The word chiaroscuro may be inextricable from the world of painting. This hasn’t stopped soprano Camille Lopez Molina and pianist Najib Ismail from choosing it to be part of their coming concert’s title, “Love in Chiaroscuro,” 7 p.m. tomorrow at Ayala Museum in Makati.
While they brainstormed about the repertoire, they started choosing songs based on what they felt strongly about. Molina said, “You want your audience to enjoy your performance. But they only receive and reciprocate the performers’ own enjoyment. The terms ‘nuance,’ ‘expression,’ ‘colors,’ ‘shades,’ ‘levels,’ ;layers,’ ‘contrasts’ can refer to the voice, text, music and personal references. Chiaroscuro, referring to the play of light and shade in painting, drawing, photography and other visual arts, seemed to be the word that articulated most clearly what we meant.”
Among her personal preferences in the program are: Liszt’s “Sonata de Petraca,” Wagner’s portrayal of love in “Wessendonk Song,” “Song to the Moon” from Dvorak’s “Rusalka” which, by the way, she voiced in the Peque Gallaga film “Sonata” in which Cherie Gil played a diva who had seen better days.
Although Molina sings with the vocal ensemble Viva Voce of which she is founder-artistic director, she seldom holds solo concerts. “Love in Chiaroscuro” is the first since 2010. After her students Myramae Meneses, Renee Michaela Fajardo and Anna Dinah Migallos were featured in the concert “Divas: The Beauty of the Soprano Voice” in April this year, Joseph Uy of the Cultural Arts Events Organizer and Manila Chamber Orchestra Foundation (MCOF) asked this writer to go to Molina in the holding room and tell her she was being lined up next on the second half of this year.
She recalled with a laugh, “The decision was clinched for me. I was given a date and told to have a recital. ’Yun na ’yon (That was that)!” As two of the country’s top voice teachers, she and her husband Pablo are overjoyed at the triumphant acceptance of Fajardo and Meneses at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London and recently, Migallos’ being the star of the night at an Indonesia Opera Society event in Jakarta.
She said on the effectiveness of her team teaching with Pablo: “His is the technical brain. I’m more on the application and interpretation. There is a sense of validation which is fulfilling (when our students make it abroad). After the initial thrill, it always boils down to what are we doing next? What else can be improved? There’s always something to improve, if not vocally, then maybe physically, or as is usually the case, mentally. Singing is coordination, a synthesis of physicality, emotions, artistry, intellect, energy, etc. Since we are constantly evolving as human beings, then the process of learning is never-ending.”
Ismail assured that Thursday’s concert would have hugot songs, meaning the song’s interpretation comes from somewhere deep. Molina said, “Najib and I are similar in how we go into the music so our repertoire is a true collaboration. We bounce opinions back and forth. He knows my voice and what I can do. I know him and what he loves to play. So yes, these songs are straight from our hearts and guts.”
Asked to comment on the film “Florence Foster Jenkins” and its tone-deaf protagonist, she said, “I loved it. It expressed so much of what lovers of music feel, of what all musicians and artists feel about their craft. It wasn’t about Florence’s lack of talent, but how much she loved singing because she loved the music.”
For tickets to “Love in Chiaroscuro,” call Ticketworld at 8919999, or the MCOF 9979483, 7827164, 0920-9540053, 0918-3473027.