In the midst of many foreign pop acts and musical productions from Broadway and the West End, one small theatrical effort made waves four years ago. It was a musical revue featuring traditional and contemporary Filipino songs, sung not by legends of Classical singing, but by a troupe of dedicated artists. The show was Philippine Opera Company’s “Ang Bagong Harana.”
In celebration of its 15th anniversary, Philippine Opera Company (POC) is bringing back “Ang Bagong Harana” this October.
From children’s songs to tribal chants, from planting songs to courtship ditties, from stirring kundiman to the delightful show stoppers by Sylvia la Torre, “Bagong Harana” will showcase the best of Filipino composers from different music genres—Nicanor Abelardo, Ryan Cayabyab, Willy Cruz, Francisco Santiago, Antonio Molina, Resti Umali, George Canseco, Ernani Cuenco, Levi Celerio, Jose Estrella, Constancio De Guzman and Felipe de Leon, to name a few.
What was the secret of this small revue’s success?
“Ang Bagong Harana” was envisioned as love song to our country,” said Karla Gutierrez, who heads POC. “We wanted to show audiences that there is so much wealth that modern Filipinos can mine from our traditional and contemporary music. In this age of globalization, it is all the more crucial for us to know who we are and what we have that we can call ‘Pinoy.’
A lot of performers may say that we are the best in the world. But we wanted to go a step further and prove it by using our own traditional and contemporary material. And we wanted to showcase young singers who have committed themselves to classical singing and to our traditional material.”
POC said the success of the “Harana” should show “there’s a hungry audience for this brand of entertainment that reconnects Filipinos to their souls,” said Gutierrez. It’s the one thing we cannot face the future without.
“And that is why we continue to show ‘Harana,’ despite the seeming foolhardiness of doing a Pinoy musical revue when every other Pinoy seems interested in listening to anything but his own traditional music,” she added. “Not every Filipino feels a connection with his cultural heritage. Some may think traditions are old-fashioned and no longer relevant, and that they are unnecessary during these modern times. This is why we need to be exposed to our cultural heritage for only upon understanding our culture may we begin to value it.”
“Ang Bagong Harana” features Gutierrez, Cris Go, Lorraine Lisen, Melissa Camba, KL Dizon, Cristiani Rebada, Michael Odoemene, Noel Rayos, Lawrence Jatayna and Nazer Salcedo with the special participation of the Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group.
Directed by Floy Quintos, “Bagong Harana” features musical arrangements by four of the country’s most awarded arrangers—Von de Guzman, Jessie Lasaten, Jesse Lucas and Paulo Zarate.
“Ang Bagong Harana” will run at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza on Oct. 17 and 24 at 8 p.m., and Oct. 18, 23 and 25 at 3 p.m.
Call Philippine Opera Company at 8229609 or 0917-5272880, TicketWorld at 8919999; like Philippine Opera Company on Facebook.