, spontaneity and gaiety. The diva’s remarks in-between numbers, often humorous, added spice to the recital. Often she read from scores, detracting somewhat from her interpretation; a few notes sounded slightly tangential.
In sum, the performance was technically, dramatically and artistically superb. The native “Sa Kabukiran” by Velez and “Mutya ng Pasig” by Abelardo, and the encore “Ay Kalisud” by Santiago, made famous by our great soprano Jovita Fuentes, garnered frenetic applause.
The diva often held pianist Najib Ismail in a tight embrace and enjoined him to take bows with her after successive songs, thus signifying her deep appreciation for his excellent assistance.
Sincerest thanks to James Coyiuto for his invitation to the recital, of which he was one of the sponsors.
‘Harana sa Dapit Hapon’
With Hollywood and Broadway songs dominating our country’s musical scene for decades, the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) and Tribung Pinoy Foundation headed by art patron Danny Dolor presented “Harana sa Dapit Hapon” on March 11 at the CCP’s Abelardo Main Theater lobby. Soprano Gloria Coronel and Lisa Cabahug and the Kabayao family—violinist Gilopez, pianist Corazon and their daughters, violinists Siciliene and Farida—rendered an all Filipino program.
Other Harana afternoon musicales, at the same venue will consist of kundimans, harana, balitaw, danza and other love songs by distinguished composers, featuring eminent singers and instrumentalists.
At a recent press conference hosted by CCP vice president Chris Millado and PR office head Irene Rada, soprano Lisa Cabahug enthralled the audience with three Filipino kundimans and “Ay, Kalisud.” Guitarist Christian Mercader skillfully interpreted an OPM number. As stated by Danny Dolor, if the audience was not told it was an OPM, it could have been mistaken for a kundiman.
Succeeding Harana shows are set for April 8 with the Kabataang Gitarista, June 10 with performers Miguel Castro, Fame Flores and Los Lipeños, and on July 8, September 9, October 7 and December 9. The concerts are free to the public, aimed to revive love, enthusiasm, indirectly bring on nationalism and admiration for our very own music and songs.
Launch of books on FEU presidents
“Four Waves of Transition,” books on Far Eastern University (FEU) heads Dr. Lourdes Montinola, chairman 1989-2013, Dr. Felixberto Sta. Maria, president, 1989-1995, Dr. Edilberto de Jesus, 1993-2002 and Dr. Lydia Echauz, 2002-2012 were recently launched at FEU’s new, elegant Tech. Bldg., with Alfredo Roces, Dr. Lucio Teoxon Jr., Dr. Rustica Carpio and Dr. Isagani Cruz as their respective authors.
Martin Lopez “emceed” the program during which speaker Cruz urged each one in the audience to read the books. Board Chairman Aurelio Montinola 3rd (“Gigi”) stressed that “the pursuit of excellence,” the common goal of the FEU heads, has led the university to take its place among the country’s leading institutions.
Most lavishly praised by various speakers was Dr. Lourdes Montinola, and deservedly so. After the death of her father, FEU founder Nicanor Reyes, she assiduously devoted her time and effort to raising its academic standards, to vastly improving the campus environs and developing its premises, to offering to the public the FEU auditorium which was the main cultural venue before the establishment of the CCP, and to rendering the FEU accessible to poor, underprivileged students.
Music therapy at St. Paul University
As St. Paul College, now a university, marks its 75th year, it has remained committed, through all this time, to diligently honing the learning skills of Filipinos in music, in developing their aesthetic capabilities, and being a major proponent of choral music. Its Fleur-de-lis Auditorium was referred to as the “Broadway of Herran” for introducing Broadway musicals.
Recently, the SPU presented piano, string, jazz and vocal ensembles in a concert featuring faculty members led by pianists Mary Ann Espina, Najib Ismail and Jonathan Coo, and the premiere performance of Alfredo Buenaventura’s “Trio for Piano, Flute and Clarinet.”
The College of Music of SPU headed by Sr. Anunciata Sta. Ana has recently been offering innovative Music Therapy courses in the bachelor and graduate levels to children and youth with disabilities. In 2013, CHED designated the SPU Manila College of Music and the Performing Arts as one of the “Centers of Excellence for Music in the Philippines.”