Time for masks, magic and the music of the nightBy Tessa Prieto-Valdes
Philippine Daily Inquirer
“The Phantom of the Opera” fever is on and it is highly contagious! Meeting the cast once again got me all excited. After watching them in South Africa a few months back, I am all charged up to see Broadway’s longest-running musical live in Manila at the Cultural Center of the Philippines starting Aug. 25.
The cast and crew of “The Phantom of the Opera” were introduced to the press at a luncheon at Diamond Hotel, their official residence in Manila. Leading actors Jonathan Roxmouth, as the Phantom, and Anthony Downing, as Raoul, were present, as was leading lady Claire Lyon, as Christine. Claire is an Australian soprano who will no doubt enthrall Manila.
The musical is presented by Smart Infinity and Citibank, in cooperation with Philippine Airlines. Musical Director Guy Simpson introduced the talented local musicians who will be beefing up the international cast and orchestra.
We had a short chat and I shared with them some contacts for shopping, like Hat Momma by Marilou Laurena and House of Laurel by fashion designer Rajo Laurel. Shopping is definitely more fun in the Philippines—and cheaper, too!
The talented Filipino tenor Dondi Ong showed the audience a sample of his powerful voice and impressed all. Dondi was class valedictorian at the UP College of Music, where he graduated magna cum laude. He will surely make the country proud.
Diamond Hotel is offering several room and dinner packages for a memorable “The Phantom of the Opera” experience, as well as additional perks for ticket holders (See www.diamondhotel.com for details.)
“The Phantom of the Opera” in Manila is produced by Lunchbox Theatrical Productions, David Atkins Enterprises, Hi-Definition Radio and Concertus, in association with The Really Useful Group. (Tickets are available at Ticketworld, tel. 8919999, www.ticketworld.com.ph.)
Smart Infinity very nicely sent me Gala Night tickets for the Aug. 30 show, which should just give me enough time to whip up a grand opera ball gown. All this just to impress Wardrobe head Eugene Titus.
Men have it so much easier. My hubby Dennis just has to pick one of his suits and he is all done. He won’t miss this show, unlike the recent concert of Tears for Fears at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum when he was out of town. For that show, I have Wilson of Ovation Productions to thank for tickets.
Tears for Fears was a sell-out affair. The entire coliseum was shouting, “Shout!” as the band members left the stage. Of course, the encore was then the hit, “Shout.”
Vocalists Curt Smith and Roland Orzabal were blown away with the exuberant crowd. They also announced that all the proceeds from the sales of concert merchandise would go to the Philippine Red Cross for flood victims. Now that’s something to shout about!
Exclusive dinner party
So many grand occasions are being celebrated in the city. One of them was the ultra-exclusive dinner party that Wellington Soong, chair of Autostrada Motore Center, hosted with the heads of Louis XIII Grande Champagne Cognac. One of the most exclusive cognac brands from the House of Remy Martin, Louis XIII was served to Ferrari enthusiasts at the plush Ferrari Showroom at The Fort.
Louis XIII is a rare luxury spirit, widely considered as the “king of cognacs,” and using only grapes from the Grande Champagne territory of Cognac, France. Every drop of Louis XIII is placed in special crystal decanters exclusively handcrafted by Baccarat and shipped with a gold foil cork top and a matching crystal stopper specific to each bottle in a presentation box.
Master chef JJ Yulo prepared a sumptuous dinner matched only by the quality of the liquor. Joey Pineda, commercial manager of Remy Cointreau International, told me they were happy to work together with Ferrari, clearly a marque to be marveled at as well.
The evening’s highlight was the special sampling of Louis XIII Grande Champagne Cognac led by Wellington Soong and Cristophe Bourrie from Remy Cointreau International, who gave us all pointers on how best to appreciate this rare luxury cognac. Among the guests were Future Trade International executives James DuVivier, Yogi Ringler, Noel Sebastian and Eric Kahn.
Louis XIII Grande Champagne Cognac will also be served at our annual Red Charity Gala this Oc. 13. The Red Ball this year features fashion designer Cary Santiago. I recall that at last year’s Red Ball, the winning bidder at the special auction of the Louis XIII bottle was Kevin Tan of Megaworld.
Megaworld is one of the Red Ball’s very generous sponsors each year. And every year, Kevin is always one of our top bidders. Their businesses have been doing so well lately, and among their new openings of late has been the Lucky Chinatown Mall in the heart of Binondo.
The Lucky Chinatown Mall is impressive, with state-of-the-art cinemas, retails shops and restaurants. Best of all, it has ample parking and clean restrooms.
The auspicious opening was graced by no less than President Aquino, who also dotted the dragon’s eyes to awaken the luck of the day. A fun and hip fashion show of all the retail shop brands was held after the formal opening.
Speaking of restaurants, check out The Sexy Chef, a health food catering service under OBC 5Star, Inc., headed by chef Myrna DeMauro and her two daughters, singer-actress Rachel Alejandro and chef Barni Alejandro-Rennebeck. The Sexy Chef delivers meals for various diets, including South Beach, Pounds Away Calorie Controlled, Sugar Buster, Body After Baby, Health For Two, Fat Burn, Fight Fat, HCG, Cohen and many more.
The sister outfit of The Sexy Chef is Chef Mom’s D Lite, which recently introduced its latest offerings at a food lovers party at the Imperial Palace Hotel. Sponsored by Mother Lily Monteverde, the event featured Chef Mom’s Back to Balance Weight Loss Resistance Program and the hot, new diet everyone is talking about, Eat Clean Detox Plan, plus detoxifying juices from Juju Cleanse.
One of the highlights of that afternoon was the announcement of their new partnership with Sexy Solutions of Belo Medical Group. The Sexy Chef plus Sexy Solutions. What’s not to like?
Follow @tessavaldes on Twitter or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.