‘La Boheme’ to be mounted; Arrieta returns to the concert hall
Another opera treat coming is the mounting of Puccini’s “La Boheme” at Samsung Hall, SM Aura, Oct. 18-19, under the direction of Anton Juan.
Singing the lead roles are American tenor Scott Ramsay (Rodolfo); Brazilian baritone Fernando Araujo (Marcello); and Filipino sopranos Margarita Gianelli and Myramae Meneses, as Mimi and Musetta, respectively.
Cited by the New York Times for his “impressive bright-voiced tenor,” Ramsay had sung Edgardo in “Lucia di Lammermoor” at the Lyric Opera of Chicago under the baton of Jesus Lopez-Cobos.
Araujo had sung the lead roles in the baritone repertoire, including Papageno in “The Magic Flute” production of Ludwig Baumann in the Philharmonie in Munich; Don Alfonso in “Così Fan Tutte” at the Verbier Festival; Figaro in “Le Nozze di Figaro” in the production of Eike Gramss for the Mozart Opern-Institut, Salzburg; Marcello in “La Bohème” with Northwest Opera Ireland and Cairo Opera Orchestra under the baton of Nayer Nagui; Escamillo in the production of “Elisabeth Fuchs” with the Philharmonie Salzburg and “Rigoletto” in Russia with the Irkutsk Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Ilmar Lapinsch.
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Meanwhile, pianist Rowena Arrieta figured in a well-received recital last Sept. 20 at the Merkin Hall of the Kaufmann Music Center in New York.
Arrieta, now based in Long Island, New York, said she was very excited to finally do a solo program after a long while.
“For the past years, I have been doing mostly duo piano concerts with my good friend (pianist) Raul Sunico. Playing solo again was a good and welcome change.”
She was prevailed upon by her producers to offer something for general audiences and not for the dyed-in-the-wool music aficionados looking for profundities in the concert repertoire.
“For this reason, I chose pieces that are more popular to the general audience. Some of these pieces are quite dear to me as they bring back wonderful memories such as my studies in Moscow or my competing in the Tchaikovsky Competition. For example, Chopin’s “Heroic Polonaise” was one of the pieces I played for my graduation recital at the Moscow Conservatory, while Scriabin’s Prelude in D# Minor was one of the pieces from the first round of the Tchaikovsky Competition. By having a more familiar program, I hope to entice nonregular classical concert-goers to appreciate the classical genre more.”
Noted by the New York Times as having “fevered, demonic intensity and gentle, sublime introspection,” Arrieta performed a program that included Liszt’s “Un Sospiro,” Chopin’s “Heroic Polonaise in A Flat Major,” Debussy’s “Feux d’Artifice,” and Gershwin’s Three Preludes.
She admitted marriage and motherhood had widened her outlook. “I would say that marriage and having children have given colors to my emotional palate. They are reasons enough to thank God for giving me a wonderful family, which to me is a special gift from heaven.”
The memories of the competitions she won have given her a new insight into the double-bladed blessings of competing.
“By experiencing some of the toughest international piano competitions,” she explained, “I learned that the best approach in handling the pressure is by not comparing oneself with the other competitors. The competition is really within oneself. If you consistently strive to polish your craft and emerge a better artist or person by joining the competition, then you can consider yourself a winner. After all, music is unlike sports where one wins by being the fastest runner or the highest jumper.
“When one is young, it is quite common to direct one’s efforts toward attaining tough personal goals. At this point of my life, the focus is no longer on me. It is the people dearest to me and, most of all, our Creator, the source of all gifts and blessings.”
Arrieta is soloist of the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra in a season concert on Jan. 23, 2015.
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