Appearing as the guest star in Peter Zaragoza Mayshle’s “Dolorosa” (Tanghalang Ateneo, directed by Jenny Jamora), veteran actress Bibeth Orteza made every scene she appeared in court. It was almost like a master class for the younger players in her midst.
The play was generally well directed, well acted, fascinating at times, shifting from the late 19th century to the Japanese Occupation and then the 21st century. The focus was on the Mater Dolorosa statue that haunted three generations of women. By the way, this fashionable switching of gender roles can be laughable at times. Here we had attractive actresses, their curls clearly outlined, posing as tough Spanish sentries and then as macho Japanese soldiers. One even made a pass at the cringing teenage heroine.
The Manila Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Marlon Chen, led off in its “Double Concerto” (Makati Circuit) with the ritualistic new work by composer Jeffrey Ching, “Celestial Infernal Grand Nuptical Rite,” supposed to have been inspired by William Blake’s “Proverbs of Hell.”
Ching subjected his wife, soprano Andion Fernandez, to intermittent screams. Then she picked up a tuning fork and fiddled with the cello of soloist Matias de Oliveira Pinto, who made as if he were swatting flies. The musicians followed suit, and made eerie sounds.
Finally, the cello was borne aloft, like a coffin, and all performers marched out of the hall, solemnly, silently. “Ching is like that,” observed Maribel Ongpin. “He likes to make his musicians move around.”
Jenny Juan, who is more sophisticated than me, opined that “I found fault with Andion’s voice in the upper register. But Pinto was so good, he really brought out the music.”
Well, that must be the New Music in vogue in Berlin today.
Ballet Philippines celebrated its 50th anniversary with the evergreen “Swan Lake,” the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Herminigildo Renera performing the music of Tchaikovsky. The foreign guest stars were Andrey Ermakov and Elena Evseeva of the Marinsky Theater. And the unheralded Evseeva was stunning as the swan queen Odette and the bitchy Odile. Brava. —CONTRIBUTED