VIOLINIST Jay Cayuga held a classical concert at the Edsa Shangri-La Mall with wheelchair-bound former Quezon City Vice Mayor Charito Planas in the audience. To everyone’s surprise, she stood up and danced, waving her walking cane. It was Cayuga’s 25th concert at the mall.
A cousin of the violinist recounted this story: Planas, a fan of Cayuga, was said to be dying two years ago. Her kids requested that he serenade her on her deathbed. And she reportedly recovered and now is always given a front seat at Cayuga’s concerts.
Pianist Nick Nañgit (also a lawyer and spirit questor) opened the 2016 season of the durable “Paco Park Presents in Manila” concert series.
Amidst an idyllic setting with greenery and a heritage chapel, he regaled the audience with a judicious selection of Western classics (Bach, Brahms, Beethoven—the 3 Bs) and Filipiniana (“La Bella Filipina” by turn-of-the-century Spaniard Ignacio Massaguer, Buencamino’s “Damdamin” and Tapales’ “Mindanao Orchids”).
Mother-and-daughter team Christine Coyiuto and Caitlin Coyiuto, pianist and flutist respectively, headlined the recent concert of the Metro Manila Concert Orchestra (MMCO) under the baton of composer-conductor Chino Toledo—“The Enchanting [Maurice] Ravel and [Joaquin] Rodrigo.”
Caitlin’s notes were clear and resonant, while Cristine’s attack on the chords left one breathless.
Being generous, they gave the audience at the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ (CCP) Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino not one but two encores.
Arias from the masters
Tenor Arthur Espiritu presented his A-listed master class students in a concert, “A Night at the Opera,” at the Ayala Museum in Makati City.
There were 12 trained singers, eight women against the outnumbered males, the voices ranging from fine to wonderful.
To the delight of the cognoscenti, there were arias and duets from the masters such as Mozart, Donizetti, Puccini, Rossini and Meyerbeer.
Soprano Stefanie Quintin, petite but with a commanding voice, stole the show with a saucy rendition of a bravura aria from Meyerbeer. As did tenor Nomher Nival, interpreting the iconic aria “Una Furtiva Lagrima.”
“This country is rich in talent,” declared mentor Espiritu who, prevailed upon to sing, played to the gallery with the ever-popular “La Donna e mobile.”
The group’s encore was a pleasant surprise, the lilting “Ikaw ang Mahal Ko,” the kind to send everybody home happy.
Accompanying artist was the formidable pianist Hajib Ismail of the University of Santo Tomas Conservatory of Music.
Music of titan
The music of the titan Beethoven was heard again at the CCP during the “Reveries” concert series of the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra and its music director Olivier Ochanine.
Guest conductor was Homma Tetsui of Japan. Soloist was the young pianist April Merced Misa.
The repertoire was Piano Concerto No. 1 and the mighty Symphony No. 3 (“Eroica”), the latter dedicated to Napoleon Bonaparte but whose name was deleted by the composer when he crowned himself emperor.
Misa made a very favorable impression upon the audience, vaulting over the hurdles of the concerto, from sprightly to dreamy to lively.
Tetsui conducted with elan and finesse, and then cut loose in “Eroica,” exploding into fireworks at the end.
Tribute to People Power
After a slow, rather puzzling first act, “Rebel,” Ballet Manila’s tribute to People Power Revolution (Aliw Theater, CCP Complex), caught fire in Act II, leading to a rousing coda, galvanized by the excellent dancing of the leads and the ensemble, the music of the ABS-CBN Orchestra led by Gerard Salonga, historical footage and a shower of confetti.
The nationalist music—“Pilipinas Kong Mahal” (Santiago-Santos), “Magkaisa” (Flores-Sotto), “Bayan Ko” (De Guzman-De Jesus) and “Handog ng Pilipino sa Mundo” (Paredes)—heightened patriotic fervor.