Choreographed by Osias Barrosa, Jr., for Ballet Manila founded by Lisa Macuja Elizalde, “Pinocchio” opened with Tippy Dos Santos miming as the engaging, charming Pink Fairy and serving as the Storyteller.
Ensuing scenes consistently sustained the magical, fairy tale quality of the ballet about Pinocchio, the puppet whose nose grows longer each time he tells a lie.
Both soloists and ensembles, attired in fancifully eye-catching costumes, demonstrated skill, stamina and the swiftest-pacing as they performed amidst fantastic, spectacular, breath-taking stage sets and décor, this including the terrifying head of a giant whale.
The curtains rose to reveal a grand tableau, with figures, still as statues, standing on tiers that reached the ceiling. What an awesome sight; how audience amazement increased through to the end of the show!
Character dancing, eloquent and explicit, told the story of the lithe and energetic puppet Pinocchio (Anselmo Dictado); Jiminy Cricket (Tiffany Chiang), Pinocchio’s friend; Gepetto (Brian James Williamson), the exuberantly devoted creator of Pinocchio; the Blue Fairy (Abigail Lynn Oliveiro); the Cat (Dawna Mangahas), who learned her role overnight as the original Cat unfortunately sprained her ankle; the Fox (Elpidio Magat) who with the Cat and the evil Stromboli (Alfran Salgado) imprison Pinocchio in a cage. Gepetto’s puppet finally turns into a real boy.
The Circus Master (Francisco Cascaῆo) reigns supreme in his excitingly spirited domain, alive with jugglers, acrobats, towering figures on stilts while a ferries wheel awaits passengers. Indeed, no scene could have been more realistically picturesque!
Hewing to Ballet Manila’s standard of excellence, the ballerinas and danseurs enlivened and enhanced scene after scene. How exquisitely the lissome and graceful fairies danced.
Precision, cohesiveness, discipline, vitality and, not the least, expressiveness, marked the performance of the Toy Soldiers, the Arabian, Indian dolls, Chinese toys, Columbines and Harlequins.
The ballet was brief but stunning. In her welcome remarks, Lisa prophesied that the viewers would appreciate Barraso’s masterful choreography. Certainly they did—immensely!
A Night at the Opera
To celebrate St. Paul University’s College of Music and the Performing Arts 75th anniversary, it presented “A Night at the Opera.” Part I featured singers in varying degrees of competence, potential, and promise at the picturesquely furnished stage of the Fleur de Lis Theater.
Sopranos Alexandra Remonde and Hannah Maurice Dasalla, tenor Jan Kevin Cuizon and baritone Jean Lue Dinglasan rendered excerpts from Donizetti’s opera L’elisir d’ amore. Tenor Russel Indab sang “Una furtiva lagrima”; soprano Mustika Hendaratama sang “Quel guardo e cavalieri” from Donizetti’s Don Pasquale; soprano Jedessa Calacday sang “Dopo l’oscuro nembo” from Bellini’s Adelson e Salvini. Baritone Grenal Enero interpreted “Di provenza il mar il suol” from Verdi’s Traviata.
The poised, seasoned tenor Ronan Ferrer, faculty member, interpreted “Lunge da lei” from the same opera. Soparanos Michelle Jean Valeriano and Ericka Cruz sang “Mira o Norma” from Bellini’s Norma.
In Part II, outstanding soprano Elisanta Cortes, Thea Perez and Nenen Espina sang “O mio bambino” from Puccini’s Giana Schicchi, “Vissi d’ arte” from Tosca, and “Son pochi fiori” from Mascagni’s L’ amico fritz, respectively. They highlighted the concert with their full, resonant, expressive renditions, as did soprano Mary Clarrise Balao in “Quando mien vo” from Puccini’s La Boheme. Tenors Jan Brian Aston and Kenneth Kyle Rarama sang arias from Puccini’s Tosca. The Chorale was most impressive in “Nessum Dorma” from Turandot and mesmerized the audience in rousing “Drinking Song” from Traviata.
Pianists Jonathan Coo and Najib Ismail admirably played the “Overture” to Traviata.
Along with Melissa Taquelan, they were the excellent assisting artists. Music Department dean Sr. Anunciata Sta. Ana gave closing remarks.