“It has been our dream to put up an arts center and build a permanent home for classical singers,” says Philippine Opera Company artistic director Karla Gutierrez. “But, of course, it is open to all artists!”
She’s referring to Opera Haus, now home to the administrative offices of POC and to classrooms for students and rehearsal spaces for performing artists (music and otherwise).
Enrollment is ongoing for the center’s lessons in instruments (piano, guitar, violin), and basic theory or master classes for music.
Voice students can choose from varied repertoires: classical, pop, Broadway/musical theater, jazz and standards.
There are also special classes in music and movement for babies and toddlers.
“We have a program called ‘Buddy Lessons,’ which offers voice and instrument lessons designed for couples or friends who may want to study voice or the same instrument, together,” she says.
Something for everyone
The lobby features a three-story-high glass-curtain window fountain designed by set designer and contractor Jo Tecson.
Aside from the classrooms, there are studios and rooms throughout the second and third floors that can be rented for rehearsals, auditions, production meetings. “For bands, chamber orchestras, string quartets, singers, dancers, everyone!”
“The space is very flexible. We want to have different kinds of workshops, like for acting, dance, painting or literature. It can be an art gallery. We can have film showings.”
The center has a conference room and library “with a good number of music books and scores for reference.”
“We have a small Opera Shop where we sell music-related merchandise,” she says. “All proceeds of the merchandise go to Friends of the Philippine Opera Foundation’s Artistic Development Program. It’s a program that provides free workshops and master classes for artists.”
Proceeds from POCs different productions go to the ongoing construction of Opera Haus.
Upcoming productions this year include a restaging of its “Ang Bagong Harana,” a concert featuring classical Filipino songs.
POC also co-manages with Sony Music the “Operabelles,” an all-female classical-crossover group that can be booked for corporate or private functions.
“We’re building our patron system. The arts really needs patrons since the government is not helping us. We depend so much on personal and corporate sponsorships.”
The fourth floor is intended to be a mini recital area in the future. “We can’t afford to finish constructing it yet, so for now, it serves as an open roof deck for parties.”
There is the small Opera Café at the lobby. “We also have a small garden at the back for barbecue or potluck parties. Artists like to eat!” she laughs. “Here, teachers, students and artists can bond before or after classes or rehearsals.
“There is also an audio-visual room where we will hold weekly free viewing of opera films and audiences can discuss the movie among themselves afterward.
“We have so many plans for Opera Haus because we want the other ‘arts’ to be part of it, it’s not just for opera artists.”
Opera Haus is at 3657 Bautista St., Makati City; tel. 8817168 or 0917-5272880