Sunico stuns, Peñaverde impresses audience; Why Bocelli is on top


A prodigious, formidable program featured internationally celebrated pianist Dr. Raul Sunico at the “Melodies and Memories” concert at the College of the Holy Spirit Auditorium. San Lorenzo Ruiz Global Ministry was the concert beneficiary.

A masterful technique involving discipline, control and precision, while evoking subtle, artistic nuances, marked Sunico’s rendition of three preludes by Rachmaninoff, two Etudes and a Polonaise by Chopin. He captured the fiery Spanish spirit in “Aragon” by Longas. In the three native compositions – Abelardo’s Nocturne, Bato sa Buhangin by Cuenco/Sunico and Hanggan sa Dulo ng Walang Hanggan by Canseco/Sunico, the pianist manifested moving sentiment (not sentimentality) as he did in the familiar, well-loved “Liebestraum” (Dream of Love) by Liszt.

The daunting, overwhelming challenging piece, even for the most seasoned vistuoso, namely, the Vallee d’ Obermann, was interpreted by Sunico with tremendous power in the swiftest chords and runs, which covered the entire keyboard throughout the composition. How awesome was Sunico’s mastery!

The young tenor Roger Peñaverde, Jr., who has essayed lead roles in major operas in New York, delighted and highly impressed music lovers in popular songs – Lara’s Granada, R. Roger’s Some Enchanted Evening and Santiago’s Madaling Araw. His voice full, powerful, soared long and soulfully. Peñaverde’s charming presence enchanted his listeners even more.

Pianist Najib Ismail was the excellent accompanying artist.

The concert opened with the visually impaired Ambassadors of Light members singing the national anthem, the San Lorenzo Ruiz hymn by Fr. Dom Benildus Maramba and Anderson Go’s Karamay si Jesus, ending with the ensemble and Peñaverde rendering “This is the Moment”. Sunico graciously served as accompanist while Fr. Erno B. Diaz gave welcome remarks.

Ambassadors of Light (AOL) appeals for support through their “Adopt a Scholar Program.” You can send your donations to “Ambassadors of Light Inc.” c/o St. Paul University, 680 Pedro Gil St., Malate Manila, 1004.

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When I attended Andrea Bocelli’s concert some years ago at the Araneta Coliseum, I was seated beside a colleague. He asked me before the concert started, “Why is Bocelli so special?” To which I replied, “Because he is blind. Other tenors sing better than he does but his blindness sets him apart from them.” My colleague used my observation as his own in his next column, making up for his mental dishonesty by praising me to the skies as a critic.


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  1. Remedios Dizon on

    There were 2 beneficiaries of the concert: 1) the San Lorenzo Ruiz Global Ministry, and 2) the Scholarship Program of the College of the Holy Spirit Alumnae Foundation, Inc.