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They love opera

 Nes Jardin and Nedy Tantoco Photos by WALTER BOLLOZOS

With an international cast of acclaimed artists and stage craftsmen from Italy and the Philippines to perform Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore (The Elixir of Love), the acclaimed comic opera was the perfect way to celebrate the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.   

Though the show was only two hours long, it took Nedy Tantoco, Rustan’s chairman and CEO, as well as president of the Philippine Italian Association and the CCP’s trustee, eight months of  coordination to present an artistic feast with a superb cast led by Elena Monti, David Astorga, Francesco Vultaggio, Byeong-In Park, and our very own Rachel Gerodias.

As she welcomed theater goers, Nedy was warmly applauded when she reminded us that aside from enjoying the evening, “It will also be in aid of a worthwhile charity with an Italian connection since the proceeds will go towards completion of the new Church of San Pablo Apostol in Tondo, Manila where the congregation from one of the most impoverished areas of the capital is cared for by Italian priest Fr. Carlo Bittante of the Canossians Sons of Charity.”

Giorgio Guglielmino , the newly arrived ambassador from Italy,  seemed  delighted that one of his first social forays was a presentation of his country’s  most popular and witty opus that will soon be staged in New York’s Met.

Nestor Jardin and Raul Sunico, executive producers of the show, did an amazing job mounting the production in eight short days instead of the usual three weeks needed to fine-tune a huge production. As Nes explained, “The director, Vincenzo Grisostomi, artistic consultant Prince Sisowath Ravivaddhana Monipong, music director Ruggero Barbieri, and the rest of the artistic and production staff worked double time to rehearse the songs, stage the production, fit the costumes and set up the stage and technical properties within the limited period.”

With an international cast of Italians, Costa Rican, Korean, Cambodian, American, Russian and, of course, Filipinos on the team, the temperament and language barrier were quite challenging but in the end, it turned out to be one happy and congruent working family.

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As Nes further added, “In hindsight, it was a glorious experience for all of us. Everyone on the cast and staff had a truly memorable and enjoyable time rehearsing, performing and learning from each other. But most of all, the friendship that we developed and gained was the best gift one could have from L’Elisir d’Amore. It greatly helped that our producer and brainchild of L’Elisir d’Amore, Nedy Tantoco,  was very enthusiastic and supportive of the project and the needs of the production. “

L’Elisir d’Amore (The Elixir of Love) is sponsored by Royal Duty Free, The Peninsula Manila, Megaworld Lifestyle Malls, Sta. Elena Golf & Country Estate, Rustan Supercenters Inc., Rustan Marketing Corp., Hermes, Debenhams, Bergamo and Cafe Puro.

 

 

 

 

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