Rachelle Gerodias goes Madly Filipiniana

Edu Jarque - The Philippine Star
Rachelle Gerodias goes Madly Filipiniana
Rachelle, as the country’s most sought-after soprano, rightfully belongs to the world of opera and concerts

MANILA, Philippines — Rachelle Gerodias, as the Philippines’ most sought-after soprano, rightfully belongs to the world of opera and concerts. So, I was pleasantly surprised to recently spot her, genuinely enjoying an evening at the ballet. During the extended intermission, we caught up with her — on her husband, South Korea’s premier baritone Byeong-In Park, on their growing family and on their respective careers.


Here are some snippets of our conversation.

On the couple’s recent professional activities:

“My husband Byeong-In and I have been appreciatively busy with special events and mini-concerts. In addition to our performances, we are busy teaching, coaching, mentoring and nurturing up-and-coming talents in our own academy, the Gerodias-Park Music Studio.

“He is currently at work, preparing for his solo concert at the Schubert Festival in Busan, South Korea come November, where he will perform the German song cycle Die Schöne Müllerin.”

On her latest shows:

“And oh yes — I will hold my own concert Madly Filipiniana, as part of the upcoming Pinoy Playlist Festival, a celebration of original Filipino music on Saturday, Oct. 13, and my Gala Night on Sunday the 14th, at the Maybank Performing Arts Globe Theater at Bonifacio Global City.”

On Madly Filipiniana’s concept:

“Over dinner with some good friends, this project was born out of our common love for classical music, and came up with the idea of all-Kundiman concerts.

“We immediately brainstormed to tap other friends to be part of the production. First was Floy Quintos, who is extremely enthusiastic, and excitedly gave a different flavor to the presentation of traditional love songs — and thus the title Madly Filipiniana.

“Soon after, other good friends graciously joined in. Miguel Miñana as the over-all executive producer, John Batalla — lighting director, Gino Gonzalez and Robert Blancaflor as stage and set designers, while Rommel Serrano is in charge of costumes, hair and makeup.”

On show teasers:

“Concerts of Philippine traditional music and art songs need not be dull or staid. It can be a spectacle that combines the classic songs with a madcap nostalgia.

“This particular show starts in the 1920s with the carnival queen glamor, to a love affair during peacetime — the era before World War II — plus faith and even funky pastorale. The finale? Surprise, surprise!

“Song and dance, fashion and theater — in all their drama — blend into one extravaganza of visually unpredictable, yet stunning and fabulous, all to create a magical and memorable evening.”

On song choices:

“I chose much-loved Filipino classical songs that are near and dear to my heart. I purposely selected Kundimans that particularly fit each segment, that depict specific periods in Philippine history.”

On special performances and collaborations:

“We have just finalized the program. No new songs will be featured — only new arrangements.

“Byeong-In is participating as a guest. His Filipino skills are improving! You won’t even believe he’s a foreigner when you hear him sing in Tagalog — and I must take some credit as his Filipino coach.

“Internationally acclaimed pianist Raul Sunico will showcase his mastery at the piano on both nights. He will likewise provide accompaniment for a few songs.

“On the Gala Night on the 14th, Maestro Ryan Cayabyab will share his own pop-rock arrangements of the familiar Mutya ng Pasig and Anak ng Pasig, which I will perform alongside Jett Pangan, the vocalist of The Dawn, considered as the longest-running and most prolific rock band in the country.

“A chamber ensemble, the Kalilayan Folk Dance Troupe, together with the Koro ng Unida, the choir of Unida Evangelical Church, where I attend service, complete the list of performers.”

On giving back to the community:

“Proceeds will be for the organization, the Rachelle Gerodias Foundation, which I started a few years back for the education and training of would-be musicians of the Unida Evangelical Church, through scholarships. They are all deserving and extremely talented, but sadly, they need assistance to pursue their dreams.”

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