“I announced that I wouldn’t be attending the SEA Games when I recorded the song,” Lea told The STAR in a text message from Singapore for the staging of the musical “Sweeney Todd.”
Why Lea won’t be at SEA Games
Ricky Lo (The Philippine Star) - November 27, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Eleven top Filipino singers are performing live during the grand opening ceremonies of the 30th SEA Games at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan, on Saturday, Nov. 30, but Lea Salonga won’t be among them even if she’s the voice behind “We Win As One,” the Games’ anthem composed by Floy Quintos (lyrics) and National Artist for Music Ryan Cayabyab (melody).

“I announced that I wouldn’t be attending the SEA Games when I recorded the song,” Lea told The STAR in a text message from Singapore for the staging of the musical “Sweeney Todd.” “The organizers knew from the very beginning that I couldn’t do the opening.”

Instead, Lani Misalucha will sing the Philippine National Anthem to kick off the four-suite extravaganza with Quintos as creative director, and she will join in the rendition of “We Win As One” at the closing portion with 10 other Filipino singers representing the 11 participating countries – Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Timor-Leste, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam.

They are: Robert Sena, Aicelle Santos, Jed Madela, Anna Fegi, Christian Bautista, KZ Tandingan, the TNT Boys, Inigo Pascual, Elmo Magalona and Arnel Pineda (of Journey) who will also appear with apl.de.ap/Allan Pineda Lindo of Black Eyed Peas during the closing ceremonies on Dec. 11.

The opening ceremonies, designed for TV viewing, will be beamed to the 11 participating countries. The event will be capped by the lighting of the cauldron by Sen. Manny Pacquiao in front of the New Clark City in Tarlac, to be beamed to the Philippine Arena.

“It’s better to watch it on television than at the venue,” assured Quintos who worked on the preparation with Libby-Hyland of FiveCurrents (overall director who did the London Olympics); FiveCurrents president Scott Givens (producer); Simon Francis (TV director, one of the best broadcast directors); Nikko Rivera and Jimmy Antiporda (musical arrangements); Eloisa Matias (music producer); Eric Pineda, Mitoy Sta. Ana and Maxi Cinco (costumes); and Video Sonic and Stage Craft International, Inc. (staging).

“I have a performance of Sweeney Todd on the 30th,” added Lea, “so I’ll have to catch up via YouTube.”

During the “Parade of Colors,” 2015 Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach will serve as the Philippine Team’s muse. The 10 other countries will also have Philippine beauties as muses – for Brunei Darussalam, Miss Intercontinental 2018 Karen Gallamn; Cambodia, Miss Multinational 2018 Sophia Senoron; Indonesia, 2013 Miss World Megan Young; Laos, 2018 Miss Eco International Cynthia Thomalia; Malaysia, 2005 Miss International Lara Quigaman; Myanmar, Miss Earth 2017 Karen Ibasco; Singapore, Miss Earth 2014 Jamie Herrel; Thailand, Miss Earth 2015 Angelia Ong; Timor-Leste, Miss Tourism 2017 Jannie Alipoon; and Vietnam, Miss Asia Pacific International 2018 Sharifa Akeel.

Quintos further clarified that Lea did not commit to performing in the opening ceremonies.

“Lea and all of the SEA Games Opening Ceremonies production team knew that she would be doing ‘Sweeney Todd’ in Singapore in November,” Quintos told The STAR. “This was communicated early on this year, even before she recorded the song which is used as promo material for the SEA Games.

“Stars of her magnitude have their schedules planned out years in advance so she could not have possibly backed out, as some surmise. Besides, it isn’t like Lea at all to back out of a commitment. Last time she did, it was because she had broken a leg, giving a whole new meaning to the theatrical adage.”

With that, Quintos cheered the production team right on “Break a Leg, Team Opening Ceremonies! And break a leg in Singapore, Lea! Wherever we are placed, whatever we are tasked to do, let’s try to be the best Filipinos we can be.”


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