THE Cultural Center of the Philippines in cooperation with the Opera  Guild Foundation of the Philippines, and Daejeon Opera Company of Korea will present the well-loved Italian opera La Traviata by Giuseppe Verdi on March 2-4, 2012, 8pm at the Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (CCP Main Theater).
A  stellar cast led by multi-awarded Korean soprano Yun-Kyoung Yi, Korean  baritone Daesan No, Korean tenor JaeWook Lee and Filipino opera stars  Rachelle Gerodias, Andrew Fernando, and La Scala tenor Arthur Espiritu  will essay the title roles of Violetta, Alfredo and Germont. The  Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra, under the baton of Prof. Jae Joon  Lee, will provide live orchestral music, while the internationally  awarded UST singers will render choral support. Floy Quintos will direct  the production with set and costume design by Eric Cruz.
La  Traviata, an opera in three acts, is best remembered for the widely  performed Libiamo ne’lieti calici (The Drinking Song), Addio Passato,  and Sempre Libera. La Traviata is the story of a beautiful but doomed  prostitute. Composed by Verdi and set to an Italian libretto by  Francesco Maria Piave, it premiered on March 6, 1853 at the La Fenice  Opera House in Venice. The opera was said to have failed at its premiere  but attained success in the same city a year later, and went on to  become a timeless classic as one of the world’s most popular operas,  second only to Mozart’s The Magic Flute.
The title role of  Violetta will be performed by Korean soprano Yun-Kyoung Yi on March 2  and March 4 while Filipino soprano Rachelle Gerodias will essay the role  on March 3.
A 2nd prize winner of the Bellini International  Voice Competition in Italy, Yun-Kyoung Yi has performed the lead parts  in La Traviata, Lucia di Lammermoor, Rigoletto, and La Boheme, among  others. Yun-Kyoung Yi graduated from Keimyung University, majoring in  Voice in 2000. She took her graduate degree also at Keimyung in 2003 and  earned two diplomas from ARENA accademia and AIDM accademia in Italy in  2007. She is currently a visiting professor at her alma mater Keimyung  University.
Soprano Maria Rachelle Gerodias is one of the  Philippines’ most awarded sopranos. She received her Master’s Degree in  Vocal Performance and Vocal Literature from the famed Eastman School of  Music in Rochester, New York. She holds a Professional Diploma in  Operatic studies from the prestigious Hong Kong Academy for Performing  Arts. She made her European debut in the role of Liu in Puccini’s  “Turandot” at the VOLSKOPER WIEN in Vienna, Austria.
Korean  baritone Daesan No will play the role of Germont on March 2 and March 4  with Andrew Fernando portraying the role on March 3.
Daesan No’s  opera credits include the title role in “Falstaff” and “Rigoletto” and  the roles of Leporello in “Don Giovanni”, Bonze and Yamadori in “Madama  Butterfly”, Scarpia in “Tosca”, Escamillo and Marcello in “Carmen”. He  has won numerous awards, one of which was the Placido Domingo Fellowship  Award at the Academy of Vocal Arts. Daesan No earned his Graduate  Performance Diploma and Master of Music Degree from the Peabody  Conservatory in Baltimore.
Filipino bass baritone Fernando  completed his Professional Diploma and Professional Certificate in Opera  Performance at the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts where he was  awarded a full scholarship. Fernando is an Opera Pacific Resident Artist  for which he has sung many roles including Friedrich Bhaer in “Little  Women”, Marullo in “Rigoletto”, Masetto in “Don Giovanni”, Zaretsky in  “Eugene Onegin” and a Prison Guard in “Dead Man Walking”.
Korean  tenor JaeWook Lee will perform the role of Alfredo on March 2 and March  4 while Filipino-American tenor Arthur Espiritu takes on the part on  March 3.
JaeWook Lee has performed in various concerts all over  the world, including the Philippines, in lead roles of operas such as La  Traviata, Rigoletto, Nabucco, La Boheme, Madama Butterfly, and Tosca,  among others. Lee is an award winning singer, having bagged top prizes  in the Korean National Vocal Music Competition, Montserrat Cabelle,  Rosetum and Nino Carta international vocal competitions.
Filipino-American  tenor Arthur Espiritu is the winner of the 2009 George London Award and  the La Scala Award. He received an Artist Diploma from Oberlin College  Conservatory of Music and earned both a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of  Music degree from the University of New Orleans.
La Traviata is  the first of three opera events to be held at the CCP. “Madame  Butterfly”, co-produced with Music Artes of Jay Glorioso, is scheduled  for June, while “Barber of Seville”, co-produced with Rustan’s,  Philippine Italian Association, and the Italian Embassy, is slated for  July 12-15. “Opera is a relatively unknown art form in the Philippines,  although it has been around for some time already,” CCP president Raul  Sunico said. “It is a complete art that combines music, theater, dance  and design.” Dr. Sunico hopes that the CCP effort to renew and  reinvigorate interest in art of opera will be well received by the  Filipino audiences.
For more information, please call the CCP Box Office at (632)832-1125 loc. 1409, (632)832-3704.

THE Cultural Center of the Philippines in cooperation with the Opera Guild Foundation of the Philippines, and Daejeon Opera Company of Korea will present the well-loved Italian opera La Traviata by Giuseppe Verdi on March 2-4, 2012, 8pm at the Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (CCP Main Theater).

A stellar cast led by multi-awarded Korean soprano Yun-Kyoung Yi, Korean baritone Daesan No, Korean tenor JaeWook Lee and Filipino opera stars Rachelle Gerodias, Andrew Fernando, and La Scala tenor Arthur Espiritu will essay the title roles of Violetta, Alfredo and Germont. The Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra, under the baton of Prof. Jae Joon Lee, will provide live orchestral music, while the internationally awarded UST singers will render choral support. Floy Quintos will direct the production with set and costume design by Eric Cruz.

La Traviata, an opera in three acts, is best remembered for the widely performed Libiamo ne’lieti calici (The Drinking Song), Addio Passato, and Sempre Libera. La Traviata is the story of a beautiful but doomed prostitute. Composed by Verdi and set to an Italian libretto by Francesco Maria Piave, it premiered on March 6, 1853 at the La Fenice Opera House in Venice. The opera was said to have failed at its premiere but attained success in the same city a year later, and went on to become a timeless classic as one of the world’s most popular operas, second only to Mozart’s The Magic Flute.

The title role of Violetta will be performed by Korean soprano Yun-Kyoung Yi on March 2 and March 4 while Filipino soprano Rachelle Gerodias will essay the role on March 3.

A 2nd prize winner of the Bellini International Voice Competition in Italy, Yun-Kyoung Yi has performed the lead parts in La Traviata, Lucia di Lammermoor, Rigoletto, and La Boheme, among others. Yun-Kyoung Yi graduated from Keimyung University, majoring in Voice in 2000. She took her graduate degree also at Keimyung in 2003 and earned two diplomas from ARENA accademia and AIDM accademia in Italy in 2007. She is currently a visiting professor at her alma mater Keimyung University.

Soprano Maria Rachelle Gerodias is one of the Philippines’ most awarded sopranos. She received her Master’s Degree in Vocal Performance and Vocal Literature from the famed Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. She holds a Professional Diploma in Operatic studies from the prestigious Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. She made her European debut in the role of Liu in Puccini’s “Turandot” at the VOLSKOPER WIEN in Vienna, Austria.

Korean baritone Daesan No will play the role of Germont on March 2 and March 4 with Andrew Fernando portraying the role on March 3.

Daesan No’s opera credits include the title role in “Falstaff” and “Rigoletto” and the roles of Leporello in “Don Giovanni”, Bonze and Yamadori in “Madama Butterfly”, Scarpia in “Tosca”, Escamillo and Marcello in “Carmen”. He has won numerous awards, one of which was the Placido Domingo Fellowship Award at the Academy of Vocal Arts. Daesan No earned his Graduate Performance Diploma and Master of Music Degree from the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore.

Filipino bass baritone Fernando completed his Professional Diploma and Professional Certificate in Opera Performance at the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts where he was awarded a full scholarship. Fernando is an Opera Pacific Resident Artist for which he has sung many roles including Friedrich Bhaer in “Little Women”, Marullo in “Rigoletto”, Masetto in “Don Giovanni”, Zaretsky in “Eugene Onegin” and a Prison Guard in “Dead Man Walking”.

Korean tenor JaeWook Lee will perform the role of Alfredo on March 2 and March 4 while Filipino-American tenor Arthur Espiritu takes on the part on March 3.

JaeWook Lee has performed in various concerts all over the world, including the Philippines, in lead roles of operas such as La Traviata, Rigoletto, Nabucco, La Boheme, Madama Butterfly, and Tosca, among others. Lee is an award winning singer, having bagged top prizes in the Korean National Vocal Music Competition, Montserrat Cabelle, Rosetum and Nino Carta international vocal competitions.

Filipino-American tenor Arthur Espiritu is the winner of the 2009 George London Award and the La Scala Award. He received an Artist Diploma from Oberlin College Conservatory of Music and earned both a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Music degree from the University of New Orleans.

La Traviata is the first of three opera events to be held at the CCP. “Madame Butterfly”, co-produced with Music Artes of Jay Glorioso, is scheduled for June, while “Barber of Seville”, co-produced with Rustan’s, Philippine Italian Association, and the Italian Embassy, is slated for July 12-15. “Opera is a relatively unknown art form in the Philippines, although it has been around for some time already,” CCP president Raul Sunico said. “It is a complete art that combines music, theater, dance and design.” Dr. Sunico hopes that the CCP effort to renew and reinvigorate interest in art of opera will be well received by the Filipino audiences.

For more information, please call the CCP Box Office at (632)832-1125 loc. 1409, (632)832-3704.

By:

The good news for the opera-starved is that Verdi’s “La Traviata” will be mounted at the Cultural Center of the Philippines  with Filipino lead singers on March 3.

The production is going to be a co-production with a Korean company.

Rachelle Gerodias will debut as Violetta; and Arthur Espiritu, the first Filipino tenor to sing at La Scala di Milan, will also debut as Alfredo. The two sang excerpts from “Traviata” in their Oct. 8 CCP engagement last year.

Filipino Violettas are few, and so are the Filipino Alfredos.

Maestra Mercedes Matias Santiago sang it at the Manila Metropolitan Theater in the 1940s as a last-minute substitute to an indisposed Filipino soprano who lost her voice from crying over her mother who had just passed away.

I think Fides Cuyugan Asensio sang it in full, or probably some excerpts, but I have no record of this. Someone told me she sang “Addio del Pasato” (from “Traviata”) in the indie film “Niño” and did pretty well.

Another “Traviata” was seen at the CCP in the ’70s with Remedios Bosch Jimenez in the title role. The opera returned at the CCP in the early ’90s with the Violetta of American soprano Donna Maria Zapola in a controversial CCP production  directed by National Artist for Theater Rolando Tinio. Her Alfredo was no other than Filipino tenor Nolyn Cabahug.

Italian diva Taziana Fabriccini sang one performance of “Traviata” at the Manila Metropolitan Theater  in the mid-’90s but lack of funds hounded the production.

One of the greatest Violettas of  this generation—Romanian diva Nelly Miricioiu—sang at the CCP in 1980 and returned in 1984 to great acclaim at the Manila Metropolitan Theater. Both American and European critics compared her to the great Maria Callas, and when she guested in a Malacañang soiree in the ’80s, Imelda Marcos said La Miricioiu even sounded better than Callas.

Her Violetta  in the US and Europe was second to none. She was the Violetta of José Carreras in Spain,  Alfredo Kraus in Frankfurt Opera, and Placido Domingo in San Francisco Opera as last-minute substitute of soprano Katia Ricciarelli. She sang 14 performances of “Traviata” in Sydney Opera, and Australian critics were one in saying La Miricioiu had nothing to fear from both Dame Joan Sutherland and Kiri Te Kanawa.

Now   57,  La  Miricioiu has worldwide engagements that continue to baffle and charm  critics.

She debuted at the New York City Opera in Handel’s “Agrippina” three years ago and the New York Times noted: “Nelly Miricioiu, a Romanian soprano making her house debut, sang the title role with an appealingly dark tone and imperious manner.”

In between engagements, she had televised master classes in Guildhall School of Music in  London, and was also in Athens  as   member of the jury  of the Maria Callas Grand Prix,  of which she was a previous grand prize winner.

As Lady Macbeth in a concert version in London, Clare Colvin of the London Sunday Express wrote of her: “In the dominant role of Lady Macbeth, Romanian soprano Nelly Miricioiu was not going to allow a concert performance to impede some full-blooded acting as she wandered through the violins in sequined chiffon, reading Macbeth’s letter.  Verdi envisaged the role as requiring a singing actress of extraordinary character, and Miricioiu, a prima donna to her fingertips, fits the bill. ”

The most acclaimed Filipino Alfredo abroad was no other than Otoniel Gonzaga although several tenors tried the part, namely Noel Velasco, Frankie Aseniero, Nolyn Cabahug.

As I recall the great Violettas and Alfredos of our time, I certainly will look forward to the Violetta of  Gerodias, the Alfredo of Espiritu, and Germont of Andrew Fernando on March 3 at the CCP Main Theater.

Here and there

The announcement of the Cecile Licad-Lea Salonga-Lisa Macuja Elizalde one-night-only concert on March 17  in this paper caused a  virtual tsunami of early ticket buyers at the TicketWorld (tel. 8919999).

I guess a concert featuring the superstars of classical music and dance with the country’s  only reigning Broadway  star is a tough act to follow.

For those left out in the March 17 box-office stampede, they can still see Licad in solo recital at Holy Angel University in Angeles City on March 22 and Cebu City on March 27.  Her provincial solo program: Chopin’s Polonaise-Fantaisie in A Flat Major, Op. 61; Three Mazurkas, Op. 56; Andante Spianato et Grande Polonaise Brillante in E Flat Major, Op. 22; and Liszt’s Miserere du “Trovatore” de Verdi’s Paraphrase de Concert. (Call 02-7484152 or 0906-5104270.)

The chamber music treat not to be missed on Feb. 25 is the team up of cellist Wilfredo Pasamba, violinist Gina Medina and pianist  Mary Anne Espina at Philamlife Theater. Program includes Arensky’s  Piano Trio No. 1 and Chausson’s Concerto For  Piano, Violin and String Quartet.