Otoniel Gonzaga sings in Adeste Fideles / Magic Flute / MCO artists Christmas at the Pen
SUNDRY STROKES - Rosalinda L. Orosa () - December 13, 2006 - 12:00am
Leading business executive Eddie Yap, who conceptualized Adeste Fideles and serves as its committee chairman, has avidly helped Parish Priest Fr. Tony Rosales promote the benefit concert set for tomorrow at 8 p.m. in Santuario de San Antonio. Herewith is Eddie’s update on the concert’s physical arrangements and program highlights.

Tickets have been sold out but extra chairs will be added along the aisle to accommodate numerous requests for seats and the expected last-minute ticket buyers. The two value-priced rear sections at both sides of the church will be provided with a video feed as they have no clear view of the altar-stage.

Audio amplification will be provided by sound experts to ensure that the performance will be clearly heard even at the farthest points. In addition to lighting the performers, the lighting director will bathe the church and audience with a variety of colors appropriate to the mood of the music.

Rehearsals started the other day and three more will follow before concert night.

Tight security measures will be in force. Two walk-through metal detectors will be placed at the only entrance at the front to screen all concert-goers. All side doors will be closed. Only ticket holders will be allowed entry. To allow a prompt start, seating is requested by 7:30 p.m.

The program begins with Mendelssohn’s Hark! The Herald Angels Sing in an arrangement especially commissioned for the concert. The orchestra will start in the fashion of an overture with trumpets blaring and drums pounding to be followed by the choirs singing in unison the angels’ announcement of the great and joyful news of the birth of the long-awaited Messiah.

The tenor’s choice solo, O Holy Night, was especially requested to be sung by world-acclaimed tenor Otoniel Gonzaga, who will also render Panis Angelicus with Rachelle Gerodias. The sopranos will delight the audience with a perky rendition of Twelve Days of Christmas. F. Gruber’s Stille Nacht will be sung in German by Camile Lopez, who was trained in Germany. Schubert’s Ave Maria will have a long and stirring string prelude to Camille’s solo.

Filipino favorites Pasko Na Sinta Ko and Payapang Daigdig will be rendered solo by tenor Frankie Aseniero and Rachelle, respectively.

The orchestra will open the second part of the program with a medley of Christmas songs around the world.

Organ music lovers will revel in the accompaniment to While Shepherd’s Watched Their Flock and The First Nowell.

Two selections from Handel’s Messiah will end the program on a high note – For Unto Us A Child Is Born and the majestic Hallelujah Chorus.

Adeste Fideles’
third tenor is the exciting, newly-discovered George Yang; the third soprano is the young, up-and-coming Karla Gutierrez. Alejandro Consolacion II is the organist. Also participating are the Coro de San Antonio, the Coro Tomasino, the Chiang Kai Sek College Youth Choir and the Philippine Children’s Choir from Mandaluyong.

The Manila Philharmonic Orchestra under Rodel Colmenar will assist.

Comments Mr. Yap on the concert: "Against the backdrop of the baroque altar of Santuario de San Antonio, we can enhance the solemnity of the occasion when adoration, praise and joy will be prayed through songs, so fitting for the joyous celebration. The program will surely touch the audience with its meaning and beauty."

Concert proceeds will go to the outreach programs of Santuario and the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP).
* * *
The Philippine Opera Company’s presentation of Mozart’s "Magic Flute", set for Dec. 14, 15, 19, 20 and 21 at 8 p.m., and Dec. 16 and 17 at 3:30 p.m. at the CCP Little Theater, is described by its producers thusly: "A fantasy adaptation of the fairy tale world of Mozart’s opera. A young girl and a dragon find their way from the Queen of the Night’s realm to Sarastro’s castle.

"With a magic flute and bells, the two friends help Prince Tamino find Princess Pamina, and Bird-Man Papageno his Papagena. An ingenious production with puppetry and animation."
* * *
Among the many items received, the following was inadvertently overlook. But the objective of the announced concert (now past), and the many new artists who were involved in it should be of interest to those in the musical field.

The Music Alumni of the Philippine High School for the Arts (PHSA) in Mt. Makiling staged its first reunion and benefit concert for PHSA last Dec. 1 at the F. Santiago Hall.

Through a venue grant from the Manila Chamber Orchestra (MCO) Foundation, Musika Ibarang (PHSA Music Alumni Association) highlighted the homecoming of Vienna-based pianist Aries Caces, Belgium-based soprano Fiona de Ocampo, and Milan-based pianist Jourdann Petlaver.

Other performers – mostly new names – were violinist Lorenzo Raval, violinist-conductor Jeffrey Solares, violinists Isidora Miranda and Ralph Taylan, cellist Nino Llorin, flutist GJ Herman Gomez, banduria players Rowena Bicaldo, pianists Jonathan Coo, Katherine Fernandez-Asia, Miguel Castro, Mikos Zalameda, Virginia Gomez-Arambulo, Marianna Fajardo, Veronica Gomez-Tan, Reubel Rodriguez-Uy, Melissa Geronimo Esguerra, Harold Galang, sopranos Karlene Denolo and Ethel Alon, counter tenor Christ Boreia, assistant choir master of the Madrigals.

The MCO Foundation has consistently helped young artists through recitals and outreach programs which have given them opportunities for endorsement, exposure and experience.
* * *
Christmas at the Pen will be celebrated Dec. 16, 5 p.m. at the elegant make-over Peninsula Lobby. One constant in the 23 years that the event has regaled audiences is the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra which will be under guest Conductor Ruggero Barbieri. Distinguished tenor Nolyn Cabahug (of whom Jaime Zobel de Ayala wrote: "Nolyn, a Filipino victor, has conquered the hearts of our countrymen with his beautiful voice") and Rachelle Gerodias, who has been heard in some of the best concert halls in Europe and Asia, will be joined by the award-winning Children’s Choir from Mandaluyong and the UP Concert Chorus, first-prize winner, male category, in Gorizia, Italy.

A tantalizing array of traditional and Filipino Yuletide favorites will be climaxed by Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus.

GM David Batchelor says: "The impressive musicianship, talent and artistry promise an exhilarating afternoon of joyful music. Barbieri and the other guest artists will surely deliver another bravura performance." He adds: "The concert is free so come early to secure a good seat."

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