During the third quarter of the year, Tanya Manalang and Mig Ayesa mounted a duo concert at the big Newport Performing Arts Theater at Resorts World Manila, attracting a near-capacity crowd. The songs ranged from pop-disco to musical theater, with Ayesa proving to be a livewire performer and Manalang belting out OPM numbers too.
Ayesa, who grew up abroad, gamely tried his hand with an accented Tagalog song. And guest star Lea Salonga reminisced about the time she and Tanya were neighbors in Quezon City years ago, and she could hear the “little girl” singing across the garden.
Jean Cocteau’s “La Voix Humaine” (The Human Voice)—a 45-minute monologue of a woman slowly falling apart, becoming unhinged, abandoned by her lover—has always been a special project of director Anton Juan. It started with the iconic Rita Gomez (“Boses” in Filipino translation) at the Heritage Art Center years ago, then with Makil-Ignacio, Lara Fabregas, soprano Johanna Cabili and Gay Ferrer.
With the music of Poulenc, the work gains new dimensions and becomes a showpiece for operatic sopranos. Its latest incarnation (in the original French) was at musicArtes Theater Studio, and it was another riveting experience, this time with soprano Kay Balajadia- Liggayu and Rudolf Golez on piano.
After the intimate show, the female fans of the handsome Golez prevailed upon him to play some more and he obliged with the more melodic “Fantasie Impromptu” by Chopin. Pop music fans of yesterday will recognize this as “I’m Always Chasing Rainbows.”
With the opening number of the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra (PPO) concert at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, Berlioz’s “Roman Carnival Overture,” Yashikazu Fukumura of Japan, the new PPO music director, immediately served notice that the orchestra will have a new sound. He conducted forcefully and kept the musicians on their toes (figuratively, of course).
This, however, was only a prelude to the evening’s pièce de résistance, Tchaikovsky’s melodious “Violin Concerto In D,” which was given a felt, almost sensual rendition by young, personable Japanese violinist Ryu Goto.
The adulation spilled over to the lobby during the interval with a tumultuous autograph signing, with lights, cameras and all.
His good looks did it. And, of course, his brilliant playing. A rock star is born in the Olympian world of classical music.
With “Lagablab,” Roeder Gamanag’s Artist Playground (tel. 0926-9323179) continued with its mission to bring straight, edgy plays in Filipino in an intimate setting (1701 Landsdale Tower, Quezon City) and with a small, select audience in a crowded field.
The play is based on a short story by W. Somerset Maugham (best known for his novel “Of Human Bondage”), translated and adapted by Dan Hollanda and directed by Paul Jake Paule.
Set during the Japanese Occupation, “Lagablab” is about a Japanese officer (Manu San Pedro) who befriends a Filipino family but rapes their daughter (Shaika Madronio), who then exacts revenge upon him.
Strong performances were given by the ensemble, especially Aaron Dioquino and Sheryll Ceasico as the parents.
After the show, Camañag said the company chose to adapt and present this play because surveys showed that the Japanese Occupation had been the most traumatic national experience for Filipinos, eclipsing both the Spanish and American periods. —CONTRIBUTED