Camille's magnificent forte / Eminent artists in concert


A second song recital presented by MCO at the Filipinas Heritage Library, featured Camille Lopez Molina, one of the country’s top sopranos, and much in-demand pianist Najib Ismail as assisting artist.

The love songs consisted of eight in German by Schumann, the aria ‘Si Mi chiama no Mimi’ from Puccini’s ‘La Boheme’ in Italian, three songs by R. Strauss in German, also three by Tchaikovsky rendered in German rather than in Russian, including the well-loved ‘None but the Lonely Heart’, concluding with Dvorak’s ‘Song to the Moon’ in Czech.

All the selections, of sensuous appeal, had translations on the screen, which translations sometimes seemed ungrammatical, illogical and rather silly.

Certain songs had breadth and grandeur of style, and Camille’s powerful voice, magnificently sustained, reached great heights and intense climaxes. Her fortissimos and pianissimos were utterly compelling, but there were not enough nuanced dynamics to add more color and variety to the renditions.

‘Rest My Soul,’ ‘Tomorrow’ and ‘The Lover’s Pledge’ by Strauss had alluring vividness and enormous vitality, and Camille interpreted them exceedingly well.

Opera can be very ironic. Mimi in ‘La Boheme’ is a frail, consumptive girl. Here, we had a robust soprano in perfect health. But with the exigencies of opera, a huge frame is usually needed to project a tremendous volume, and Camille proved the truth of this most impressively. Further, her Italian diction was clear and distinct.

Listeners in the back rows applauded lustily after each of Camille’s thunderous endings, and she graciously gave two encores.

Najib Ismail’s perfect rapport with the soprano, rich tonal hues and inflections, grasp of subtle musical details, eloquently dramatic preludes and postludes showed him to be an exceptional assisting artist.

*   *   *

On Feb. 21, 8 p.m. at the Audi Global City, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig, “Trio n Triple” will feature violinist Michael Emery, cellist Ann Alton and pianist Cristine Coyiuto, with the special participation of flutist Caitlin Alisa Coyiuto.

Alton is the principal cellist of the Lake Placid Sinfonietta and is at present with the faculties of Skidmore College and the Juilliard School’s pre-college division.

Cristine Coyiuto received her MM degree in Music from Jiulliard and was a laureate of the Academie Internationale de Musique “Maurice Ravel” in France and Geneve Conservatoire in Switzerland. She has garnered the titles “Pianists’ pianist” and “Poetess of the piano”.

Michael Emery divides his musical career between concerts in US and Europe, and teaching at Skidmore College, NY, where he is artist-in-residence.

Flutist Caitlin and her pianist mother Cristine continue to be acclaimed by both the public and the critics. It may be Caitlin’s last concert for a while. The incredibly talented flutist enters Wellesley College as a freshman this fall.

On Feb. 23 at 8 p.m., Filfest headed by president Vicky F. Zubiri, will open Season 5 “Southern Exposure” at the Insular Life Auditorium with cellist Ann Alton, pianist Cristine Coyiuto and violinist Michael Emery in “Beet-Hov-En” works by Beethoven, Hovhannes and Enescu, with the Metro Manila Concert Orchestra under Chino Toledo assisting.

The CCP announces the following: Eminent British-born conductor James Judd conducts the Philippine Philhamonic Orchestra on February 17 at the Philamlife Theater, 8 p.m. Finnish violinist and concertmaster of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (NZSO) Vesa-Matti Leppanen is guest performer.

The program includes Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 4 “Italian” and Bernstein’s Overture to Candide and Beethoven’s Violin Concerto.

Judd is the Music Director ‘Emeritus of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (NZSO), garnering acclaim for his recordings with the orchestra, including works by Copland, Bernstein, Vaughan Williams, Gershwin. He was Principal Guest Conductor of the Orchestre National de Lille in France and Music Director of the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra. He was also assistant conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra and Associate Music Director of the European Community Youth Orchestra under Claudio Abbado. Judd’s live recordings of Mahler’s Symphonies No. 9 with the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra and No. 10 with the European Community Youth Orchestra, as well as Elgar’s Symphony No. 1 received international praise. He has conducted the Berlin Philharmonic, Israel Philharmonic, the Vienna Symphony, Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig, Prague Symphony, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, the Monte-Carlo Symphony Orchestra. He also conducted the operas Il Trovatore. La Traviata, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Rigoletto, Le Nozze di Figaro and at the Glyndebourne Opera Festival Rossini’s La Cenerentola. He co-founded the Chamber Orchestra of Europe.

Vesa-Matti Leppanen, Concertmaster of the NZSO, was born and raised in Turku, Finland. He studied at the Turku Conservatory and Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, and later joined the Turku Philharmonic Orchestra, one of the oldest symphony orchestras in Europe. At 16, he won the prestigious Heinonen National Violin Competition and joined the Concordo String Quartet. He performed with internationally renowned Pinchas Zukerman, Hillary Hahn, Lang-Lang, and with the Auckland Philharmonia and Christchurch Symphony.

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