Manila’s opera lovers will have the rare chance to hear two good interpreters of bel canto (beautiful singing) when Romanian diva Nelly Miricioiu holds a concert with Filipino tenor Arthur Espiritu for the first time on April 9, 6 p.m., at Ayala Museum. Pianist is Najib Ismail.
A grand prize winner of the Maria Callas International Voice Competition, in which she now frequently sits as juror, Miricioiu said she is excited to sing with another Filipino tenor who, like her, has sung at La Scala di Milan.
She had sung “La Bohème” with Filipino tenor Otoniel Gonzaga at Frankfurt Opera in the 1980s.
Espiritu, who just had a triumphant debut at Sydney Opera as Rodolfo in “La Bohème,” is a recipient of the 2009 George London Award and La Scala Award as part of the Belvedere Vocal Competition in Vienna, Austria. Thus far, he is the only Filipino tenor who has sung at the venerable La Scala, which is associated with great icons of opera from Maria Callas to Luciano Pavarotti.
Last December, Miricioiu received a lifetime achievement award from her native Romania from Prince Radu in a special gala at National Opera of Bucharest where she was reunited with acclaimed tenor Roberto Alagna.
A week before her Manila engagement, Miricioiu also conducted master classes at Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts. She was last heard there as Violetta in “La Traviata” in an early edition of the Hong Kong International Arts Festival.
The April 9 Ayala Museum program includes Donizetti’s “Spirto Gentil” (from “La Favorita”), Bellini’s “Casta Diva” (from “Norma”), Mozart’s “Un Aura Amoroso” (from the opera “Cosi fan Tutte”), Giordano’s “La Mamma Morta” (from the opera “Andrea Chenier”), Verdi’s “Parmi, Veder le laguine” (from the opera “Rigoletto”), “Signor ne principe” (Duet from the opera Rigoletto), Donizetti’s “Oh nube! che lieve per l’aria ti aggiri… Nella pace del mesto riposo” (from the opera “Maria Stuarda”), “Angelo, Casta e bel” (from the opera “Il Duca di Alba”), Catalani’s “Ebben? Ne andro lontana” (from the opera “La Wally”) and “Parigi o cara” (from “La Traviata”).
Four Filipino art songs are also in the program.
After her April 9 engagement, Miricioiu will conduct master classes on April 10-14, at 5th floor, SJG Center, Kalayaan Ave., Makati City. Admission is free for observers. Call 09183473027. —CONTRIBUTED