Peque Gallaga’s ‘Sonata’ highlights voice of Camille Lopez Molina; Filipino winner of German prize is featured pianist in Manila Philharmonic’s Rachmaninoff concert | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

SOPRANO Camille Lopez Molina with tenor Otoniel Gonzaga
SOPRANO Camille Lopez Molina with tenor Otoniel Gonzaga

Soprano Camille Lopez Molina sang Verdi arias with the Manila Symphony Orchestra last Saturday and her voice was heard in all SM cinemas all over the country via “Sonata,” directors Peque Gallaga and Lore Reyes’ feature film entry to the ongoing Sineng Pambansa of the Film Development Council of the Philippines.


The scene was a rendition of Dvorak’s “Song to the Moon.” In the film, it is initially sung by actress Cherie Gil, but Molina’s voice take over for the rest of the Rusalka aria.


“It’s a totally different medium and the demands can be tedious, but because they’re (Gallaga, Reyes and Gil) candid and knew exactly what they wanted, it was a breeze,” the soprano said. “When Cherie asked me if I could do it, I didn’t hesitate to accept.”


Hers is a house full of singers, from her tenor husband (Pablo Molina) to their fast-growing daughters.


On top of that, she shuttles between teaching and coaching singers for various productions such as Ryan Cayabyab’s “Lorenzo,” which had a successful theatrical two-weekend run last week.


For the record, her mother, Myrna Ascutia Lopez, is a medical doctor who also happens to be a choral conductor.


She admits she lives in a musically “noisy” house. “My husband is always trying out something vocally (he is actually more the technician between the two of us); and my two kids love practicing their favorite songs at peak volume in their room while playing or taking a bath, or chatting with all their ate and kuya who are waiting to have their lessons or rehearsals or just hanging out at the house.


What I love is hearing my two girls give their opinions on whatever it is they’re watching or listening to—you’ll be amazed by how much children learn by osmosis. They really do what you do, not what you tell them to do.


“Besides my own singing, I have my students who are also developing and maturing. It’s a roller-coaster ride—hair-raising and scary but so much fun and, in the end, an exhilarating experience.”


CONDUCTOR Rodel Colmenar will lead MPO’s return engagement at CCP on Sept. 26.

She shares her thoughts on the best way to hone and nurture young talents. “There has to be a balance of empathy and toughness in dealing with young talents. What I love is how young people rise to challenges given to them if they know you believe they can do it. It’s hardest when personal issues get in the equation because, especially for Filipinos, we are babied and emotionally coddled even in adulthood, so emotional neediness is a perpetual hurdle that has to be addressed.


“During lessons, I let them know I mean business, because my job is to teach them. But outside lessons, we have to have fun. We work hard, we play hard. Young people become superheroes when they know their abilities are valued and they have standards to live up to. When you show them that you are allies and you don’t patronize them, they will always deliver!”


Lopez says she will always treasure her last Manila Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO) engagement with tenor Otoniel Gonzaga. They performed an Andrea Chenier duet. “I could sing like that all the time and not get tired. It was truly a great honor to have sung with such a great artist.”




The music news of the week is that conductor Rodel Colmenar and the MPO will be back at the Cultural Center of the Philippines on Sept. 26.


Featured soloist is pianist Helidoro “Dingdong” Fiel, who will perform Rachmaninoff’s Variations on a Theme by Paganini.


A product of the UST Conservatory of Music, where he studied under dean Erlinda Fule, Fiel  also studied at the Franz Liszt Hochschule fur Musik in Weimar, Germany, where he was under the tutelage of Rolf Dieter Arens and Karl Peter Kammerlander.


He was the first recipient of the Dr. Ernesto Lejano Award in Piano, after winning the school’s competition where he rendered Ravel’s Concerto for the Left Hand.


Colmenar has worked with such distinguished soloists as Cecile Licad, Russian violinist Anastasia Chebotareva, French violinist Nemanja Radulovic, Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli.


The Sept. 26 CCP engagement is a send-off before MPO’s performance at the Asia Orchestra Week in Japan next month.


For tickets, call tel. 5763132 or 0906-5104270.


Abelardo Hall anniversary concert


The University of the Philippines  College of Music will mount a concert billed as “Abelardo Hall: Celebrating 50 years, 1963-2013” on  Sept. 24, 6:30 p.m., at the Abelardo Hall Auditorium.


The program includes works by Filipino composers who graduated from the UP College of Music, a number of whom are National Artists in Music, such as Antonino Buenaventura (“Sa Dakong Silangan”); Nicanor Abelardo (“Cavatina,”  Nocturne in C-sharp Minor, “Mutya ng Pasig”); Lucio San Pedro (“Sa Mahal Kong Bayan,” “Sa Ugoy ng Duyan”); Felipe de Leon Sr. (“Sa Nayon Ko”).


Violinist Joseph Esmilla will make a special appearance, performing Abelardo’s “Cavatina” with  pianist Rudolf Golez.


The concert is free to the public, with the first 250 seats reserved for invited guests and the last 250 given on a first-come-first-served basis. Call tel. 9818500 loc. 2639, or 9296963.

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