Thursday, September 29, 2011
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Philippine Opera Company's Artistic Director Karla Gutierrez writes about the Age of Innocence for Filipinos. There are too few authentic Philippine cultural shows but this one genuinely captures our culture in its many facets, and is also a genuine labor of love. Catch this beautiful show from September 29 - October 1 at the RCBC Plaza. For tickets, please call 8817168 or 0917-527-2880.
Mounting a show like this is an act of faith. All around, the commercial theater and concert scene is full of imports, both the ideas and the actual productions. When we at the Philippine Opera Company decided to make a tradition of our Harana series, we said to ourselves “This is going to be a tough job. But we want to do it because we need to be reminded of how beautiful our music is, and how much our souls can be enriched by hearing these sung again.”
RETURN TO A LOST ERA
So, with a cast of twelve dedicated singers, plus the members of the Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group, we set out creating the production. The stirring arrangements of Jessie Lazaten, Von de Guzman and Paulo Zarate were more than enough basis for the staging and the choreography. As the production took shape, we felt more and more inspired and encouraged by the over-all picture that we were painting for an audience: a picture of an Age of Innocence that we Filipinos so badly need to return to.
THE GOODNESS OF FILIPINOS
From children’s songs to tribal chants, from planting songs to courtship ditties, from stirring kundiman to the delightful showstoppers by Sylvia la Torre, from the works of the three C’s—Canseco , Cruz and Cayabyab, the portrait we paint is of a race that is inherently good, inherently strong and kind and noble. The music we need to hear again and again, has painted the portrait of a people we need to reminded we once were.
AN AUTHENTIC FILIPINO MUSICAL
And that is why we wanted to push through with “Ang Bagong Harana,” despite the financial constraints, despite the constant struggle to find sponsors and sell tickets, despite the seeming foolhardiness of doing a Pinoy Musical revue when every other Pinoy seems interested in listening to anything but his own traditional music. Now, more than ever, we need to believe in ourselves. The songs that have served us well in the past will also serve as well as we go bravely into the future.
So, we thank those who believed in our vision, the sponsors who chose to see beyond just media values and audience numbers, the ticket buyers who chose this show, the friends who have been so supportive and giving. We thank them---and you---for choosing to experience “Ang Bagong Harana”, and in so doing, have chosen to believe in the very best that the Filipino can be.
Written by Karla Gutierrez
Artistic and Managing Director
Philippine Opera Company
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Today it was storming outside but the Arogya Aurveda Center in Makati -- the Philippines' most authentic ayurvedic center -- was open for business and I was supposed to start the first day of my eight-day ayurvedic detox program. So I braved the ferocious winds and a couple of falling trees to drive over from my pretty comfy part of town to Arogya for Day 1 of my panchakarma (ayurveda detox).
Monday, September 26, 2011
Interestingly, today too I went to a family dinner with my relatives who are all rabid Ateneans. We go back generations and generations at the Ateneo, after all. Well, the talk was nothing but about the basketball game tomorrow between Ateneo and FEU – possibly the deciding match in this year’s UAAP championship. If Ateneo wins tomorrow – assuming it’ll not be Signal no. 3 and there’ll actually be a game – then we win the UAAP championships for the fourth year in a row.
Everyone had their Blackberries and schedules out and were comparing notes on the UAAP. Everyone except me, of course. I'll happily go to an Ateneo-La Salle game to watch my school win, but not really to other games.
ATENEO BONFIRE ON OCT 2?
“If Ateneo wins tomorrow, then the bonfire will be on Oct. 2,” said my cousin who never misses a game. She’d in fact just bought about 15 tickets for tomorrow’s game for my assorted cousins and uncles who were watching the game. The Ateneo bonfire, for the uninitiated, is the big outdoor celebration on campus that takes place whenever Ateneo wins the UAAP championship. Everyone participates in it, including current students and alumni going back generations.
“What if the game’s canceled?” I asked.
THE DAYS BEFORE NORMAN BLACK
“It better not be,” another cousin said, perhaps my most rabid Atenean relation. He and M would certainly have a most interesting chat if they sat at the same table. “That’s bad luck. I really hope not, as that’s a jinx. Historically we’ve lost the momentum and the game’s been jinxed when the we’ve had to postpone the game. Of course, in those days, we didn’t have Norman Black.”
My other cousin, more in tune with the schedules of the UAAP, piped in: “Then we probably will have the game on Saturday and the bonfire on Oct 8.”
My rabid Ateneo cousin corrected her: “Of course we’ll have to win the game first. If the game's tomorrow, I'm sure we'll win. If it's canceled, then historically it's jinxed and it's free for all.”
M AGAINST MY WORLD
Then I showed them the text that M had sent me earlier that evening, about why La Salle had to give way to Ateneo this year because their trophy room is already full and they need to make way for more. There were expletives all around the table. "Tell him to do the math, please," said my cousin seated next to me. "He obviously has a lousy memory and he needs a calculator."
I burst out laughing, wondering if I should actually tell M this. But it was pretty late and I know he usually sleeps early so I didn't bother.
The rest of the evening was devoted to basketball talk and to why Ateneo is better than La Salle. So sorry to my La Sallite friends, but that’s what happens when Ateneo loyalists get together, and especially on the eve of an event that fosters school spirit like the UAAP championships.
THE ULTIMATE THREAT
Most of the stuff discussed is actually unprintable if I still want to keep my La Salle friends. So I’m going to stop here and say that I spent the rest of the evening happily sending BBM messages to some people while my cousins bashed the rival school – and one cousin in particular, the rabid Atenean one.
I looked up from my Blackberry finally, just in time to hear the following threat – the ultimate threat for a rabid Atenean -- hurled at him by someone across the table: “Sige, you’ll get karma if you keep talking that way. All your in-laws will end up being La Sallites. Or else your daughter's going to end up studying in La Salle”
Sunday, September 25, 2011
Tonight I started thinking about old and favorite songs because I've been brainstorming in my head all day about the upcoming AIESEC Alumni Asia Pacific Congress 2011 Opening Night & AIESEC Alumni Reunion party on October 21 at the Peninsula Manila. So much of my college life and memories of it is tied to music, and in this case, all the more so, since so many performing talents in the Philippines are part of the AIESEC Hall of Fame.