Saturday, June 7, 2014

SUITE ESPAÑOLA, a lovely piano and flamenco combination, at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) tonight

Tonight, in Manila living a Travelife, I attended a beautiful performance by two very talented Spanish artists at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

The Embassy of Spain in the Philippines and the Cultural Center of the Philippines presented SUITE ESPAÑOLA (Spanish Suite), an original show which combines classical music and flamenco singing in search of a common ground.

This show was organized originally by the my friend, Ambassador Jorge Domecq, the former Ambassador of Spain to the Philippines, who just very recently returned to Madrid.

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For this show, a classical pianist and a flamenco singer mixed piano scores with flamenco songs in search of a better understanding of that evolution, exploring both worlds, looking for their roots and freely interpreting the compositions of Spanish greats like Granados, Albéniz and Falla.

I had never seen a combination like this before, anywhere in Spain, or anywhere in the world, for that matter.

It was utterly mesmerizing and just a great pleasure to experience and see two great artists collaborating together.


It helped too that we had the best seats in the house, enabling us to better appreciate the performance.

A friend very gallantly escorted me to the show tonight, and then he took me to a very nice dinner at the Italian restaurant of Solaire afterwards.

At the start of the evening, I'd made him wait for about half an hour when he came to pick me up, making him think that we'd miss the show.

His driver sped into the CCP at exactly two minutes to showtime, and -- just our luck -- the middle row center left seats, which also allow a perfect view of the pianist's hands -- happened to be free.

He said to me, rather drily: "You should always be late, and we should always get to the theater one minute before the show starts."


SUITE ESPAÑOLA was performed by flamenco singer Rocío Márquez Limón and classical pianist Rosa Torres-Pardo, two Spanish artists who have successfully performed the show in Spain.

They are performing the show for the very first time in Asia, and they just performed at the Instituto Cervantes in  Tokyo a few days ago.


The pianist, Rosa Torres-Pardo, exhibited such technical mastery and artistic liveliness tonight. I can't accurately describe her performance tonight, except to say that she practically danced on the piano.

Rosa received the Masterplayers Award in Switzerland in 1986 and she successfully debuted at the Teatro Real de Madrid in 1987, performing Prokofiev´s Concerto Nº 3 with the Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra.

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She has worked with several orchestras including:

1) The Los Angeles Philharmonic 
2) The London Royal Philharmonic Orchestra 

And she has also performed at the following venues:

1) Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall in New York
2) The Kennedy Center in Washington
3) The Wigmore Hall and Sadlers Wells in London
4) The St. Petersburg Philharmonia in Russia
5) The Konzerthaus in Berlin 
6) Knopf Music Halle in Hamburg


Meanwhile, the flamenco singer with a most hauntingly beautiful voice, Rocío Márquez Limón was born in Huelva in 1985.

We marveled at her tonal range and her amazing ability to hold a melody for a few minutes straight -- which is akin to being able to hold your breath and sing at the same time, and for a long time.

Rosa began receiving formal training at the age of 9 and has performed at the following venues:

1) The Olympia in Paris
2) The International Auditorium in Brussels
3) The Dusseldorf Opera House
4) The Sete Sóis Sete Luas Festival in Oeiras (Portugal)
5) Mohammed V National Theater in Rabat 
6) The Silk Road Festival in Damascus


SUITE ESPAÑOLA is one of the activities for the Philippine-Spanish Friendship Day which will be celebrated on June 30.

Throughout the month of June, the Embassy of Spain in the Philippines has organized a series of activities that highlight the historical and cultural ties between the two countries.

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