Actress-singer Banaue Miclat-Janssen, now artistic director of Dulaang UP, has been performing since she joined Peta (Philippine Educational Theater Association) at the age of 12, singing and emoting in original Filipino as well as Broadway musicals, in straight plays, in her alma mater University of the Philippines, and other venues.
“A typical freelancer,” she says with a laugh. “It’s a Filipino art even if you sing opera.” The last is a reference to a stint at the iconic New York Metropolitan Opera. “I have appeared in beautiful roles in musicals and done challenging roles in straight plays.”
What she would like to assume is the role of Norma Desmond, the fading star in the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical “Sunset Boulevard,” famously played by Glenn Close in California and New York (Gloria Swanson in the 1940s classic film, with William Holden as the boy toy). There were two song hits in the play, “With One Look” and “As If We Never Said Goodbye.”
Last September Miclat-Janssen appeared at the art deco FEU auditorium in “Ginunita Kita,” with composer Jesse Lucas and cellist Renato Lucas. It was a musical tribute to her late sister, Maningning Miclat, a trilingual poet and award-winning visual artist.
On May 4 she returns to the FEU stage (Multipurpose Hall) as one of the special guest stars (along with rising singer Raymond Gorospe) in “A Toast to Broadway,” presented by the FEU Bamboo Band. Artistic director is Norberto Cads, who is celebrating his 10th year with the band.
The soprano is raring to sing her favorite Broadway songs in coordination with the band and its director, among them, “On My Own” (“Les Miserables”), “Memory” (“Cats”) and “Sun and Moon” (“Miss Saigon”).
FEU is said to be among the very few establishments that maintain a bamboo band. Founded in 1966 with Victor Toledo as its first conductor, and originally known as the FEU Pangkat Kawayan, the band has 30 members from the university’s various departments. The handmade bamboo instruments are versatile and can produce music from different genres, periods and places.
“When they perform they always fascinate their audiences with the quaint but endearing music their instruments create,” said an admirer. —CONTRIBUTED