The Embassy of the Republic of Italy, Philippine Italian Association, Rustan’s and Cultural Center of the Philippines staged an awesome opera showcase honoring the 200th birth anniversary of the great Romantic opera composer Giuseppe Verdi at the CCP Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo.
“Viva Verdi 1813-2013 Bicentennial Gala Concert” was both an exhibit and a performance.
The performances surveyed Verdi’s operas from 1839 to 1893—“La Forza del Destino,” “Rigoletto,” “Il Trovatore,” “Nabucco,” “La Traviata” and, my favorite, “Aida.” Dante’s “Ave Maria” and the Requiem Mass dedicated to Manzoni were also performed.
The Manila Symphony Orchestra was conducted by Italian maestro Ruggero Barbieri.
Leading the performances were Italian tenor Gian Luca Pasolini and baritone Alvaro Lozano, plus our very own Rachelle Gerodias, Margarita Giannelli, Andrew Fernando, Nenen Espina, Thea Perez and Ronan Ferrer, with Coro
Tomasino, most of them alumni and faculty of the Conservatory of Music of the University of Santo Tomas. Dance numbers were rendered by Ballet Philippines.
Jaime del Mundo played narrator and provided the plots of the operas so as to guide the audience on the excerpts.
Before the concert, images of the devastation wrought by Supertyphoon “Yolanda”/“Haiyan” were projected onstage, arousing “great emotion,” as confessed later by Ambassador Massimo Roscigno. The concert, in fact, said the envoy, sought “to provide moral support at a time of great sorrow.”
Roscigno said part of the proceeds from the concert would be donated to the typhoon victims.
Sponsors of the concert included Elburg Shipmanagement Philippines Inc., Italian Maritime Academy Phils Inc.,
Crewtech Shipmanagement Phils. Inc., Gourmet Farms, Fila, Rustan’s, The Peninsula Manila, HSBC, Trevi Foundations Philippines and Furnitalia.
Shangri-La’s Sage opens
Makati Shangri-La unveiled its newest dining destination, Sage Restaurant and Bar, in what used to be the iconic Red Restaurant.
VIP guests enjoyed endlessly flowing chilled champagne in flutes, natch! The service staff made sure that everyone had a proper drink in hand at all times, palanggas.
As we entered Sage from the Tapas Bar entrance, we first noticed a wall of teal chevron inspired by the inner lining of a suit. A floor-to-ceiling Enomatic machine is installed on the left side from the bar entrance, and across it, metal rows consisting of leather strips to connote belt buckles.
The central bar and marbled floor are made from England onyx, and plush chairs at both the bar and restaurant are locally custom-made and hand-sewn from leather, suede, velvet and tweed, and the wooden flooring is patterned after a herringbone design. Wall panels have a pinstripe pattern.
Shangri-La communications director Lesley Tan guided the guests around the bar, explaining its interior innovations, dahlings.
Makati Shangri-La’s general manager, très charmant Alain Borgers, talked about the hotel’s gorgeous new baby like a proud and beaming father.
More surprises awaited the guests. They were led to a winding staircase leading to the eye-catching restaurant on the second level, with an intimate setting for modern European fare and an awesome wine cellar for all vino lovers.
Later, Borgers introduced the new kid in town, Sage’s chef de cuisine Gilles Galli, from Grasse in Southern France, where you find endless fields of lavender flower, dahlings. He has previously worked for Michelin-star restaurants, including the très prestigious Michel Rostang in Paris.
Chef Gilles did an excellent job with his tapas menu, while Makati Shangri-La’s resident sommelier and Sage Restaurant operations manager Daniel Blais paired the food with handcrafted cocktails, wines and spirits.
Makati Shangri-La’s executive pastry chef Romain Renard made everyone forget one’s calorie-count with his to-die-for pastry creations.
The Chillittes band provided entertainment. Then the popular Zombettes spinning duo Ornussa Cadness and Sanya Smith took over with DJ Marshall White, and they made sure the guests were rocking the floor before they staggered out for home.
Leave it to Shangri-La group to come out always with the best of the best, n’est ces pas, dahlings?