After her triumphant team-up with tenor Arthur Espiritu last April 9, soprano Nelly Miricioiu will present participants of her master class tomorrow (April 18, 7 p.m.) in an evening of operatic arias and duets at Ayala Museum.
Fourteen young singers, handpicked from a group of 42, spent April 10-14 with the world-renowned soprano-pedagogue. A culminating concert will see them perform some of the most beautiful arias and duets from grand operas like “I Capuleti ed i Montecchi,” “Dinorah,” “Norma,” “Don Giovanni,” “La Boheme,” “Romeo et Juliette.”
Participants are sopranos Marielle Tuason, Stephanie Aguilar, Nerissa de Juan, Mheco Manlangit, Kay Balajadia-Liggayu, Tanya Corcuerra; mezzo soprano Krissan Tan, Aissa Guilatco, Roxy Aldioso; tenors Mark Bautista and Jan Brian Ashtom; baritones Roby Malugay, Renz Nathaniel Cruz and Miguel Espiritu.
Assisting on the piano are Farley Asuncion and Gabriel Allan Paguirigan.
The master class concert is presented by Cultural Arts Events Organizer (CAEO) with Ayala Museum, Musicartes, DZFE 98.7 The Master’s Touch, Lyric Piano and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts. Tickets at P1,000 and P500 for students and seniors are available. Call CAEO at 9979483 or 09209540053.
5th Manila concert
Miricioiu made her fifth engagement in the country with leading Filipino tenor Espiritu and the duo elicited a storm of applause.
“What a fantastic evening of unparalleled artistry from Miricioiu, Espiritu, pianist Najib Ismail and Viva Voce!” posted baritone and choral conductor Jonathan Velasco on Facebook. “This concert is pure food for the soul.”
Baritone Greg Abelardo de Leon said it was a “breathtaking performance.” Visual artist Marivic Rufino called the concert “absolutely divine.”
By profile, it was the best gathering of seasoned opera aficionados in this part of Metro Manila, including 1964 Miss International Gemma Cruz Araneta and Miss Universe 1973 Margie Moran Floirendo.
Espiritu combined excellent singing and acting and a superb stage presence. “He is simply amazing and his presence was a perfect match for Miricioiu who remains vocally incredible in her 60s. This is simply an unbelievable night to remember,” said visual artist Henry Alvir.
Miricioiu’s moment started in the “Norma” aria “Casta Diva,” which began with a regal walk from the elevator entrance to the stage area with a choral compliment from Viva Voce.
The very moment she intoned the first line, “Casta Diva, che inargenti queste sacre antiche piante (Virtuous Goddess, covering with silver these sacred ancient plants),” she silenced the hall and she was transformed into a high priestess praying to the moon goddess.
The Viva Voce ensemble blended beautifully. Easily, it was the best version of “Casta Diva” heard in the country.
Her incomparable moment came in the aria from “La Wally,” “Ebben? Neandro Lontana,” popularized in the French film “Diva.”
Said soprano Camille Lopez Molina: “That aria blew us all away.”
Just fresh from his Sydney Opera debut as Rodolfo in “La Boheme,” Espiritu showed his audience why he was an easy choice for the part of Rodolfo in the Puccini opera.
Espiritu delivered a tension-free but thoroughly moving aria and the hair-raising audience response shook Ayala Museum.
The soprano posted on her Facebook page: “I couldn’t say it better! Your voice (the tenor’s) is superb and with a good personality to match. I was thrilled listening to you than we singing together!”
Moreover, La Miricioiu said thank you to her audience by singing Filipino songs starting with Abelardo’s “Bituing Marikit” and then encouraging audience participation in Velarde’s “Dahil Sa Iyo” and “Minamahal Kita.”
Ending with “Parigi o cara” from “La Traviata,” Miricioiu and Espiritu entranced an audience with their powerful singing and emotional ardor, provoking shouts of bravo and a standing ovation. They encored with “Brindisi” from the same opera. —CONTRIBUTED