With the Church shaken by scandals, where can the demoralized Catholic turn to? Why, Graham Greene’s “the power and the glory,” that is, to the authenticated miracles like Lourdes, Fatima, Lipa (yes, despite what the Vatican says) and, most glorious of all, Guadalupe, Mexico.
And this is what “Guadalupe the Musical” is all about, a handsome lavish production about the miraculous tilma (cloak) given by the Blessed Mother to an Aztec convert 500 years ago in Mexico. And what a slew of talents went into the show at the Meralco Theater: direction by Baby Barredo, book by Joel Trinidad, music by Ejay Yatco, choreography by Julie (the producer) and Rose Borromeo, with Cocoy Laurel as Diego and Lorenz Martinez as the Archbishop.
Producer Borromeo said there are plans to bring the musical play to the schools and other key cities in the country next year.
The Manila Symphony Orchestra (MSO) combined formal orchestral music with themes from Hollywood movies (“Silver Screen Symphonies” at The Theatre at Solaire), to come up with a provocative, appealing concert.
There were songs from classics as well as recent films and rare visuals. The MSO sounded great and cemented its reputation as a major symphony orchestra under the leadership of Arturo Molina and Jeffrey Solares.
Laurels in action
After wasting her talents in TV telenovelas, Ayen Munji suddenly bloomed as a superb singer in “Kitang Dalawa” (Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino), giving husband Franco Laurel, himself no slouch in singing, dancing and acting, a run for his money. The children—
Mariella and Angie Laurel, and Hasan Bolkiah also performed some music appropriate to their generation, and almost stole the show.
The Laurel couple again made a splash at “Doy! A Night of Love” (Maybank Theater, Bonifacio Global City), a musical tribute to the late Vice President Salvador Laurel on the occasion of his 90th birth anniversary, with performers led by son Cocoy Laurel, many other members of the Laurel clan and Repertory Philippines talents.
A last-minute replacement for a foreign violinist, young Kristine Clair Uchi Galano played Max Bruch’s “Violin Concerto No. 1,” with such poise and elan during the concert of the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra (PPO) under Yoshikazu Fukumura, that she electrified the audience at the CCP and had to give two encores to satisfy them.
Comebacking Japanese violinist Ryu Goto, who is treated like a rock star in Tokyo, Manila and other cities as well, was both solo violinist and conductor at the PPO’s 45th anniversary concert at the Manila Cathedral; and his charismatic leadership inspired the PPO members to greater heights.
And the wonder of it is that he has a degree in physics from Harvard University, is a black belter and speaks many languages.
Yet another renowned violinist on his second visit, Berlin-based Iskandar Widjaja of Indonesia performed with the MSO (“Beethoven Redux”) at the Meralco Theater.
And at the Rizal Park Open-air Auditorium, young violinist-choirmaster GB (George Bernard) Supetran conducted the Ellinwood Chamber Orchestra, joint choirs from Ellinwood Malate Church and solo performers.
Supetran is an alumnus of the University of Santo Tomas Conservatory of Music and Pundaquit Festival. Playing with the orchestra was his younger sister, Leila Bernice, also a violinist. It’s the year of the violinists!
It was also the year of the jukebox musical, which closed with the Australian-produced “All Out of Love” (Newport Performing Arts Theater, Resorts World Manila, directed by Darren Yap), with the music of Air Supply. Not much of a story here but the show succeeded because of the throbbing, romantic music of Air Supply and fire-up performances of the all-Filipino cast led by Mig Ayesa, Rachel Alejandro and Tanya Manalang. Once again the eyes of the foreigners were opened to the deep bench of musical theater talent in the Philippines. —CONTRIBUTED