Next year may well be a banner year for the venerable, 43-year-old Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), in view of the heady mélange in store for audiences, budding artists and online addicts: operas, musicals, concerts, plays, indie films, dances, social media, art exhibits, workshops and master classes, and digital and multimedia offerings.
“For 2013,” CCP vice president and artistic director Chris Millado announced, “the CCP will concentrate on three areas of development: music theater, arts education, and strengthening the CCP’s online presence.”
He spoke at a recent press conference at the CCP’s Aurelio V. Tolentino Theater. His presentation was interspersed with performances by the resident companies Tanghalang Pilipino; Ballet Philippines; Philippine Ballet Theater; and the Philippine Madrigal Singers.
Next year is the 150th birth anniversary of the martyred hero Andres Bonifacio, and the spirit of the Supremo (slain, like Antonio Luna, by fellow Filipinos) permeates two major productions lined up: Ballet Philippines’ “The Loves of Andres” (Sept. 20), and Tanghalang Pilipino’s musical “San Andres B” (Nov. 8).
Why not ‘Dakilang Anakpawis?’
Why, oh, why did the CCP not revive the great musical of Jerry A. Dadap, “Andres Bonifacio: Ang Dakilang Anakpawis”? It is arguably the finest of all Filipino musicals, with superb music and a libretto by poets like Rogelio Mangahas.
The late great baritone Elmo Makil played/sang the role of Bonifacio to perfection (although the role is more appropriate for tenors, with its high notes).
And so other organizations have taken up the initiative of reviving the musical in May, on the death anniversary of Bonifacio.
‘Aida’ and ‘La Vie Parisienne’
For opera-lovers, the big news is the Metropolitan Opera’s “Aida” by Verdi (Jan. 19), following negotiations between the CCP and the New York Met. But—hold your horses—it is not a live performance but a large-screen, delayed videocast at Aurelio Tolentino Theater.
What will be performed lived is Offenbach’s “La Vie Parisienne” (Sept. 12-13), in which opera talents will train with teachers from the Paris Conservatoire and then perform in the production.
“The thrust on music theater is a recognition that the Philippines is brimming with musical-theater talent,” Millado said.
Another major event is the Andrea O. Veneracion International Choral Festival (Aug. 8), bringing choral groups from the Philippines and “from all over the world” to compete in folk music, vocal ensemble and chamber choir.
And don’t forget the iconic musical “Katy,” the first big production for 2013 (Jan.16).
Other productions to watch out for, in my subjective opinion, are: “Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra’s “Shakespearean Delights” (Feb. 22); Tanghalang Pilipino’s musical “Ibalong” (Feb. 8); PPO’s Mahler’s Fifth (April 19); Musical Revues I, II and 3 (March 14, April 18, June 13); Cinemalaya (July 26); Ballet Philippines’ “Giselle” (yes, I love the dear old warhorse); Bayanihan’s “Celebrations in Dance” (Aug. 30); Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group (Sept. 20); Tanghalang Pilipino’s “The Merchant of Venice” in Filipino adaptation, with the actors cast as Nazis and Jews (Oct. 27); and “Bayanihan Folkloriada” (December).
On Feb. 27, seven major artists and an organization will receive the CCP Gawad Sining Award: Cirilo Bautista (Literature), Florentino Hornedo (Cultural Research), Ramon Santos (Music), Brenda Fajardo (Visual Arts), Agnes Locsin (Dance), the late Zeneida Amador (Theater), the late Rodolfo “Dolphy” Quizon (Cinema); and the Silliman University Writers Workshop (For the Development of Literary Arts).