Christmas is all about traditions, and one of my favorite ones involves spending a most enjoyable afternoon at the Peninsula Manila, for its annual Christmas concert.
For me, this Christmas concert is really the official start of the Christmas season, even if there are many other Christmas concerts and parties already taking place before this.
A FAVORITE CHRISTMAS TRADITION
FOR MANY PEOPLE
Nothing makes me feel as Christmas-y as the Peninsula Christmas concert, which is usually a two-hour event featuring a mix of classics, western Christmas carols, and Philippine Christmas songs.
I guess a lot of people feel the same way, because I've been going to this concert for years, and I always see the same people in the tables around me.
I was seated at the general manager's table as a guest of Peninsula GM Sonja Vodusek, and the surrounding tables were being hosted by the event's other sponsors, including Mrs. Zenaida Tantoco of Rustan's Corporation.
EVEN THE CONDUCTOR
HAS BECOME A TRADITION
For the past 16 years, the Peninsula Christmas concert has been directed by Maestro Ruggero Barbieri, who flies in from Italy specifically for this concert.
He's also conducting at just one more concert, and this will be held on Tuesday as an invitational event hosted by the Ambassador of Italy.
VERY SPECIAL GUEST PERFORMERS
|Lani Misalucha brought the house down|
This year, the Peninsula Christmas concert had some very special performers: Jose Mari Chan, soprano Rachelle Gerodias and singer Lani Misalucha.
They were accompanied by the Philippine Philarmonic Orchestra, the Philippine Madrigal Singers, and the UST Singers.
They were all excellent, but Lani Misalucha really brought the house down with her rendition of "Pasko na, sinta ko" and the Nessun Dorma from the opera "Turandot."
The crowd would not let her go without an encore, either. So to appease everyone, she sang "Con Te Partiro" without any accompaniment, to a hushed crowd.
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SEE YOU AT
THE TRAVELIFE ROCKWELL TRAVEL FAIR
REMEMBERING AN OPERA IN
Aside from the Christmas songs, my particular favorite from the repertoire this afternoon was an excerpt from the opera "Aida."
It reminded me of the first time I watched the "Aida" in Europe, over 17 years ago.
We were in Verona, Italy, and we'd watched a summer performance of the "Aida" in the glorious ampitheater of Verona.
The "Aida" is a really long opera, made rather challenging by the fact that the ampitheater didn't have exactly comfortable seats. However, watching it al fresco, at close to midnight, in that stunning venue, made up for every hardship.
TOO MANY CHRISTMAS EVENTS,
TOO LITTLE TIME
But back to the Peninsula Christmas concert. What an enjoyable afternoon this was.
And then, when it finished, I had a very nice invitation to dinner at the Old Manila.
I would have loved to go, but today was an exceptionally busy day that began with afternoon tea and a performance by the British School choir at the Fairmont Hotel, followed by the Peninsula Christmas Concert, and then the Travelife Christmas party.
FUN AT THE TRAVELIFE CHRISTMAS PARTY
|Some of the Travelife team |
at the end of the Christmas party tonight.
Yes, tonight was the Travelife Christmas party, and what fun this was, as well, with everyone enjoying the Travelife tradition of "gift grab."
More on this tomorrow, after I recover from a pretty nice Sunday in my never-ending, and never-endingly eventful Travelife.