There were two Annies in the disarming Broadway musical about the little orphan girl during the 1930s Depression in America (“Annie,” directed by Michael Williams, Resorts World Manila)—Krystal Brimmer and Isabeli Araneta Elizalde. Will either be another Lea Salonga, who originated the role here 36 years ago?
Quite possibly, if not most likely. The two have everything going for them: talent, wealth, supportive parents, etc.
As the wicked Miss Hannigan, Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo, with her outrageous overacting, expectedly received the most applause (along with the dog, of course). The production was given the full treatment by Full House Theater Co., (pun not intended) à la RWM, such that one could enjoy the show even in the back rows of the huge Newport Performing Arts Theater.
The Ellinwood Christian Church in Malate, Manila, celebrated its 109th anniversary with a choral festival featuring children and adult choirs. The repertoire was varied, often joyful, including sacred and secular songs, Broadway-West End and OPM.
The highlight of the evening was the performance of the newly formed Ellinwood Chamber Orchestra led by GB (George Bernard) Supetran, 21, an alumnus of the University of Santo Tomas Conservatory of Music (major in Violin) and a mainstay of Coke Bolipata’s Pundaquit Festival in Zambales.
In a labor of love, Supertran organized the orchestra, trained the raw young talents and molded them into a cohesive whole. Kudos to young Supetran and his chamber orchestra.
Ode to Joy
The all-Beethoven concert of the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra (PPO) at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), under the baton of Yoshikazu Fukumura, reached its climax with the 9th Symphony (Ode to Joy). The rendition of the PPO musicians was inspired, and the standouts were not the soloists but the four choirs: University of the East Chorale, UP Los Baños Choral Ensemble, Philippine Vocal Ensemble and Technological Institute of the Philippines Choral Society.
Lovers of classical ballet had another treat from Ballet Manila (Aliw Theater, CCP Complex) when it presented highlights from Tchaikovsky’s most popular ballets: “Swan Lake,” “Sleeping Beauty” and “The Nutcracker Suite.”
Repertory Philippines, which like Peta celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2017, bade goodbye to the year with the musical “A Little Princess (OnStage, Greenbelt 1), set in 19th-century England. But it was not a political play, rather an affecting tale about a father, the gallant Capt. Crewe (Noel Rayos), reported dead, and his daughter Sara (Jillian Ita-as/Gabby Padilla) who refuses to believe the news.
For its yearend presentation, MusicArtes (tel. 895-8098) came out with another dark chamber opera, the gothic “The Medium” by Gian Carlo Menotti. It is about a medium (played with intensity by Jay Valencia-Glorioso) who is a fake psychic (like Whoopee Goldberg in the movie “Ghost”), but whose life unravels when she feels a cold hand during a séance. Please provide applause for the competent conservatory-trained cast and director Leo Rialp.
“Cosi Fan Tutte” (1790) by Mozart was successfully staged recently at the Ayala Museum in English translation by the members of Viva Voce, with their mentor mezzosoprano Camille Lopez-Molina and Farley Asuncion at the piano.
“What the producers, the Manila Chamber Orchestra Foundation, and Camille want to do is bring the opera to high schools and colleges, ” said opera buff Babeth Lolarga.—CONTRIBUTED