Conchita Gaston as Carmen
Conchita Gaston as Carmen
REMEMBER WHEN? - From the collection of DANNY DOLOR (The Philippine Star) - March 8, 2020 - 12:00am

After conquering Europe and the United States, Conchita Gaston returned home in 1972 to sing Bizet’s Carmen, her favorite opera role, at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. Hailed by critics as one of the finest singers in the world, Miss Gaston has sung Carmen over a hundred times in the original French, German, Flemish, Spanish and other languages.

But she also excelled in other operatic roles: Adaigisa in Norms, Suzuki in Madame Butterly, Jocasta in Oedipus Rex, Octavian in Der Rosenka Valier.

In 1959, she left for Europe to fulfill singing engagements in various opera houses. Miss Gaston took Europe by storm, particularly in Carmen, where critics lavished her with acclaim.

She then toured the United States, her voice heard from coast to coast series of recitals. She played the lead role in the first televised version of Madame Butterfly on NBC. She performed at Carnegie Hall with famed conductor Leonard Bernstain.

In CCP’s Carmen, Miss Gaston was supported by Don David as Don Jose, Constantino Bernardez as Escamillo, Roberto Natividad as Remendado and Gamaliel Viray as Zuniga.

In 1981, she came out on the cover of Panorama, detailing her battle with cancer. She organized the Conchita Gaston Cancer Foundation, which helped cancer victims in her hometown of Bacolod by shouldering their chemotherapy, operation and medical expenses.

She died on June 11, 1984 in The Hague, Holland. She was married to Max Helm.

Conchita Gaston was a recipient of the 1984 Gawad CCP para sa Sinin. — RKC



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