Filipinos should support their world-class musicians, not only boxers and beauty-contest runners-up | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Filipinos all over the world should not support only Filipino boxers and beauty queens, but also world-class Filipino musicians  here and abroad.

Arthur Espiritu, the first Filipino tenor to invade La Scala  di Milan,  has just wrapped up a major role in “Don Giovanni” in Austria, “Barber of Seville” and “ La Cenerentola,” and is girding for his first Verdi role.

Last week, Espiritu debuted with Met Opera star John Releya and Brenda Harris in a Washington, DC, concert. As of press time, he will finish the rest of his “Don Giovanni” performances  with Bruckner Orchester under Martin Sieghart until the end of this month.

On October 8, Espiritu will be heard for the first time at the CCP Main Theater for a special concert with soprano Rachelle Gerodias, baritone Andrew Fernando, tenor Lemuel de la Cruz, tenor George Yang, with the Manila Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Rodel Colmenar.

Next month, Otoniel Gonzaga, the first Filipino tenor to sing the role of Verdi’s Otello, is back in Vienna next month as King Herod in “Salome.”

Andrew Fernando in Samar

Baritone Andrew Fernando, who is doing a contemporary opera called “Pocahontas” in Minnesota after his triumph in a Shostakovich operetta in California, will be heard for the first time in Calbayog City, Samar, as part of the First Samar International Music Festival on December 5 at the Ciriaco Hotel Ballroom.

Violinist Gina Medina and pianist Mary Anne Espina will open the  Samar festival on October 29. Heeding the call for a renaissance of classical music in Samar, Representative  Mel Senen Sarmiento sponsored  the  domestic air tickets of the artists going to the festival.

The impact of the trio performance of violinist Joseph Esmilla, cellist Victor Michael Coo and pianist Rudolf Golez  in the latest UP Balay Kalinaw concert was such  that it resonated all over Metro Manila with requests for repeat performances in the provinces.

Esmilla and Golez will perform in a new program at UP Los Baños  Umali Hall (Los Baños, Laguna)  on October 15, 7 p.m.  They will repeat their Balay Kalinaw  performance on October 21, 7 p.m.

The Los Baños concert is the first anniversary presentation of Dalcielo Restaurant and Bakeshop managed by Marissa de Jesus and Pinky Halos.


I had a long talk with Cecile Licad gushing over the superb trio. I asked her, “Can you do the Tchaikovsky Trio with  Esmilla and Coo in the same venue?”

“Why not?” came the answer.

Licad  recently dazzled the Great Mountains Music Festival in Korea in a  chamber-music program that included  Chausson’s  Concerto for Violin and Piano and String Quartet, Shostakovitch’s Piano Quintet; Bartok’s  Contrast with Violin and Clarinet; Bach’s  Keyboard Concerto in  A Major with Chamber Orchestra; Bartok’s  Percussion and Two Pianos; and Schumann Andante for Two Pianos and Two Cellos and Horn.

Licad  was called a “Bach specialist” after the performance.

After Korea, she headed for the Santa Fe Music Festival for a recital and a chamber-music program with Filipino pianist Victor Asuncion.

The result was sheer euphoria.

A Filipino fan of Licad, Dr. Lara Halili, flew all the way to Santa Fe and reported another sold-out and well-received concert.

Licad is headed for Hawaii next month for Tchaikovsky No. 1, and then another recital and chamber-music engagement in Stockholm, Sweden (a  Swedish debut), on October 29; after which she rehearses another live  Gottchalk music for the film “Louie,” for its London premiere on November 20.

They can watch  the remaining performance of tenor Espiritu in Linz, Austria, in Mozart’s “Don Giovanni”; relish tenor Gonzaga as King Herod  in the Oct. 15 premiere of “Salome” in Vienna; and enjoy baritone Andrew Fernando in “Pocahontas” in Minnesota till the end of this month.

They can also support Licad when she performs with the Honolulu Symphony October 15;  in Stockholm, Sweden,  on  October 29; and in London on November 20.

For tickets to the Esmilla-Coo-Golez concerts, call (02) 7484152 or 0906-5104270. For the Samar concerts, check with Ciriaco Hotel in Calbayog City at tel. (032) 7104208.

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