The Manila Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO) is perhaps the most visible among the country’s major orchestras. It performs an average of 200 shows a year, and is the resident orchestra in musical productions at Resorts World Manila.
This year the MPO is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a concert, “MPO Opus 20: Trailblazing Music Excellence,” on Sept. 1, at Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo, Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP).
For MPO founder and music director Rodel Colmenar, the milestone is certainly no mean feat, considering the difficulties of maintaining an orchestra in the Philippines. But credit goes to his attitude as a go-getter. He has gone through situations that tested his mettle as an artist with a mission to promote symphonic music to the masses.
For the MPO’s coming CCP performance, Colmenar says he will be conducting over a 100-piece ensemble which includes a big band and the orchestra itself, along with special guests Lani Misalucha, Raul Sunico and the University of Santo Tomas Singers.
“MPO Opus 20: Trailblazing Music Excellence,” Sept. 1, Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo, CCP. Visit ticketworld.com.ph; call 8919999, 09175478787.
Two original Filipino musicals, currently running, feature the songs of two of the country’s most popular groups.
“Ang Huling El Bimbo”—written by Dingdong Novenario, directed by Dexter Santos and musical direction by Myke Salomon—follows the story of three childhood friends who would go their separate ways in adulthood, until fate reunites them to confront their troubled past, with the classic hits of the Eraserheads as backdrop.
“Eto Na! Musikal nAPO!” directed by Robbie Guevara, is about seven friends who join a college singing contest amid personal conflicts, relationships and a society in turmoil, with the timeless songs of the Apo Hiking Society as soundtrack.
These two productions, which also feature a young cast, have reportedly been drawing big crowds, with “Ang Huling El Bimbo” enjoying sold-out nights.
“Ang Huling El Bimbo” runs until until Sept. 2, Newport Performing Arts Theater, Resorts World Manila, 10 Newport Blvd. Pasay City. Call 8919999; visit ticketworld.com.ph.
“Eto Na! Musikal nAPO!” runs until Aug. 26, Globe Auditorium, Maybank Performing Arts Theater, BGC Arts Center, 26th St. cor. 9th Ave., Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.
From music to business
At a recent dinner I was invited to at Makati Shangri-La, the warm-up music featured a statuesque lady named Avon Lea Paraiso who played on harp a mixed bag of nostalgic and contemporary pop hits including “Moon River,” “Love Yourself,” “A Thousand Years,” “Looking Through the Eyes of Love,” “Dahil Sa ’Yo.”
The main event reflected the contrast between the past and present circumstance of Carl Chao, a former hip-hop artist who now heads Opsytech Corp., a company that offers security and communications systems, among other services.
The Isabela ballroom of Makati Shang was filled with business executives and a few government officials who witnessed the ceremonial signing of a P2.9-billion contract for Opsytech to service Donggwang Clark Corp.’s projects in Clark Field, Pampanga, like the Monterrace Heights Towers, Monterrace Lake Towers 1 to 6, The Banyan Tree Clark Hotel and Casino, The Hyatt Regency Clark Hotel and Casino and The Hilton Clark Hotel and Casino.
Interesting to know why Chao shifted from music to business, but that’s for another story.