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La Gerodias celebrates 40 years of song and friendships

Today’s most accomplished Filipino soprano holds a birthday concert on Oct. 8 at CCP. She will be joined in ‘Rachelle on Years and Songs’ by tenors Arthur Espiritu and Lemuel de la Cruz, baritone Andrew Fernando and conductor Rodel Colmenar
/ 12:58 AM October 03, 2011

Soprano Rachelle Gerodias  completed four decades of a life at the height of Typhoon “Pedring” last week, and she will celebrate it with a grand concert on  Oct. 8, at the CCP Main Theater.

Joining her are tenors Arthur Espiritu and Lemuel de la Cruz, baritone Andrew Fernando, and George Yang. They  will be accompanied by the  Manila Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Rodel Colmenar.

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The CCP Main Theater stage is full of musical memories.

Nineteen years ago, she debuted as Rosita (Musetta) in the Rolando Tinio version of Puccini’s “La Boheme” in the same theater. Six years ago, she sang with the great Otoniel Gonzaga on the very same stage where Placido Domingo sang “Tosca”  opposite Eva Marton in 1979.

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The year she sang with Gonzaga was also the year she had a master class with another singing idol, Mirella Freni.

Three years ago, she debuted as Liu  (“Turandot”) at the Volksoper Wien in Vienna, and  sang in the New Year concert  of the Sarajevo Philharmonic.

Last year, she was Rosina (“Barber of Seville”) at the International Opera Festival in  Daegu Opera House in Korea.

Last year, she debuted in Beijing   as representative of the Philippines in the first Asean Summit of Culture and Arts Festival held at the National Center for the Performing Arts.

This year, she debuted in Moscow in an all-Filipino program at the Glinka Museum, and teamed up with Rene Dalandan in a well-received New York recital.

She promoted Filipino songs in the world tour of “Aawitan Kita,” which will resume next month after her CCP concert.

Duty to give back

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“My musical life has been a wonderful journey filled with adventures, lasting friendships, and experiences that taught me how to love and appreciate life, and enjoy all the beautiful perks that come with being a classical singer,” says Gerodias.

“It opened doors that lead to different worlds—the world of the performing arts, the stage, the world of opera, and of different other places and cultures. I have nothing more to ask for in my life except for me to be able to sustain my career as long as I can so that I would be able to share my music and experience to as many people as possible. Looking back at what I have accomplished and experienced as a singer, I feel so blessed. God has blessed me with a supportive and loving family, loyal and sincere friends and mentors.”

The concert,  “Rachelle on Years and Songs,” will try to raise funds for a foundation that will give scholarships to talented musicians who cannot afford a formal musical training.

“As I turn 40, I feel it is my duty to give back,” says the soprano.  “With the help of my church—the Unida Evangelical Church—where I first learned to sing, I will do my share in nurturing and honing new talents.”

The concert will also celebrate friendship and working relationships with colleagues like Espiritu, Fernando, De la Cruz.

Of Fernando and De la Cruz, Rachelle says: “Performing with Andrew and Lemuel is like  performing on home grounds. It is always fun, and since we are very good friends,  we can be very honest and comfortable with each other. It is truly a privilege to share the stage with them, and an even greater blessing to share a lasting friendship with them. I am so proud of what they have accomplished as opera singers, Andrew in the US and Lemuel in Singapore. I call them  Kuya since we have been best friends from when I was still very young starting my career. I am so blessed to have them by my side.”

A pleasure to work with

“Rachelle is an excellent artist,” Espiritu says. “She is a joy to work with and an equally temperamental musician to boot.  She is a very intense performer and she is very hard on herself most of the time, which is a good quality most great artists possess.  I, most of all, enjoy working with her.  I respect her for her professionalism and high standards in artistry. Again, having my respect as a colleague made it easy for us to be really good friends.  A very warm person and a helpful one to boot.  I have worked with many artists that would take a stab at self-promotion, but Rachelle is not that when she talks to me.  She is so down-to-earth and so approachable.”

De la Cruz says it’s always a pleasure to work with her.

“Rachelle is a well-rounded musician. Not only does she possess a world-class voice, she  also is a good actress. Add to that her good looks!” says De la Cruz.

“She also  has very good and sharp ears and reads notes fast. I remember when we did  ‘Una Cosa Rara’ in Hong Kong. All the Chinese cast know their parts already when we got there and we were just starting to learn our music. However, after one week, we knew the music and managed to memorize them.

“My friendship with Rachelle will never change.  Loyalty and acceptance is the word for our friendship.”

Fernando says the concert is just a continuation of their friendship, since he, Gerodias, and De la Cruz have studied at the Conservatory of Music of the University of Santo Tomas, where they also teach.

“Rachelle and I have worked together since our early years at the UST Conservatory of Music,” adds Fernando. “Since she and I are the best of friends, we have developed ease in performing together. She is a perfectionist and a very smart musician. It is always a joy to work with her.

Call 7484152 or 0906-5104270 for concert tickets.

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