Isabel Echevarria opened a one-woman painting exhibit at the foyer of the Casino Español de Cebu as part of its Spanish Month celebration. Titled “Morena,” it depicted varied ethnic portraits which attracted art collectors. Isabel is currently based in the Canary Islands, Spain.
Isabel has been doing excellent portraits for the past three decades. Amparito Llamas Lhuillier and Elvira Gotauco Luym are among the Cebuanas she has done with astounding realism.
Both figured prominently at the opening ceremonies of “Morena,” along with Casino Español vice president Editho Tirol, US Consular Agent John Domingo, and the artist’s proud mother, Leonor M. Echevarria.
It was recalled that Isabel’s late father, Ramon Echevarria, once served as president of Casino Español de Cebu. Current officers of the club present on this occasion included secretary Gabriel Leyson, cultural affairs director Paco Jarque and sports director Luis Moro III.
Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama graced the occasion and picked out a painting of a horse. A colored sketch of the late Felix Muertegui elicited admiration from his wife Carmen Bilbao de Muertegui and daughter Angeles Muertegui Antigua.
Congratulated for the success of the exhibit were Casino Español’s general manager May Ocaba and Ritchel Bojos, in charge of banquets and events. The exposition stayed up to Aug. 18.
“Guitar Extravaganza” attracted an appreciative crowd at the auditorium of the Marcelo Fernan Cebu Press Center, presented by the Arts Council together with Cebu Luthiers Education Foundation, Guitar Friends, and the Marco Polo Plaza Hotel where the artists were billeted.
Performing were award-winning guitar virtuosi Ramoncito Carpio and Franco Maigue, and the Fret Trio, which has been earning plaudits since the three young ladies banded themselves as such in 2011. They are Marga Abejo, Cate Belle and Jenny de Vera.
New Balletcenter production
Balletcenter presented the full-length production (three hours) of “Romeo and Juliet” the past weekend to enthusiastic audiences at the Onstage theater of Ayala Center Cebu.
Dancing as Romeo was Nicolas Pacaña, who with Gregory Aaron is Balletcenter’s co-artistic director. “This is my farewell performance in a leading role,” Nicolas told friends during a press conference hosted by the Marco Polo Plaza Hotel at its Cafe Marco.
In the role of Juliet is Katherine Trofeo, guest artist from Ballet Philippines, Manila. “It is the first time I dance with Nicolas, and I’m delighted,” she said.
“Partnering is important,” said Greg Aaron, who is not in any role in this production, busy as he is with the presentation’s infinite details. Besides, Balletcenter is busier than ever with its overflow of students.
The studio is located at the third level of Ayala Center. There are outreach satellite classes in Mandaue City, in the Pasil area of Cebu City, and even on an islet off the municipality of Talibon in Bohol.
Nicolas is one of the outstanding alumni of Balletcenter, established in 1951 by Fe Sala Villarica. He was one of her best pupils. He gained international fame dancing lead roles in “Romeo & Juliet,” “Giselle,” “Sleeping Beauty,” “Coppelia,” “Nutcracker,” as well as works by George Balanchine.
Nicolas has been with such great companies as the Honolulu City Ballet, the Boston Ballet, and the Atlanta Ballet where he shone partnering Maniya Barredo. He remained there, founding the Atlanta Festival Ballet with Greg Aaron. They came to Cebu and took over Balletcenter.
“Balletcenter is Fe Sala Villarica’s valuable legacy,” Nicolas stated, vowing to continue its high standards and ideals. For “Romeo and Juliet,” he has chosen the score composed by Sergei Prokofiev, as arranged for the Kirov Ballet in Russia.
“I like it, too,” said ballerina Katherine Trofeo to the young press people who were most attentive to her about how much discipline is involved if you are a ballet dancer. It takes months of practice for a little dance of even just 10 minutes.
“Romeo and Juliet” as a ballet follows the story line used by Shakespeare in his tragic drama about feuding families in Renaissance Verona. Scions of these families, Montagues and Capulets, Romeo and Juliet, respectively, meet and fall in love, but there’s no happy ending for them.
Balletcenter’s production of “Romeo and Juliet” involves over 100 adults and children. Aside from Nicolas and Katherine, in the cast are Rey Allen Espinosa, Pep Therese Declaro and Judy Arienne Mansueto as ladies; Rollaine Lea Marie Nuez and Ma. Christine Dominique Morden alternating as Lady Capulet.
More: Michael Vincent Laput and John Rey Zemuel Rocamora alternating as Paris; Vincent Paul Gaton as Tybalt; Mhynard Ettis and Julius Lagare as Mercutio and Benvolio; John Adrian Muntuerto as Lord Capulet; and Stella Monteño as the Nurse.
“Romeo and Juliet” by Balletcenter will be on for two more nights on Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 at Ayala Center, with curtain time at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are at P500 for reserved seats; P300 and P200 for general admission, available at the Balletcenter studio, tel. 2322958.