FOREMOST Filipino tenor Arthur Espiritu will take time off his busy European schedule to hold a master class for the Philippines’ promising singers on Jan. 15-17 at Black Box Studio of Music Artes on Kalayaan Avenue, Makati (near Rockwell).
Espiritu will hold the class before his debut at the Frankfurt Opera where he is scheduled to perform the role of Rinucio in Puccini’s “Gianni Schicchi” on March 13, 20, 25, 28 and 31, and April 3 and 9.
Espiritu’s gesture is most generous indeed as the country’s new crop of promising singers is in dire need of a good mentor who can speak from actual stage experience aside from what he learned from his mentors.
The country is awash with all kinds of singing competitions, all of them not sympathetic to classical singing.
A classical-voice student managed to enter such a competition and, as soon as she opened her mouth, a comedienne and an aspiring actress who were in the jury didn’t know what to do with her talent. They probably found the high notes bizarre and advised her to try her luck next time.
When the same contestant tried another pop competition in Singapore, the jury got bawled off, easily entranced, and singled out her performance as one of the best. She even got a standing ovation. This reaction was a complete opposite to what she got in her own homeland.
What I am saying is that this country needs a dose of classical singing to balance its pop and birit orientation. The lack of exposure is inherent even among those members of the jury who should know more than deliver sound bites on what they liked and didn’t.
This country is doubly lucky because the world’s most revered singers had sung in this part of Asia, starting with Placido Domingo to Luciano Pavarotti and José Carreras, among others.
There was a big gap when the Iloilo-born tenor Otoniel Gonzaga and Cagayan-born Eleanor Calbes retired from the opera scene and held well-received farewell concerts in Manila.
But when tenor Espiritu debuted in Manila at the Philamlife Theater in 2010 after his debut at the La Scala di Milan, lovers of fine singing rejoiced and found an ally and an operatic role model.
Indeed, there is a lot that voice students can learn from Espiritu when his master class commences Jan. 15-17 at the Black Box Studio of Music Artes, another indefatigable ally of opera in this country.
The workshop itinerary at a glance:
Day 1: Getting to know the voice and finding what repertoire is best for the voice;
Day 2: Character analysis and technique;
Day 3: Finishing all things worked on and advice to young artists embarking on auditioning in school or opera training programs.
The organizers—the Cultural Arts Events Organizers and Music Artes—invite all students and music lovers to watch and observe the master class, and to understand more what goes before a production of a great opera.
General admission to the master class is only P200.00.
The 12 selected singers from the master class of tenor Espiritu will perform excerpts from best-loved operas including “La Boheme,” “Romeo et Juliette,” “Les Huguenots,” “The Tales of Hoffmann,” “The Marriage of Figaro” and many others in the culminating concert on Jan. 19, 2016, at the Ayala Museum at 7:30 p.m.