Calbes and Rosal: Philippines-Canada Friendship Concert
Eleanor and Conching (wearing ternos by Aureo Alonzo) with your columnist after the friendship concert at the CCP.

Calbes and Rosal: Philippines-Canada Friendship Concert

REMEMBER WHEN? - Danny Dolor (The Philippine Star) - October 17, 2020 - 12:00am

It was a memorable evening of songs and music. Sopranos Eleanor Calbes and Conching Rosal were featured in a special concert, Philippines-Canada Friendship Concert, held at the CCP Main Theater on Oct. 22, 1980.

Accompanying Miss Calbes and Miss Rosal was the CCP Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Prof. Regalado Jose. The concert was dedicated to the memory of Maestra Lourdes Corrales de Razon, voice teacher of the two distinguished divas.

The musical event was presented “with pride” by impresario Luis Pimentel, husband of Conching, who were good friends of Eleanor.

Eleanor Calbes

Why the Philippines-Canada Friendship Concert?

This piece accompanying the concert souvenir program had this to say.

“To ask this question is to stress the obvious.

“Eleanor Calbes, a Filipina but for years a Canadian citizen and a resident of Toronto, is one Canadian who has been spreading goodwill and only the most pleasant thoughts for her adopted country wherever she performs and of whom many Canadians who count are extremely proud.

“And Conching Rosal; ah, our wholly own Conching…which Filipino music lover does not know, has not savored the gentilities of her enduring art and has not been lovestruck?

Conching Rosal

“These two extraordinary talents together in a concert — what more fitting title could one give the event than what the organizers have billed it? But more than that, more than the cultural or — if you will — the sentimental side, there are other ties that bind Canada and the Philippines.”

The concert had the wholehearted support of the Canadian Embassy and Ambassador Edward Bobonski.

Eliseo Ocampo wrote in Saturday Postscript, excerpts:

“Coiled up on an easy chair with legs folded, she looked cool, relaxed, poised, languorously beautiful, very much unlike the schoolgirlish balikbayan who, some two hours earlier, shrieked with unbounded delight at the sight of a friend’s face in the tarmac crowd as she walked down the ramp of the plane that brought her from Hong Kong on the last leg of her long flight from Toronto.

“‘You know what I’d like very much to eat?’ she half-asked, ‘Green mangoes with bagoong, that’s what.’

“And in that candid statement, Eleanor Calbes, the celebrated soprano from Canada, back in her native country for the second time in seventeen years, revealed herself: having reached the peak of a demanding career and achieved distinctive recognition in a keenly competitive field, she has remained the simple, unspoiled country girl that she was when she first arrived in Canada — no pretensions, no airs, no frills.” — RKC

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