The daughter would rather be different

DIRECT LINE - Boy Abunda -
Her parents, Laurice Guillen and Johnny Delgado, are two of silver screen’s most respected and talented personalities. She grew up oblivious of movie stars and films that surrounded her. Her childhood memories include tagging along with her parents during workshops, tapings and shootings. She could have easily entered showbiz given her showbiz lineage and experiences yet she chose another career path. Ana Feleo is carving a name of her own as a classical singer. An opera singer.

A classical singer is someone who is trained in the classical technique and specializes in singing oratorios, art songs and operas. On the other hand, opera is an art that combines music, drama, scenery and movement. It is sung through. "I fell in love with opera because of the depth of materials and the challenge it gave me vocally and artistically," Ana says.

Ana has always seen herself performing on stage since she was a little girl. She believes that having a good foundation in singing is essential if she wants to take it seriously. That’s why she took up classical singing. Now, her technique is stable and she can easily adjust to different genres like opera, Broadway, jazz, American standards and pop.

Others think that singers only need a good voice to sing well. Although it is true, discipline and constant, religious practice must be observed to improve one’s vocal skills. Ana explains the rigorous trainings she undergoes as a classical singer.

"I vocalize every day. I do my routine. I have a great relationship with my voice teacher, Tita Fides Asensio of the UP College of Music. When I have major productions, I go to her every day. No alcohol and cigarettes. I always make sure to have enough sleep."

Being a classical artist for Ana is a lifestyle. There are a lot of things that have to be sacrificed to maintain the condition of her voice.

Aside from the technical aspect of classical singing that includes breath support, the artistic aspect must also be considered. Singers must learn the basic languages like English, Italian, German, French and Spanish so they could understand and interpret the materials very well.

There’s prestige being a respected classical artist since you are always invited to perform and represent the country in arts festivals in Europe and Asia. However, a lot of people think that classical is only for the elite class because of the discipline and sophistication associated with it. Fortunately, producers of musical theaters and opera such as the Philippine Opera Company and the Music Theater Foundation of the Philippines are putting extra effort in promoting shows to schools, malls, theaters and concert halls to introduce these art forms to the young ones who are mostly exposed to hip-hop, rock and alternative sounds.

Ana has appeared in countless concerts, oratorios, operas and musicals from different productions such as Trumpets, Musikat, Tanghalang Pilipino, CCP, NCCA, among others. Her performances include Magnificat; Sino Ka Ba, Jose Rizal; Alikabok; The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe and Messiah. Her most significant role, however, was in the world premiere of the Filipino opera, Spoliarium: Juan Luna, where she played Paz Pardo de Tavera-Luna, the murdered wife of Luna. This was written by Prof. Fides Asensio and composed by Maestro Ryan Cayabyab.

"Most of the shows I do right now are corporate shows. I just came back from Paris, Berlin and Amsterdam and did classical performances in the three cities. I am doing Tennessee William’s Glass Menagerie which will open on Jan. 18 at the Rizal Mini-Theater in Ateneo. This is my mom’s comeback to theater. She is playing the lead and I am alternating with my sister Ina as her daughter."

The Glass Menagerie is a lyrical story that deals with a troubled family relationship. Amanda Wingfield is the mother who dreams of a better life for her cripplingly shy daughter Laura. The daughter lives in a world of illusion which she escapes through her menagerie of glass animals. Her son Tom is the narrator of the play who brings Jim O’Connor, the "Gentleman Caller," into Laura’s life. Also included in the play are Ronan Capinding and Jake de Leon alternating as Tom and Arnold Reyes and Randy Villarama alternating as the gentleman caller Jim.

Glass Menagerie
runs at the Rizal Mini-Theater, Ateneo de Manila University on Jan. 18 to 20, Jan. 25 to 27, Feb. 1 to 3 and Feb. 8 to 10 at 7 p.m. with 2 p.m. showings on Saturdays.

It is definitely exciting to watch both mom and daughter act together in a play. How was it like growing up with parents who are both icons in the movie industry? "We are a very private family. We are very supportive of each other. At home, they are just our normal sentimental parents," Ana reveals with a smile.

People probably asked her several times why she was not into the movies. Her parents did not have to encourage her to go into acting. It has always been her first love.

When Ana was young, she would imagine herself playing a character in some fairy tale book, or on stage playing a role, singing and dancing. Laurice and Johnny did encourage her though to really go into acting as a craft, to really respect and understand the art form. Even at an early age, Ana realized how dedicated her parents were to their craft and she wants to emulate it in the career she has chosen for herself.

Ana might have embarked on a career different from her parents’ footsteps but she truly found her passion, her true calling as a classical artist.











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