Lea & Lisa in Art 2 Art's 5th-year show
Rosalinda L. Orosa (The Philippine Star) - March 11, 2012 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Art 2 Art has guested many of the country’s national artists, literary luminaries, music prodigies, film and theater veterans and the finest visual artists through the years that it has been airing. This month, the arts and culture program aired on DZRH and RHTV celebrates its fifth anniversary with the guesting of Lea Salonga.

“We’re so honored to have Lea for an episode that marks an important milestone for our program,” enthuses Art 2 Art host, prima ballerina Lisa Macuja. “She’s such an iconic Filipino artist that we’re really just so thrilled to have a conversation with her about her life as an artist.”

It was in 2007 that Lisa first started her stint in broadcasting, in pursuit of her mission to help develop a grater appreciation for art and culture among Filipinos. “Our motto was, ‘Usapang sining at kultura para sa lahat.’ We have welcomed so many of our fellow artists from various disciplines in the 264 episodes we have clocked so far. And our hope is that through all the interviews, the followers of Art 2 Art have found inspiration from the stories of artists as they struggled and triumphed in their respective fields.”

Lisa says the common thread reflected in these stories is the strength of character shared by the artists. “They really serve as positive role models as the discussions tend to focus on such values as perseverance, courage, hard work, dedication and the pursuit of excellence as they make a life for themselves in the arts.”

Produced by the Manila Broadcasting Company, the 30-minute Sunday program has since expanded into cable television and has already garnered several awards. It has received two Catholic Mass Media Awards as Best Educational Program on Radio from the Archdiocese of Manila, two Golden Dove Awards as Best Radio Program on Culture and the Arts from the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster sa Pilipinas, and citations from Gawad Tanglaw as Best Educational Radio Program and Best Radio Anchor for Macuja.

Just last week, Lisa received the good news that Gawad Tanglaw — given by a group of academicians — has again named Art 2 Art as its awardee for Best Educational Radio Program for the second straight year. The awarding will be held on March 15 at the University of Perpetual Help System in Las Piñas City.

The anniversary episode featuring Lea promises another interesting exchange between two artists who have quite a few things in common. They started early in their disciplines, Lea at age seven when she starred in her first musical play and Lisa at eight when she had her first ballet lesson. They both lived abroad and have experienced being a global Filipino artist, with Lea making international headlines for her starring role in Miss Saigon in the West End in London and eventually on Broadway in the US, and Lisa becoming the first foreigner to be invited to join the prestigious Kirov Ballet of Russia as soloist.

They are also wives and mothers who exchange notes in Art 2 Art on how they manage to balance time between their families and their thriving careers.

Lisa and Lea also discuss a project they will be working on together, along with another artist of the finest caliber, classical pianist Cecile Licad. For the first time, the three are joining forces in The Legends and the Classics, a concert that fuses song, music and dance in one unforgettable package.

When the idea was first broached to her, Lea notes how excited she was about it. “I don’t think anything like it has ever been done before. It’s three artists each from a distinct discipline, but all joined by music. It should be something very special. Rehearsing the numbers will be incredible already.”

Curiously, adds Lea, she has worked with a Licad and a Macuja before — but not the ones she is topbilled with in The Legends and the Classics. She explains, “I actually first met Lisa’s brother Jerry because he was also active with Repertory Philippines, then met her sister Gia as we were batchmates in Ateneo and worked together on My Fair Lady with Repertory, along with Cecile’s brother Albert. So it’s kinda funny that I worked with a Licad and a Macuja who wasn’t either Cecile or Lisa!”

For Lisa, the episode with Lea paves the way for a fruitful fifth year for Art 2 Art. “We will continue to bring more insightful and engaging conversations with our country’s most accomplished artists. Just like when we started, our promise to our listeners and viewers remains: Usapang sining and kultura para sa lahat!”

The fifth-anniversary episode of Art 2 Art airs today, 3:30 to 4 p.m., on DZRH (666 khz on the AM band), via RHTV on Cablelink Channel 9 and on the Internet through the website http://dzrh.tripod.com.

(The Legends and the Classics goes on stage on March 17, Saturday, 8 p.m., and on March 18, Sunday, 6 p.m. at the Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (Main Theater) of the Cultural Center of the Philippines. Presented by Ballet Manila and Manila Broadcasting Company, with the support of Lifestyle Network, Sofitel Philippine Plaza, and Ayala Land Premiere and with special thanks to McDonald’s Philippines, the concert also features Gerard Salonga & FILharmoniKA and Ballet Manila. Musical director is Gerard Salonga, while Roxanne Lapus is stage director. Tickets are available at all TicketWorld outlets. For details, check out www.ticketworld.com.ph or call 891-9999.)

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