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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

UP-PGH Enjoys a Soothing Treat from PPO

Press Update:
The Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra treated hospital patients, caregivers, health workers and visitors to a free concert at the Atrium of the UP-Philippine General Hospital in Manila recently. Billed as “Himig ng Buhay”, the event was organized by the Philippine Cancer Society (PCS) for the benefit of cancer patients, caregivers, medical workers. With the aim “to synergize the soothing orchestra music with the somber atmosphere of a medical facility,” the free concert was made possible through the efforts of UP-PGH director Dr. Gerardo Legaspi, Cultural Center of the Philippines president Raul Sunico and CCP board trustee Nick Lizaso.

Under the baton of Maestro Herminigildo Ranera, the PPO played a variety of classical and contemporary works, among them, Georges Bizet’s Carmen Suite No. 1, Hooked on Classics (Medley), Broadway Tonight (arranged by Bruce Chase), Jacob de Haan’s Concerto D’Amore, Ryan Cayabyab’s Kay Ganda ng Ating Musika, Aegis in Symphony Overture (arranged by Jedrick Itugot), VST Medley by Obeth Sarreal, and 2015 Playlist arranged by Derrick Atangan. (Photo by Orly Daquipil)

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Ochanine Returns for PPO February Concert

Press Update:
FORMER Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra music director Olivier Ochanine conducts the PPO on February 17, 2017 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines' Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (CCP Main Theater) at 8:00 pm.

Program for the concert features P.I. Tchaikovsky’s “March Slave”, J. Haydn’s “Symphony No. 88 in G” and D. Shostakovich’s “Symphony No. 10”.  

Olivier Ochanine is the 1st Prize Winner of the 2015 Antal Dorati International Conducting Competition in Budapest, Hungary, in which he surpassed nearly 120 other conductors from 23 countries; the prize leads to further performances in Europe.  In addition, he is winner of the prestigious The American Prize (2015) in the Professional Orchestra Conducting division.  Olivier is also 2nd Prize Winner in the 2015 London Classical Soloists International Conducting Competition, where he conducted the orchestra in various Beethoven symphonies.  Regularly praised for his charisma on and off the podium as well as for his breadth of orchestral repertoire, Olivier was the youngest Music Director of the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra in the orchestra’s history.

A native of Paris, Olivier Ochanine began music studies in France.  He continued music studies in the United States, and expanded his focus to orchestral conducting, taking up graduate studies and attending master classes with some of the best conducting mentors.  He obtained his Master’s Degree in Conducting from the University of Southern California (USC), where he was given the Conducting Department Award in 2003.  In 2009, he began his Doctoral Studies in Orchestral Conducting at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music under Mark Gibson. A flutist and bassist, Olivier earned his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Kentucky. He has also played as bassist for the Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra.

Olivier’s term with the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra started with the 2010-2011 performance season. Under his leadership, the orchestra has performed numerous Philippine premieres. In the Philippines, Olivier is an active clinician, leading chamber music masterclasses at schools; he has also led conducting masterclasses for the Cultural Center of the Philippines.  As part of his outreach mission, Olivier serves as head visiting conductor for the Orchestra of the Filipino Youth, a program geared toward talented youth that stem from severely unfortunate financial backgrounds.

For inquires, please call the CCP Marketing Department (832-1125 local 1806), the CCP Box Office (832-3704) or Ticketworld at National Bookstore (891-9999).

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Ballet PH Spreads Its "Wings" with Swan Lake on Feb 24 to March 5


Press Update:
As a fabulous fitting finale of Ballet Philippines’ 47th season entitled “Wings”, come and watch the new staging of “Swan Lake”, the most famous and legendary ballet adored by audiences all over the world for over a hundred years. On March 4, “Swan Lake” will be celebrating the 140th anniversary of its premiere.


“Swan Lake” is set to open on February 24 at the CCP Main Theater (Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo) at 8:00 PM. Other performance schedules are as follows: February 25 at 2:00 PM & 7:00 PM, February 26 at 3:00 PM, March 3 at 8:00 PM, March 4 at 2:00 PM and 7:00 PM, and March 5 at 3:00 PM.

This year’s “Swan Lake” boasts three extraordinary pairings for Odette/Odile and Prince Siegfried: multi-awarded guest artists Candice Adea and Joseph Phillips, BP principal dancer Denise Parungao and company member Garry Corpuz, and soloists Jemima Reyes and Victor Maguad in their first lead roles in a classical ballet.

Set to Tchaikovsky's beautiful and moving score, The Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Yoshikazu Fukumura are set to perform the music live during the gala nights on February 24, February 25, and March 3.

The February 25, 7:00 PM performance is an International Gala featuring guest stars Candice Adea (formerly of Hong Kong Ballet and BalletMet) and Joseph Phillips of the Primorsky Stage of the Mariinsky Theatre. Both artists have garnered multiple awards in international ballet competitions, including the Helsinki IBC, and the Jackson IBC.

“’Swan Lake’ is regarded as the summit of achievement in the theater for every major classical ballet company,” says Ballet Philippines artistic director Paul Alexander Morales. “Nowadays so many versions and interpretations of the ballet are available online, so audiences will likely have their own ideas of what ‘Swan Lake’ is and what it should be like. It is our challenge to come up with an entirely new experience of this ballet.”

Based on Germanic folk tales coupled with Russian traditions, “Swan Lake” weaves drama and dance together in an unparalleled spectacle. The ballet tells a timeless story of magic, love, and forgiveness through the ingenious choreography of Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov. It centers around Odette, a princess under a curse that traps her in swan form during the day, and Prince Siegfried, an idealistic royal under pressure to find a suitable bride.

Ballet Philippines has previously staged the full-length “Swan Lake” in 1980, 1982, 1985, 1989, 1991, and 1994. The 2017 production marks the company’s 8th restaging to date. Ballerinas who have brought the dual role of Odette/Odile to life on the BP stage include the likes of Maniya Barredo, Kelly Cass, Toni Lopez Gonzalez, Valentina Kozlova, Yoko Morishita, Guo Peihui, Cecile Sicangco, Ester Rimpos, and Anna Villadolid. Notable Siegfrieds include Medhi Bahiri, Fernando Bujones, Wes Chapman, Nonoy Froilan, Serge Lavoie, Robert Medina, Brando Miranda, and Zhang Weiqiang.

“Swan Lake” is restaged by Nonoy Froilan after Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov. Set designer Ohm David shall combine grand scale and psychological intimacy. His magnificent designs pit Edwardian splendour against the spectral beauty of the white acts. James Reyes’ dramatic costumes shall emphasize the contrast between human and spirit worlds, in shimmering fabrics and designs to create a magical setting.

From the first yearning bars of Tchaikovsky’s score, “Swan Lake” shall beckon you to another world. This timeless and enchanting tale filled with magic, manipulation, and eternal love will surely melt countless hearts, stir the soul, and send tingles down the spine. “Swan Lake” - the ultimate night at the ballet.


Connect to Ballet Philippines online through the following social media networks:


Facebook: www.facebook.com/balletphilippines
Twitter: @balletph
Instagram: @balletphilippines
YouTube: balletph


To join in the Ballet Philippines conversation, use our official hashtags: #balletph, #swanlakeballetph


For tickets, call Ticketworld at 891-9999.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Autism and SPED Takes Center Stage with "Samantha" and "Soundtracks and Symphonies" on January 28



The Center for Possibilities Foundation (CFP) will be staging a back-to-back event at the RCBC Plaza in Makati on January 28 with an exhibit by Samantha Kaspar at 5:30 pm and  the Manila Symphony Orchestra at 7:00 pm.  The event is open to the public.

“Samantha” Art Auction

“Samantha” will consist of around 40 artworks, some on fabric to be used as fashion accessories and others on canvas for wall hangings.

“Samantha uses a wide variety of media for her work and we wanted to show the gamut of her abilities. She works primarily on piña silk using silk paints. She also uses acrylic paint on canvas sometimes,” explains Samantha’s mother, Mitzi.

“She has a consistent style with a lot of edges and lines, her artworks can be very linear. She also has this certain way of giving shapes to her images which aren’t necessarily realistic but are more cartoonish,” describes Samantha’s father, Martin.

While half-Swiss, Samantha always tries to tap into her Filipino roots, coming up with Filipino-themed artworks. She will be promoting some of that local culture when she heads to the Philippine Center in New York for the Fashion Arts Autism Benefit (FAAB) on April 7.

FAAB is meant to showcase the artistic talents of children with special needs. Samantha, diagnosed with Autism when she was one and a half years old, is one of eight artists chosen to present their paintings on piña silk to be translated into clothing by featured designers for the fashion show, Patis Tesoro and Anthony Legarda. Master weaver India Legaspi is credited for teaching the artists the technique of piña silk painting.

Samantha hopes to fund her trip with the proceeds of her auction.

“Soundtracks and Symphonies” Concert

The Manila Symphony Orchestra’s “Soundtracks and Symphonies” will be conducted by Prof. Arturo Molina and annotated by Jeffrey Solares. Included in their repertoire is a John Williams tribute as well as pieces from greats such as Beethoven, Mozart, and Bach.

The concert is for the benefit of Special Education (SPED) Centers that have been the focus of the Center for Possibilities’ recent efforts. To act as a venue for learning of indigent persons with special needs, each SPED Center is operated by a teacher trained in the SPED division of Reach International School.

The Sagada SPED Center has been up and running and will be enhanced with a series of livelihood and vocational programs that will be teaching skills for income-generating activities. “Caring for special kids is very taxing because it’s usually just a one-income household so we also need to help the parents improve their finances,” explains CFP founder, Dolores Cheng.

In Norzagaray, what they have right now is just the building itself. A fence, a water tank, and a playground are still needed. “We are also in the process of doing our due diligence by determining the number of special children in all the barangays relevant to Norzagaray. Next will be an orientation for all the parents within the community. We are subsequently planning for the provision of testing, diagnosis, and analysis for the children with special needs,” Cheng adds.

Enrolment in the SPED Centers is free so it helps alleviate the family’s cost of taking care of special children. If you would like to extend assistance, you may reach CFP at http://centerforpossibilities.asia/ or (02) 723-1242 / (0918) 888-1759.

“Samantha” and “Soundtracks and Symphonies” will be on January 28, 2016, 5:30pm at the Carlos P. Auditorium of the RCBC Plaza, Makati.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Silly, Sassy Modern Fairy Tale "Once Upon a Mattress" Opens January 20 to 22



Due to an unhappy curse, King Sextimus is unable to speak. Meanwhile, his terror-of-a-wife, Queen Aggravain, has taken over control of the kingdom. Most importantly, in an attempt to keep Prince Dauntless single, she has decreed that only the princess that can pass her test may marry her son. Further, no one else in the kingdom may marry until Prince Dauntless does. Lady Larken and Sir Harry are extremely disturbed by this fact since Lady Larken is now pregnant with Sir Harry's baby. Luckily, Sir Harry is able to find an amazing princess, Winnifred the Woebegone. She instantly catches the attention of Prince Dauntless, and in the end, is able to pass the Queen's supposedly impassable sensitivity test. When the Queen still tries to prevent the Prince Dauntless from marrying, he tells her to 'shut up' which ends up breaking the curse on the king. Now able to speak, King Sextimus regains his rightful position as leader of the kingdom, and all is well.

Ephesus Teatron Group, Inc.  is all set to transport all of us to a magical world of musical theater as it proudly kicks off its first production for 2017 with “ONCE UPON A MATTRESS” at the Tanghalang Yaman Lahi Theater, Emilio Aguinaldo College located at 1221 Gen. Luna St. Ermita, Manila.
The schedule of performances are as follows: Jan. 20 – 22 (Fri. – Sun.) at 3:30 pm and 7:30 pm.

“Once Upon a Mattress” is from the Book by Jay Thompson, Marshall Barer and Dean Fuller. Music by Mary Rodgers. Lyrics by Marshall Barer. (Based on the story The Princess and the Pea by Hans Christian Andersen.)

The original 1959 Broadway production featured the debut of stage and TV personality Carol Burnett, and received two Tony Award nominations for Best Musical and Best Leading Actress. A 1960 London production was produced together with an original cast album recording. In 1996, Sarah Jessica Parker stepped into the leading role in a Broadway revival production together with Jane Krakowski which was nominated for the 1997 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical. An Off-Broadway production had a limited run last January 2016. Adaptations for television were aired in the US in 1964, 1972, and lastly in 2005.

For the Manila production, “Once Upon a Mattress” will be directed by Steven Conde who recently megged critically-acclaimed plays “Suicidal, Incorporated” and “Dog Sees God” for Twin Bill Theater. 

“Once Upon a Mattress” is a silly, sassy, and a funny modern fairy tale musical with many amusing moments bursting at the seams featuring an assemblage of first-rate pros loaded with showbiz pizzazz and comic artistry from the Philippine theater industry.

Carla Guevara-Laforteza and Cara Barredo shall alternately play the role of Princess Winnifred the Woebegone. She is a feisty, outspoken, independent, strong, optimistic, and free-thinking princess from the swamp lands. She isn’t too good with manners. She wants to get married, but must go through the queen's unfair test as well. The Prince, naturally, falls madly in love with her.
Niño Alejandro will play the role of Prince Dauntless. A nice, not too smart, everyday type of young Prince who desperately wants to get married, but is prevented by his mother's strict tests that she gives to all potential candidates.   

Hans Eckstein and Chino Veguillas shall alternately play the role of Sir Harry. He is the Queen’s Champion-in-Arms - the Lancelot of Knights - the macho, slightly egotistical, brave, romantic knight who decides to leave the kingdom to search for a princess, and finds Princess Winnifred in the swamp.  Easily jealous, but loves Lady Larken with all his heart. Harry cannot marry Lady Larken until Prince Dauntless has found a suitable bride.

Milay Guinid will essay the role of Queen Aggravain. The loud, talkative woman who really rules the country.  She is an overprotective, stubborn, sly Mom who is trying to keep her son, Prince Dauntless, from getting married.

Raymund Concepcion will play the role of King Sextimus. A kind, expressive, playful, and comedic character who is silent due to a curse placed upon him by a witch before the birth of Dauntless. He likes to chase girls through the corridors of the castle.  Needs good improv skills.

Arion Sanchez and Chino Veguillas will alternately play the role of Minstrel. The handsome narrator of the story, as well as in the musical story line. He becomes smitten with Lady Larken and tries to persuade her to flee to Normandy with him. He and the Jester join forces to stop the Queen's plans.
Steven Hotchkiss plays the role of the Jester. An energetic and peppy man who is the King's right-hand man and assists him with every endeavor. The Jester also plots with the Minstrel to spoil the Queen's plans.

Onyl Torres and Alex Dagalea shall alternately play the role of the Wizard. The egotistical, ex-performer who directly serves the Queen.  He is the Queen’s Henchman and thinks of all the Princess’ tests. He prides himself in his position and basically obeys all of the Queen’s orders.
Yanah Laurel and Jill Ita-as alternately essays the role of Lady Larken. She is the Queen’s Lady-in-Waiting but is put in charge of Princess Winnifred. She is madly in love with Sir Harry and desperately wants to marry him because she is pregnant with his baby. She tries to flee the Kingdom after having an argument with Sir Harry, but is convinced by Winnifred to reunite with him. 
Sweet Samaniego- Buchanan plays the role of Princess No. 12. She is the first Princess that the audience sees who is performing the rounds of tests. Very eager, smart, thinks well on her feet – of course the Prince wants to marry her.  

The Ladies-in-Waiting and Knights and are all waiting for the Prince to get married so that they can get married to each other.  These are character roles and are not just part of the chorus.
The Queen’s Ladies-in-waiting will be played by Sweet Samaniego- Buchanan, Ayam Eckstein, Tina Macaraeg, Jill Ita-as, Mica Fajardo, Meggy Katigbak, Nicole Herrera, and Ash Factor.  
The knights will be played by Vincent Kevin Pajara, Josh Cabiladas, Gry Gimena, Edrei Tan, Arion Sanchez, and Alex Dagalea.

The artistic team of “ONCE UPON A MATTRESS” are as follows: Steven Conde (Director); Sweet Samaniego – Buchanan (Artistic Director), Jay Pangilinan (Musical Arranger); Joseph Mattheu (Light Designer); Stephen Viñas (Choreographer); and Kayla Teodoro (Costume/Set Designer).
The production team is composed of the following: Sweet Samaniego – Buchanan, Danielle B. Eckstein, Vincent Kevin Pajara (Production Managers); Mary Joyce Tejero (Stage Manager); Toots Tolentino (Publicist); Roman Arambala (Assistant Stage Manager).

For tickets and inquiries, call Ticketworld at 8919999; tel. nos. 632-1330 and 646-9330 or visit http://ephesusteatron.com; email: sweetbutler@gmail.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/ephesusteatrongroupinc.


Sunday, April 10, 2016

Odin Rathnam in Olivier Ochanine's final PPO Season Concert as Music Director April 22


Press Update:
OUTGOING Music Director Olivier Ochanine features a thrilling line-up of orchestral music with the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra in its concert season ending on April 22, 2016.  The concert features American violinist Odin Rathnam as guest soloist on the Korngold Violin Concerto at the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (CCP Main Theater) at 8:00 pm.

The evening’s concert program also features Massenet’s Scènes de Féerie, Enesco’s Romanian Rhapsody No.1 and Ginastera’s Estancia Ballet Suite.  The Ginastera suite will be a preview of the Carnegie Hall performance by the Philippine Philharmonic which Ochanine has put together for June 18.

Ochanine has been Music Director and Principal Conductor of the Philippine Philharmonic since April 2010, when he took the helm as the youngest Music Director at the age of 30. Under his leadership, the orchestra has repeatedly brought to Manila audiences new listening experiences with countless Philippine premieres. With the upcoming tour, Ochanine hopes that the PPO can bring national pride to the multitudes of Filipinos on both US coasts who will get to witness the historic first performance by a Filipino orchestra in the country.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Panglao Take Two with Scent of Green Papaya

Doljo beach

Bolod
My first visit, three years ago, was a sneak peek of this beautiful island as I spent most of my time in my aunt’s gorgeous home, The Glass House, which she herself has designed.  She took me around the city and around some resorts.  We had ice cream, pizza, and a movie date to let me get a feel of how life is in Panglao. 

I spent an afternoon at Alona beach taking a stroll, sitting by the beach,  enjoying the sunset with a cocktail drink in one of the beach bars.   My stay was a dream as I woke up to a gorgeous sunrise view and closed my day taking in an inspiring sunset view of Panglao every day of my stay at the Glass House.  

From that experience, I learned how to get around in Panglao which is so much simpler than traveling to Boracay.  Going to Boracay, involves a plane ride, a van ride, and a boat to get to my destination.  In Panglao, I just had to take a trike from the airport to my accommodations.

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