A recap: Cecile, Lea, Lisa/‘Repertoire’ wrongly used/Cecile’s cultural missions

SUNDRY STROKES (The Philippine Star) - October 12, 2013 - 12:00am

A prolonged bout with the flu has prevented me from watching Ballet Manila’s Le Corsaire and The Legends and The Classics – to my immense regret. I have seen the three icons Cecile Licad, Lea Salonga and Lisa Macuja perform several times; further the announcement says the reprise will “essentially retain the flavor of the original show.”

Cecile will create music with her fingers. Lea will create music with her vocal chords; being an actress besides, she will enhance her songs with spiritedly eloquent stage movements. Lisa will dance ballet numbers to music. The program (as announced) will consist of Rachmaninoff works by Cecile, Broadway hits and romantic standards by Lea and ballet dances by Lisa. The featured artists are among the country’s most celebrated, each having started to perform at a very young age. Cecile, who has the most extensive engagements abroad, won at 19, the coveted, prestigious Leventritt award which was her open sesame to the international stage. For her portrayals on Broadway, Lea won the Tony and Lawrence Olivier awards. Lisa, the only Filipino soloist of Russia’s Kirov Ballet, is subsequently starring on foreign stages. At this time of writing, Cecile will play in her usual bravura, virtuoso style; Lea, in her enthralling and enchanting manner. Lisa, although the most senior dancer of Ballet Manila is still its unexcelled ballerina. Expectedly she will perform with grace, lightness, elan – with her usual aplomb.

At the original presentation of The Legends and the Classics, nothing in the performing arts arrested, aroused and held the attention more than the dance idiom which has for its instrument the whole body. Lisa has mastered a ballet system started in Italy and France centuries ago, and consistently developed in those countries and in Russia. Cecile and Lea enthralled, each in her fashion. I still wish I had attended the reprise particularly because there was a surprise number. The exciting young Gerard Salonga and eminent cellist Ed Pasamba conducted the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra.

* * *

It is incredible, amazing and “shocking” to see how often academicians, pedagogues, performing artists, directors, etc., wrongly use that ubiquitous word “repertoire.” Repertoire or repertory refers to the entire collection of works learned by an artist or ensemble throughout a period of time.

If one reads that in a concert the pianist’s repertoire will consist of the works by Beethoven, Schubert, Mendelssohn, etc., then that would mean that the audience will attend a concert that would last for three years or more, could last a lifetime, never leaving the theater depending on the extent of the player’s repertoire of Beethoven’s, Schubert’s, Mendelssohn’s works. PROGRAM, rather than repertoire, is the word to use.

* * *

Theater stalwart Cecile Guidote Alvarez returned from a fruitful meeting at the UN Assembly where she was invited by UNESCO to attend the global education first initiative established by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon that was keynoted by UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova and moderated by the special representative for education, former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown with the new World Bank Director.

She was elated at the Ford Foundation launching of a study by Learning Metrics Task Force as its first anniversary offering culture and arts as one of its 7 pillars for a global framework of learning domains. The event was highlighted by the presence of two heads of states, President of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and President of Tunisia Moncef Morzouki, the Queen of Jordan Queen Rania Al Abdullah, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova whose passion in cross disciplinary implementation of the New Humanism Goal of UNESCO is admirable and inspiring.

Cecile joined meetings with officers of Climate Institute, its president, John Topping its program director, the head of explorer and an outstanding singer for peace. The discussion centered on partnership for programs initiated by Climate Change Commissioner, Heherson Alvarez which secured approval from President Aquino III, chairman of Climate Change Commission regarding Ocean Security Initiative to address the survival challenge of global warming and the alternative Energy Program for Small Island States.

Other event: A side meeting with La Mama Theatre with Mia Yoo who was designated successor of Ellen Stewart when she passed away. Allowed arrangement for visiting artists to enhance Cecile’s UNESCO DREAM Center Phil. ITI – Earthsavers Academy/Ensemble and explain the paradigm of the ITI Asia Pacific Bureau meeting at the end of February for Arts Month to be hosted by the Philippines with the new Executive Director of Asian Cultural Council.

Cecile and her distinguished colleagues will initiate the proposal for military tribunal documentation of Ninoy’s speeches and defense to be inscribed in the UNESCO Memory of the World in the same manner, Mandela’s prison record has been included in the World Registry of significant historic events.

They are prepared for two things, the Earthsavers UNESCO Artists for Peace Performance at ADB on Octber 16 in observance of poverty alleviation day as well as a benefit tribute for poet-playwright, director, actor Frank Rivera afflicted by cancer. Likewise, they just finished judging Aliw Award 2013 whose winners were announced at Manila Hotel on October 8.

Cecile founded the Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) some decades ago, a fact hardly recognized and for which she was not given any credit. Among her first students in PETA were Lino Brocka, Gardy Labad, Marilou Jacob, Lily O’Boyle, Joy Soler and Mario de los Reyes.





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