Posts by Ibarra Mateo:

    Human rights, gender empowerment films in the QC Intl Pink film fest

    October 23rd, 2018

    By Ibarra C. Mateo

    Quezon City International Pink Film Festival: (From Left): Kristine Camille Sulit, deputy festival director for administration of the Quezon City International Pink Film Festival 2018; Prof. Nick Deocampo, founding director and festival director; Gilb Baldoza, deputy festival director for programming. (Image by QCIPFF)

    TRUE to its advocacy of pushing for gender empowerment and gender equality, the Quezon City local government is a major pillar of the Quezon City International Pink Film Festival 2018 as the fest returns this November after three years of absence.

    Quezon City 1st District Councilor Mayen Juico said that senior officials of the Quezon City government are “strong advocates and supporters” of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, queer (LGBTQ+) community.

    Juico is the author of the landmark Quezon City ordinance which prohibits discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community, passed by the Quezon City Council on Sept. 30, 2014.

    In a press conference, Prof. Nick Deocampo, QCIPFF founding director and festival director, said the festival, which will be held from Nov. 14 to 25, coincides with the 79th founding anniversary of Quezon City and the centennial of Philippine cinema.

    “The QCIPFF is a space to narrate the truthful LGBTQ+ community situation. The color pink is politicized here. Pink is not only about coquetry and flirtation in the QCIPFF,” Deocampo said during the press conference.

    Gilb Baldoza, deputy festival director for programming, said the 2018 edition showcases a total of 64 international and local features and short films, with filmmakers and actors from the US, Brazil, Indonesia, Tonga, Spain, Taiwan, Japan, Thailand, Syria, Turkey, and the United Kingdom participating.

    Kristine Camille Sulit, deputy festival director for administration, said they are “in the process of tapping local celebrities” to endorse the QCIPFF.

    The QCIPFF is considered as the Philippines’ oldest film festival for the LGBTQ+ community.

    Image by QCIPFF

    This year, the festival showcases films on health and sexuality and human rights.

    Jethro Patalinghug’s “50 Years of Fabulous,” a documentary on the world’s oldest surviving LGBTQ+ charity organization, the San Francisco’s

    Imperial Council, opens the festival on Nov. 14.

    In the international film roster are films celebrating gay pride and sexuality such as Brazil’s “Liquid Truth,” Japan’s “Boys for Sale,” Turkey’s “Mr. Gay Syria,” Tonga’s “Leitis in Waiting,” and Thailand’s “The Driver.”

    The Philippine lineup marks the life and contributions of Film Director Soxie Topacio, former Quezon City Pride Council president. Topacio’s comedy film “Ded na si Lolo” tops the Philippine films to be screened.

    The highlight of the local film program is PJ Raval’s documentary on the tragic life of transgender Jennifer Laude “Call Her ‘Ganda.”

    There 42 short films from various parts of the world and the Philippines to be screened.

    Organizers said there will be seminars led by LGBTQ+ rights advocates on the sidelines of the festival.

    This year’s festival promotes health and human rights concerns through film screenings and advocacy work, organizers said. Discussions and film screenings on issues such as HIV/AIDS, mental health, and human rights also take the center stage during the festival.

    Moreover, the festival teams up with Amnesty International Philippines to talk about the current health and human rights situation concerning the LGBTQ+ community.

    Project Red Ribbon Care Foundation will conduct HIV awareness program and testing.

    The Philippine National AIDS Council has reported that this year, at least 32 Filipinos were being diagnosed with HIV-AIDS daily.

    A total of 164 cases of hate crimes against the LGBTQ+ community were recorded during the period 1996-2012.

    A 2017 report by the Human Rights Watch showed that “19 cities and six provinces have enforced pro-LGBTQ+ ordinances — with a meager 15 percent of the whole Philippine population protected.”

    The bill on anti-discrimination is pending at the Philippine Congress, with no clear pathway for its passage.

    Screening schedules are as follows: Nov. 14-17 at the Gateway Cinema Complex in Cubao, Nov. 19-21 at UP Cine Adarna in Diliman, and Nov. 22-25 at Cinema Centenario in Maginhawa Street.

    The QCIPFF 2018 is a non-competitive celebration of local and international LGBTQ+ full-length and short films. It is a member of Asia-Pacific Queer Film Festival Alliance (APQFFA), a group of regional festivals with a shared love of queer cinema founded in 2015.

     

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    BP’s ‘Carmen and Other Dances’ is on Oct. 5 – 7

    October 5th, 2018

    By Ibarra C. Mateo

    THE Ballet Philippines’ “The Innovators: Carmen and Other Dances,” featuring the works of choreographers Denisa Reyes, Augustus “Bam” Damian III, and Alden Lugnasin, is BP’s second offering for its current season.

    The featured choreographers “have made their mark in Philippine dance with choreographic gems that showcase unique styles in movement, story-telling, and artistry,” BP said.

    “Each of these brilliant dance-makers will present two definitive masterworks that pay homage to Ballet Philippines’ unparalleled repertoire and history,” BP said in a statement.

    Photos of Ballet Philippines for its 49th season publicity and marketing collaterals. Photos by Jojo Mamangun

    The second offering “continues the retrospective on the company’s rich history and dynamic repertoire.”

    Denisa Reyes presents “Love Lies Bleeding,” a raw and emotional look into the temperament that best describe love and relationships, and “Te Deum,” a window into the Filipino socio-political consciousness of the 1980s, which also mirrors the emotional state of Filipinos today.

    Both pieces showcase Reyes’ ‘truthful and fearless” take on choreography.

    Damian III showcases the power and precision of the company’s dancers in “After Whom,” contrasting with his sensual and fresh take on one of the most beloved classical pieces of music, Goerges Bizet’s “Carmen.”

    Alden Lugnasin’s “Swimming The Ilog Pasig,” a piece inspired by the campaign to clean up the Pasig River, and “This is My Life,” a solo piece highlighting the independence and elegance of a woman, also take center stage as a showcase of Lugnasin’s unique choreographic vocabulary.

    (Ballet Philippines’ The Innovators: Carmen and Other Dances runs Oct. 5 – 7, 2018 at the CCP Main Theater. For more information, call 551-1003.)

    (Images courtesy of Ballet Philippines)

     

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    Actor Cocoy Laurel stars in Guadalupe musical

    September 27th, 2018

    By Ibarra C. Mateo

    Image courtesy of JC Inocian

    ACTOR-singer Victor “Cocoy” Laurel returns to stage by playing the leading role of Juan Diego, the poor Aztec mat-weaver said to have witnessed an apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

    “Guadalupe: The Musical,” the story of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patron saint of the Philippines and the Americas, has been transposed into an all-new musical premiering on Sept. 28, 8:00 pm, at the Meralco Theater.

    The show runs until Oct. 14, Fridays through Sundays at 8:00 pm, with Saturday and Sunday matinées at 3:00 pm.

    Directed by Baby Barredo and produced by Julie Borromeo, the highly anticipated Guadalupe is based on the mysterious, world-changing events that occurred in 1531 in New Spain, or present-day Mexico.

    The all-original English-language musical, which was created by award-winning artists Joel Trinidad (book and lyrics) and Ejay Yatco (music), “is a sweeping theatrical epic that uses history as a backdrop for a uniquely inspiring tale that will appeal to theater-lovers everywhere, regardless of their religious beliefs,” organizers said.

    Joining the creative team are Julie Borromeo and Rose Borromeo (choreography), Mio Infante (scenic design), John Batalla (lights), Rards Corpus of Soundcheck (sound design), and Celia Diaz-Laurel (costumes).

    The world premiere of Guadalupe is sponsored by the Friends of Punlaan.

    Sharing the stage with Laurel are actors Lorenz Martinez, Shiela Valderrama-Martinez, Onyl Torres, and Miguel Vasquez, with Noel Rayos, Kyla Rivera, and Joel Trinidad covering various major roles.

    Joining them all are Arman Ferrer, Chaye Mogg, and Kuya Manzano; all part of a cast of more than 30 actors, singers, and dancers.

    Guadalupe is sponsored by Meralco.

    In 1531, in the newly conquered land then known as New Spain, a series of unexplained, some might say miraculous, events occurred that would change the world.

    That incredible true tale is now the basis of Guadalupe, a production presented by the Julie Borromeo Performing Arts Foundation.

    “The story of Juan Diego of Guadalupe is practically a musical,” Borromeo said. “But what makes this story different is all the supernatural elements in it.”

    Of these there are many, and all a matter of public record: the painted images on Juan Diego’s now famous tilma (or apron), which show no evidence of any brushstrokes, and whose pigments come from a source unknown to nature; the seeming impenetrability of the cloth from which it was made; the mysterious recovery of Juan Diego’s dying uncle, and more.

    But although it deals with the miraculous, Guadalupe is not a conventional faith-based show.

    “It’s not a religious musical as such,” Barredo said. “It’s a powerful piece of theater that just happens to contain religious elements. It’s an important distinction, and one that drove the creation of the show from the start.”

    For scriptwriter and lyricist Trinidad and composer Yatco, the creative task was to use factual, historical events as a backdrop for a true story that contains some fictional elements.

    “Some of the most popular musicals in the world combine fact and fiction this way,” Yatco said.

    “You’ll see some things in this show that seem completely implausible,” Trinidad said. “Those were the ones that really happened.”

    (Please call 577.1046 or 0917.537.8313 for tickets and inquiries. Tickets also available at TicketWorld at 8919999 or visitwww.ticketworld.com.ph.)

     

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    Hit musical Mamma Mia! returns to Manila

    September 26th, 2018

    By Ibarra C. Mateo

    Image courtesy of Concertus Manila

    WARMLY received by more than 45,000 Manila audience in 2012, the global hit musical Mamma Mia! returns to the country at Solaire Theater.

    “After a successful season touring around the UK, Mamma Mia! makes a triumphant return to Manila and opens this weekend at the Theatre at Solaire,” event organizer Concertus Manila said.

    The sensational feel-good musical will run from Sept. 29 as part of the show’s international tour, Concertus Manila said in a statement. Tickets are now on sale through Ticketworld.

    Sophie and Sky. Image courtesy of Concertus Manila

    The musical has been described as “the sunniest of all musicals by the Sunday Express in UK and “ABBA-solutely fabulous” by the Bristol Post also in UK.

    “Mamma Mia! is Judy Craymer’s “ingenious vision of staging the story-telling magic of Abba’s timeless songs with an enchanting tale of family and friendship unfolding on a Greek island paradise,” the organizer said.

    On the eve of her wedding, a daughter’s quest to discover the identity of her father, brings three men from her mother’s romantic past back to the island they visited 20 years ago.

    The successful international tour has visited 85 cities across 38 countries and sold over 5 million tickets.

    More than 22 of Abba’s greatest hits, including the Dancing Queen, Take A Chance On Me, The Winner Takes It All, Does Your Mother Know, and Mamma Mia, propel this charming story of love, laughter, and friendship.

    With music and lyrics by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, Mamma Mia! is written by Catherine Johnson, directed by Phyllida Lloyd, and choreographed by Anthony Van Laast.

    The production is designed by Mark Thompson, with lighting design by Howard Harrison, sound design by Andrew Bruce and Bobby Aitken, and musical supervision, additional material, and arrangements by Martin Koch.

    The Mamma Mia International Tour is produced by Judy Craymer, Richard East, and Björn Ulvaeus for Littlestar in association with Universal, Stage Entertainment, and NGM. It is presented in Manila by Lunchbox Theatrical Productions, Ticketworld, and Concertus Manila.

    (Visit the Mamma Mia! website for more information at www.mamma-mia.com, or the www.facebook.com/mammamiamusical, and www.twitter.com/MammaMiaMusical

     

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    The spectacular ‘M(anila) Butterfly’

    September 25th, 2018

    Ibarra C. Mateo

     

    IN the opening scene of the play, Director Kanakan Balintagos swiftly beguiled and bewitched the audience of his own re-imagination, if not reinvention, of Henry David Hwang’s “M Butterfly,” a Jhett Tolentino and Front Row Entertainment-production in Manila.

    Those who professionally know the-former Aureus Solito and the-now Kanakan Balintagos comprehend that he is a full-bloodied risk-taker in crafting his works.

    The M Butterfly, currently running at the Maybank Performing Arts Theater, can be labeled as one of Balintagos’ most audacious achievements, if not triumphs.

    Consider this.

    Standing among the sensuous swaths of blackness and soft light lusciously designed by John Batalla, a semi-nude person is gradually illuminated, titillating the mind to wonder if it were Chinese opera singer Song Liling (essayed again by RS Francisco). For a few seconds, the cinematic illusion lingered.

    But with a quick turn to face the audience, truth is revealed. It is French diplomat Rene Gallimard (played by Olivier Borten).

    This particular scene, which opened the play, sets the tone and texture of the Balintagos’ version of M Butterfly: the tension in the fine fissure between illusion and truth. Real life is replete with truth masquerading as illusion and illusion marketed as truth.

    Image courtesy of Front Row Entertainment

    M Butterfly also tackles the strain in contradictions inherent in human condition. Was Gallimard in love with Song or was Song just a “fetish object” for him? Was Gallimard enchanted by Song or was he just smitten with the fantasy of playing the role of Pinkerton to Song’s portrayal of a hapless Butterfly?

    The above questions are dissected compassionately by Balintagos in his newest play. Scene after scene, Balintagos anointed his M Butterfly with empathy for this is an effective way for the audience to plumb the mysteries and miseries of Gallimard, a man derided by the world and demolished by his unconditional love for Song. Some may say Gallimard was foolish, but anyone who had been in love or had given his or her heart away may disagree wholeheartedly.

    Briefly, M Butterfly was based on the scandalous affair between French diplomat Bernard Bouriscot and actor and spy Shi Pei Pu, who managed to “fool” the diplomat by presenting himself as a woman, for years while passing on security secrets to the Chinese government. The two first met, and eventually became lovers, in a staging of Puccini’s Madame Butterfly in a opera house in China.

    Image courtesy of Front Row Entertainment

    In bold and confident strokes, Balintagos majestically tweaked Hwang’s “tragic love story” together with several of the country’s finest artistic and creative ensemble.

    Olivier Borten’s Gallimard ripped hearts but was buoyant, and tragic yet exuberant to have known and “possessed” his Butterfly. His final scene was wrenching.

    RS Francisco, who shot to prominence 28 years ago as Song opposite Behn Cervantes’ Gallimard in a Tony Mabesa incarnation of M Butterfly, was both fragile and formidable, innocent and worldly, and elegantly feminine and a badass under the guidance of Balintagos.

    Pinky Amador’s Helga, dutiful wife of Gallimard, glistened in her understated acting.

    Mayen Estañero as Comrade Chin, Suzuki, and Shu Fang displayed dexterity, sometimes stealing scenes in her multiple roles.

    Maya Encila as Renee and Pin-up Girl exuded carnality and sultriness, filling the whole stage with her presence. Encila is an intelligent actress who must be seen in more productions.

    Soprano opera singer Rica Nepomuceno transposed the audience to the opera house where Gallimard first fell under the spell of Song.

    Norman McLeod (Toulon/Judge) and Lee O’Brian (Marc/Pinkerton) exhibited convictions in their roles.

    The Kurogos composed of Pheith Iena Ballug, Ullyses Basa, Aira Jay Igarta, Kay Megan Kierulf, and John Paul Ortenero must be commended for their hefty contribution in the success of M Butterfly.

    The clever set design by Ohm David featured giant Chinese fans and an almost-barren stage save for a wooden plank which provided extra space for the actors to ascend and descend. The Chinese fans appeared to be lobes of a brain where the mental meanderings of the main characters take place.

    John Batalla’s gorgeous lighting deepened the mysteries and sensuousness of M Butterfly.

    Eric Pineda’s colorful and magnificent costumes showcased his expertise in blending the East and West, from the formal Chinese gowns to the “Paul Gaultier” black ensemble by Song.

    Jethro Joaquin’s sound design, which mixed the ravishing original compositions and poignant adaptations of composer-arranger Joed Balsamo from Madame Butterfly, provided a layered aural dimension to the production. The collaboration between Joaquin and Balsamo for M Butterfly produced some of the most moving scores in Philippine theater this year.

    Carissa Adea’s choreography was noteworthy in infusing vigor to the play.

    Balintagos’ M(anila) Butterfly should flutter its wings all over Asia and maybe the rest of the world.

    (M Butterfly runs until Sept. 30 at the Maybank Performing Arts Theater, BGC Arts Center, Bonifacio Global City. For tickets, call TICKETWORLD at 891-9999. For further inquiries, please contact ISHA GERMENTIL at mobile number 0917- 623 – 3834.)

     

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    PPO opens 39th season, featuring French-born pianist

    September 13th, 2018

    By Ibarra C. Mateo

    Monique Duphil. Photo © the CCP-PPO

    THE Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra (PPO) opens on Friday its 36th season featuring French-born pianist Monique Duphil at the Cultural Center of the Philippines Main Theater.

    Conducted by PPO music director Yoshikazu Fukumura, the season opener begins at 8 pm.

    Duphil has been praised by critics for her “flawless technique, power, and a sound, lively musical imagination.”

    Duphil performs Maurice Ravel’s Concerto in G Major, a piece that was written by the composer for one of Duphil’s very own teachers, the celebrated Marguerite Long. Ravel dedicated this concerto to Long and on the first page of the score are the words “A Marguerite Long.”

    The CCP said Duphil “considers Long as one of her most important teachers for many years.” She was 9 years old when she started studying with Long.

    Long, who is regarded as France’s foremost woman pianist during the first half of the 20th century, premiered Ravel’s Concerto in G major in 1932 to great acclaim. Her debut of the piece has been regaled as “legendary” by music historians.

    Ravel’s Concerto in G Major has been described as a “splendid orchestration, which tempts the listener to experience this work as a brilliant, and almost self-sufficient, demonstration of sheer musical color, reflects the composer’s interest in jazz, evidenced by trombone glissandi and similar effects,” the CCP said.

    Duphil’s Friday’s performance will be her second at the CCP. She performed with the PPO and conducted piano master classes in 2017.

    French-born Duphil made her Paris debut with orchestra at age 15, performing Felix Mendelssohn’s G-minor piano concerto with the Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire.

    She was launched on the world’s stages after earning prizes in four international competitions —including the Chopin Competition in Warsaw — and has since performed in more than 50 countries across five continents.

    Duphil entered the Conservatoire National Superieur de Paris at age 10 and studied with Jean Doyen, Marguerite Long, and Joseph Calvet. She won a premier prix in piano at 15 and graduated the following year with a grand prix in professional chamber music.

    She later earned an artist diploma from the Musikhochschule of Stuttgart, Germany.

    Duphil’s United States debut was performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra, substituting on just a few hours’ notice for cellist Mstislav Rostropovich. Duphil was honored to be reengaged by conductor Eugene Ormandy and appeared with him four more times, performing two concertos on each occasion.

    Duphil has been the featured soloist with numerous symphony orchestras, among them The Cleveland Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Orchestre Symphonique de Québec, Warsaw, Bern, MünchnerSymphoniker, Paris Orchestre Lamoureux, Caracas, Mexico, Lima, Rio de Janeiro, Montevideo, Seoul, Tokyo Metropolitan, Sapporo, Orchestra Ensemble Kanazawa, Taipei, Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Brisbane Symphony Orchestra, and all Australian ABC orchestras.

    She has worked with a long list of outstanding conductors, including Maxim Shostakovich, Charles Dutoit, Gerard Schwarz, and Yoshikazu Fukumura.

    A distinguished chamber musician, Duphil has partnered with renowned artists including Pierre Fournier, Cho-Liang Lin, Jean-Pierre Rampal, Ruggiero Ricci, and Henryk Szerying, as well as the Musikverein Quartet, the Salzburg Mozarteum Trio, and the Vienna, St. Petersburg, Haydn, Chester, and American string quartets.

    Duphil served on the faculty of the Hong Kong Academy for the Performing Arts before her appointment to the faculty at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in 1992.

    The PPO’s 2018-2019 season, also marks the orchestra’s 45th founding anniversary.

    For more information, please call the CCP Box Office (832-3704), TicketWorld (891-9999) or visit www.culturalcenter.gov.ph.

     

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    ‘M Butterfly: The great wall of illusion’

    September 12th, 2018

    Ibarra C. Mateo

    (Photo courtesy of Frontrow Entertainment)

    INTERNATIONALLY awarded film and stage director and playwright Kanakan Balintagos declared that in these era of disinformation, news fabrication, and historical revisionism, it is easy to fall for the story of the Chinese Peking Opera star, Song Liling, who had fooled a French diplomat for 20 years of his/her gender.

    Balintagos (Auraeus Solito), in a recent media event, said “M Butterfly, based on a true story, “is truer than ever, more relevant today than when it was originally written in 1988 by the great David Henry Hwang.”

    M Butterfly “unveils the truth in the Great Wall of Illusion that envelops us all,” Balintagos said.

    “I originally encountered M Butterfly in a directing class of (UP Prof.) Tony Mabesa in 1990 and had a glance of RS Francisco as he was the actor of my classmate Clint Ramos, who would eventually win a Tony for Best Costume Design. Who would have thought that RS would actually be the Song Liling in the Dulaang UP staging and I would be directing the play many decades later,” Balintagos said.

    “Authenticity is my super intention as a director. That is why I aimed for an all-Caucasian male cast – where the conflict and the biases between the West and the East / male and female – the animus and anima – will be more visually apparent,” he told reporters.

    “I always say I love directing profound emotions with my actors – and it is exciting that RS will reprise his role, after almost three decades when he is age-appropriate. He was only 18 when he did it brilliantly. Can you all imagine how he will do it now?,” Balintagos said.

    “I am also ecstatic to be working with Tony Award-winning producer Jhett Tolentino, a true professional and passionate lover of theatre,” Balintagos said.

    Balintagos shared with reporters how he prepares for directing theater pieces.

    “Since I began as a playwright, I always focus on motivations of the characters in a play, and try to rediscover the subliminal subconscious intentions of the playwright.

    M Butterfly, the 1988 Tony Award Winner for Best Play and written by David Henry Hwang, opened on Sept. 13 at the Maybank Performing Arts Theater, BGC Arts Center, Bonifacio Global City.

    It is presented by Tony and Grammy award winning producer, Jhett Tolentino and Frontrow Entertainment.

    M Butterfly was inspired by Giaccomo Puccini’s opera “Madame Butterfly” and was loosely based on events surrounding a 1986 espionage trial about a mysterious Chinese opera singer and a French diplomat.

    French diplomat René Gallimard, based in the French embassy in China, meets and falls in love with Chinese opera star Song Liling, a “woman whom he considers to be the embodiment of the perfect woman, a Madame Butterfly.”

    RS Francisco reprises his iconic portrayal of Song Liling, the Chinese opera singer who is Gallimard’s object of affection and seduces him through his biases of the East then exploits their intimacy to collect classified information for agents of the Chinese Communist Party.

    In May 1990, Francisco essayed this role for Dulaang UP opposite veteran actor, writer, and critic Behn Cervantes to critical acclaim and box office success.

    Extended runs played to full house theater audiences and tours to the key cities in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao marked this poignant drama’s run in Philippine theater history.

    When the M Butterfly was revived recently on Broadway, Francisco considered re-staging it for contemporary audience.

    French actor Olivier Borten plays the role of Gallimard, the French diplomat who relates the story of his passionate, disastrous affair with Song Liling from his cell in a Paris prison, where he is serving a long sentence for treason.

    Theater actress Pinky Amador, who has starred in Cameron Mackintosh’s Miss Saigon and in a long list of plays, movies, and television shows, portrays Gallimard’s wife – Helga.

    The two married as a matter of convenience; Helga’s father had diplomatic connections that helped Gallimard rose to prominence.

    After 25 years of stage acting experience in the United Kingdom, Scottish Norm McLeod acts in the Philippines, playing the role of Manuel Toulon, the French Ambassador to China, who also happens to be the dominant and strong-willed superior of Gallimard at the embassy in Beijing. Toulon promotes Gallimard to vice-consul, giving him the task of collecting information to aid the American war in Vietnam.

    Trilingual American actor Lee O’Brian plays Marc, the sexually unapologetic best friend of Gallimard. He encourages Gallimard to take sexual advantage of the women around him without regard for their feelings or even their consent. O’Brian will also briefly portray Sharpless in M Butterfly.

    Playing the role of both Suzuki and Comrade Chin is Rebecca Chuaunsu. Comrade Chin is a member of the Red Guards. Song communicates with Comrade Chin often, to pass on the classified information he gathers from Gallimard.

    The members of the ensemble playing the role of Kurogo are: John Paul Ortenero, Pheit Lena Ballug, Kay Megan Kierulf, Aira Jay Igarta, Ulysses Basa, and Rica Nepomuceno.

    Members of the artistic team are: Kanakan Balintagos (direction), Jhett Tolentino and RS Francisco (producers), Eric Pineda (costume design), Ohm David (set design), Jethro Joaquin (sound design) John Batalla (lights), Gery Penaso (make-up designer for Song Liling)

    For tickets, call TICKETWORLD at 8919999. For inquiries, please contact Isha Germentil at 0917- 623-3834).

     

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    National Artist Alice Reyes’ “Carmina Burana” opens BP 49th season

    September 7th, 2018

    By Ibarra C. Mateo

    Photos of Ballet Philippines for its 49th season publicity and marketing collaterals. Photos by Jojo Mamangun

    BALLET Philippines opens its 49th season today with “Carmina Burana” choreographed by National Artist for Dance Alice Reyes, who is BP’s artistic director.

    Carmina Burana has limited performances from Sept. 7 to 9 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines Main Theater.

    BP first mounted Carmina Burana in 1973, second time in 1983, and then third time in 2003.

    During an interview, Reyes said “BP opens with Carmina Burana because you begin the 49th season as big as you can. We should.”

    “We were able to Maestro Gerard Salonga and the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra and the Philippine Madrigal Singers” in the 2018 staging of Carmina Burana, Reyes told reporters.

    “Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana – O Fortuna is monumental. The goal on my part is to measure up to the work visually,” Reyes also said.

    “For the 2018 version, all dancers were not yet born during the 1983 BP production of Carmina Burana. The current dancers are in their early 20s,” Reyes said, adding that she had to “adjust” the movements to suit the physical attributes of the young dancers.

    “We will continue to show the body of work by BP that speaks of the Filipino soul, mythologies, stories, songs, and of ourselves. We have gems of stories that speak of who we are as a people.”

    Photos of Ballet Philippines for its 49th season publicity and marketing collaterals. Photos by Jojo Mamangun

    Reyes’ version of Carmina Burana is one of the company’s most iconic pieces.

    “It highlights the power, passion, and emotion of Carl Orff’s magnum opus taken from 13th century Goliard poetry. The dance begins with an almost stealth like silence, gradually building up to create a breathtaking vision of bodies bursting with energy, moving with elegance and grace,” BP said.

    The ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra accompanies the piece with “a hauntingly beautiful rendition” of Orff’s masterpiece.

    The Philippine Madrigal Singers “bring to life religious satire, sentiments of joy, and drunken elation shared among poets of medieval Europe” BP said.

    “The live musical performances by both the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra and the Philippine Madrigal Singers add layers and depth to Reyes’ rich choreography,” it said.

    National Artist Salvador Bernal’s production design creates a majestic landscape of rock formations on stage that transports one to another time, space, and universe.

    The program also features pieces that highlight the history of BP such as Brando Miranda’s rendition of Vivaldi Concerto — vigorous, lively, and spirited. Vivaldi was first premiered in 1983 and returns on stage after 35 years this season.

    Norman Walker’s Seasons of Flight, will also take center stage. It tells the tale of human relationships — its dynamics, idiosyncrasies and complexities — through graceful avian movement and migratory patterns.

    Debuted by BP in 1972, it was the first of five pieces created by Norman Walker for the company.

    “What I am trying to do is to present to our new audiences some of our iconic pieces that have not been done for so long … reflecting the company’s tapestry of dance gems,” Reyes said.

    In celebrating dance, BP is also staging an exciting new piece by the company’s young and talented choreographer Ronelson Yadao, It was during the 48th season when Yadao decided to return to the company after dancing with Cloud Gate Theater in Taiwan.

    (Experience the return of one of Ballet Philippines’ masterworks. Carmina Burana running from Sep. 7 to 9, 2018, at the CCP Main Theater. For tickets, call Ballet Philippines at (+632) 551-1003, Ticketworld at (+632)891-9999 or go to Ticketworld.com.ph.)

     

     

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    Wings of Vision: 2018 Cinemalaya opens

    August 3rd, 2018

    By Ibarra C. Mateo

    Image © CCP-Cinemalaya

    THE 2018 Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival, or Cinemalaya to loyal followers, opened on Friday at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

    Now on its 14th edition, the 2018 Cinemalaya chose “Wings of Vision” as its main theme.

    Chris B. Millado, CCP vice president and artistic director, said during its initial years, Cinemalaya’s “balangay” (the indie film festival’s trophy) sailed through many seas. Millado was alluding to Cinemalaya’s years of journey as an indie film festival.

    “Now that it is on its 14th year, safely moored and anchored, Cinemalaya is ready to fly,” Millado told reporters.

    “Cinemalaya gave wings to many Filipino directors so that their visions of their own films could take off. Cinemalaya enabled them to soar in various local and international festivals, winning accolades, recognition, and awards in the process,” Millado said.

    The festival opened with the screening of Erik Matti’s action thriller “Buybust” at the CCP Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (Main Theater). A short opening program preceded the opening film screening.

    Matti’s Buybust is a film on a rookie police officer named Nina Manigan who joins the anti-narcotic elite squad. Soon, two teams are deployed to conduct a buy-bust operation in a slum area of Manila.

    Realizing that the mission is poorly executed, the anti-narcotic squad finds themselves trapped by a gang of slum settlers and needs to fight their way out to escape.

    Running Aug. 3-12, the 2018 Cinemalaya showcases several of the “best visual narrations” by young Filipino directors in various CCP venues and select Ayala mall theaters.

    The complete list of the 10 full-length competing films are: “Distance” by Percival Intalan; “Kung Paano Hinihintay ang Dapit-hapon” (Waiting for Sunset) by Carlo Enciso Catu; “Kuya Wes” by James Robin Mayo; “Liway” by Kip Oebanda; “Mamang” by Denise O’Hara; “ML” by Benedicto Mique Jr.; “Musmos na Sumibol sa Gubat ng Digma” (Unless the Water is Safer than the Land) by Iar Lionel Arondaing; “Pan De Salawal” (The Sweet Taste of Salter Bread and Undies) by Che Espiritu; “School Service” by Luisito Lagdameo Ignacio; and “The Lookout” by Afi Africa.

    The 10 short films are: “Babylon” by Keith Deligero; “Jodilerks” Dela Cruz, “Employee of the Month” by Carlo Francisco Manatad; “Kiko” by Jojo Driz; “Logro” Kani Villaflor; “Nangungupahan” (Who Rents There Now?) by Glenn Barit; “Sa Saiyang Isla” (In His Island) by Christian Candelaria; “Si Astri maka Si Tambulah” (Astri and Tambulah) by Xeph Suarez; “Siyudad sa Bulawan” (City of Gold) by Jarell Serencio; and, “You, Me and Mr. Wiggles” by Jav Velasco.

    Millado said Cinemalaya mainstays also features exciting films.

    The mainstays are: Dokyu, documentary section; Best of the Festivals, which showcases the best films from local festivals; Indie Nation, a special section featuring independent films; Visions of Asia, featuring award-winning Asian and Netpac films.

    There will also be a showcase of the final projects of the Directing and Production Management workshops under the 4th Cinemalaya Institute.

    Cinemalaya pays tribute to Maryo J. Delos Reyes through a special screening of his best films “Bagets” and “Magnifico”; and to Bernardo Bernardo by showing “Manila by Night” by Ishmael Bernal.

    Retrospective section features the 2017 Cinemalaya Best Film “Respeto” by Treb Monteras, and “Baconaua” by Joseph Israel Laban who won Best Director.

    On its 30th edition, the Gawad CCP Para sa Alternatibong Pelikula at Video, considered the longest-running independent film competition of its kind in the ASEAN region, will once again harvest the best of the best, with films competing in various categories such as Short Feature/Narrative, Experimental, Documentary, and Animation.

    Pre-selected entries will be screened Aug. 4-6 at the CCP Tanghalang Manuel Conde (Dream Theater).

    The Cinemalaya Campus, a major component of Cinemalaya, runs Aug. 7-8 at the Silangan Hall.

    The Cinemalaya Awards Night is on Aug. 12 at the Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo

    Since 2005, Cinemalaya continues to discover, encourage and support the cinematic works of upcoming and veteran Filipino filmmakers who boldly articulate and freely interpret the Philippine experience with fresh insight and artistic integrity.

    To date, Cinemalaya has supported and promoted the production of Filipino full feature independent films and short films. Many of these films have won awards in local and international competitions and festivals.

    Through the annual festival, Cinemalaya has showcased over 1,000 works by independent filmmakers including full feature films, shorts, documentaries, Filipino film classics, and art films.

    For more information about Cinemalaya, visitwww.cinemalaya.orgwww.culturalcenter.gov.ph and the Cinemalaya Facebook page or CCP Media Arts at telephone number 832-1125 local 1704 & 1712 and the CCP Box Office at 832-3704.

     

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    Pulso Filipinas gala celebrates diverse Philippine dances

    June 30th, 2018

    Ibarra C. Mateo

    Image courtesy of CCP

    THE Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) production “Pulso Filipinas” is a gala showcasing and celebrating the country’s diverse dance culture, dance groups, and dance artists.

    Thus said artistic director Paul Alexander Morales as he notes in an interview that the “Pulso Filipinas: Filipino Dance Gala 2018 Synergy in Philippine Dance,” on June 30 and July 1, highlights works ranging from ethnic/folk, contemporary, hip-hop/jazz, ballroom to classical ballet, said.

    Morales said “dance is always a cause for celebration.”

    “In the Philippine dance scene, there is always cause for celebration. Dance festivals in the country are few and far between. The the last dance festival we had was two years ago,” Morales explained.

    He also said that “Pulso Filipinas celebrates dance companies that have endured as well as the new elements in our contemporary scene. We hope to showcase some of the best groups in this all-Filipino gala.”

    “We will be showing local treasures unearthed and shining examples of current and new work and talents,” Morales stressed.

    The Pulso festival was preceded by activities such as “Body Talks,” workshops, forum, dance talks, and other dance appreciation activities.

    The festival assembles major dance companies such as CCP resident companies Ballet Philippines, Bayanihan Philippine National Folk Dance Company, Philippine Ballet Theatre, and the Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group.

    Image courtesy of CCP

    Also participating are the Bacolod City’s Dance Pull Project; university-based dance companies such as the UP Dance Company; and various groups from Metro Manila, including Ballet Manila, Airdance, G-Force, Philippine AllStars, and Belinda Adora Ensemble. It also features performances of Abbey Carlos and Michael Barry Que and Ramon Magsaysay Awardee Ligaya Amilbangsa with the AlunAlun Dance Circle.

    Other activities included CCP Arts Online talk with Morales, open rehearsals, roundtable discussions with dance organizations, dance talk (“Dignity and Character-Building through the Discipline of Dance”) with Ms. Gina Katigbak, and lecture (“Modern Dance History”) by Gia Gequinto.

    There were also dance workshops on hip-hop, ballroom, modern dance and adult ballet.

     

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    ‘Labfest’ audience hungry for original, daring, brave stories

    June 27th, 2018

    By Ibarra C. Mateo

    Image © Cultural Center of the Philippines

    THE audience’s “hunger for original, brave, daring stories” are among the factors that sustained the growth of the annual festival Virgin Labfest or VLF.

    This according to Cultural Center of the Philippines Vice President and Artistic Director Chris B. Millado as he acknowledged that the early years of the VLF attracted mainstream performers.

    VLF is now on its 14th year, with a theme “silip” or “to take a peek. It opened on June 27 and will run until July 15 at various CCP venues.

    “Best of all, the VLF attracted and grew a large audience following. Those who had watched VLF in the years 1, 2, and 3 are now bringing their sons and daughters,” Millado, who is one of the artistic directors of VLF 2018, said.

    “Appeal (of the VLF) is in the catch phrase staging of unpublished, untried, untested, and unstaged works. There is now a hunger for original, brave, and daring stories,” Millado said.

    “As much as the playwrights are willing to take risks, we have audience who are also willing to take the same artistic risks as well. This is the appeal of the VLF. Now, we are having its 14th edition,” Millado said

    Tuxqs Rutaquio, VLF 2018 dramaturg and festival director, said throughout the years, “the VLF evolved from a festival of veteran, emerging, and newbie playwrights into one of each year’s much awaited theatrical events.”

    “It has solidified itself as a viable platform for the continuous development of playwrights by not only de-virginizing their plays but by first and foremost providing an avenue where their voice is given top priority by encouraging them to churn out plays according to their desires without the trappings of imposed themes or other concerns,” Rutaquio said.

    This year, Rutaquio said, “we chose 12 new plays, we remained true to the festival’s vision of de-virginizing playwrights alongside directors, actors, stage managers, and audiences.”

    Rody Vera, co-founder of the VLF and executive director of The Writer’s Bloc, said there were about 150 entries for the 2018 VLF edition, from which 12 plays were selected for staging.

    Vera named the six new playwrights this years: Dustin Celestino (Mga Eksena sa Buhay ng Kontrabida); Rolin Migyuel Obina (Mga Bata sa Selda 43); Anthony Kim Vergara (Ang Inyong mga Anak: Si Harold At Napoleon); JV Ibesate (Tulad ng Dati); Lino Balmes (Amoy Pulbos ang mga Alabok Sa Ilalim ng Riles ng Tren); and Tyron Casumpang (Marawi Musicale).

    The “non-virgin” playwrights are; Ma. Cecilia dela Rosa (Labor Room); Juan Ekis (Ensayo); Allan Lopez (River Lethe); Sari Saysay (Ang Mga Propesyunal); Jose Dennis Teodosio (Rosas), and Carlo Vergara (Edgar Allan Hemingway).

    The plays in the VLF Staged Reading category are: Jay Crisostomo (Without the Drama); Peter Zaragoza Mayshle (Dolorosa); John Lapus (Bagyolanda); and Dominic Lim (Asalto).

    The 2018 Revisited Plays are: Eljay Castro Deldoc’s Pilipinas Kong Mahal With All The Overcoat; Adrian Ho’s Sincerity Biker’s Club; and Rick Patriarca’s Birdcage.

    The CCP partners with its resident theater company Tanghalang Pilipino and The Writer’s Bloc, in staging the VLF.

    The new plays are divided into four sets. Set A includes: “Mga Eksena sa Buhay ng Kontrabida,” written by Dustin Celestino and directed by Roobak Valle; “Mga Bata sa Selda 43,” written by Rolin Migyuel Cadallo Obina and directed by Ian Segarra; and “Ang Inyong mga Anak: Si Harold at Napoleon,” written by Anthony Kim Vergara and directed by Ricardo Magno.

    For Set B has “Bagyolanda,” written by John Lapus and directed by Tuxqs Rutaquio, “Ang Mga Propesyunal,” penned by Sari Saysay and directed by Carlitos Siguion-Reyna, “Rosas” by playwright J. Dennis Teodosio, directed by Charles Yee, and “Edgar Allan Hemingway” by Carlo Vergara and directed by George de Jesus III.

    Set C has “Labor Room” by Ma. Cecilia “Maki” dela Rosa, directed by Jose Estrella and Issa Manalo Lopez, “Ensayo” by Juan Ekis and directed by Eric Villanueva dela Cruz, and “Tulad ng Dati” by JV Ibesate and directed by Olive Nieto.

    Set D is composed of “Amoy Pulbos ang mga Alabok sa Ilalim ng Riles ng Tren” by playwright Lino Balmes and director Tess Jamias, “Marawi Musicale” by playwright Tyron Casumpang and director Ariel Yonzon, and “River Lethe” by playwright Allan Lopez and director Chris Martinez complete the list.

    Three plays in the previous edition of the VLF will be remounted. These are: “Birdcage” written by Rick Patriarca and directed by Ian Segarra; “Sincerity Biker’s Club” by Adrian Ho and directed by Jenny Jamora; and “Pilipinas kong Mahal with all the Overcoat” by Eljay Castro Deldoc and directed by Roobak Valle and Tuxqs Rutaquio.

    The Staged Readings feature “Without the Drama” by playwright Jay Crisostomo, directed by Renate Bustamante; and “Dolorosa” by playwright Peter Zaragoza Mayshle, directed by Chic San Agustin.

    The main play features will be staged at Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (CCP Little Theater), while the VLF Revisited will be performed at Tanghalang Huseng Batute (CCP Studio Theater), and the Staged Readings will be at Tanghalang Amado V. Hernandez.

    The Virgin Labfest Writing Fellowship Program, a two-week mentorship program on the study and practice of dramatic writing for the stage, will also be held as part of the festival. The fellowship program aims to train young aspiring playwrights through a series of lectures, script critiquing, writing sessions and interactions with known playwrights, directors and selected actors.

    Tickets are for sale at the CCP and all TicketWorld outlets. For ticketing information, please call the CCP Marketing Department at 832-3706 or 832-3704 or email the Sales and Promotions Division at ccpsalesandpromo@gmail.com.

     

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    PHL films highlighted in 23rd French Film Fest

    June 12th, 2018

    By Ibarra C. Mateo

    AS THE Philippines marked its 120th independence today, June 12, this year’s French Film Festival showcased three films by Filipino directors who had garnered awards in French film competitions.

    French Ambassador to Manila Nicolas Galey said the screening of Filipino films during the Philippine Independence Day is a “tradition of paying tribute to Philippine cinema.”

    On June 12, Philippine Independence Day, the French Film Festival honored the films by Director Raymond Red, a pioneer of Philippine independent cinema and the 1st Filipino to be awarded the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 2000 for his short film, Anino.

    Anino still shot. Image © French Embassy in the Philippines

    The 13-minute Anino was screened together with another Red film, Himpapawid.

    The third film to be shown at the 23rd edition of the festival was Bagahe, the latest film by Director Zig Dulay. Bagahe won the grand prize, Cyclo d’Or, in the 2018 Vesoul Asian Film Festival.

    “Among the aims of French cultural diplomacy is to promote cultural diversity through cinema. In the Philippines, the French Film Festival has been giving the Filipino public a glimpse of French culture and society for 23 years. It provides an alternative to the commercial programming of movie theatres, thereby promoting this diversity to the local audience,” Galey said.

    This year’s festival offers a panorama of contemporary French productions, from family dramas to romance, modern-day comedies, action and animation.

    “I am also proud to announce that this year will be the first time ever for us to organize this festival in Luzon, in Visayas and Mindanao,” Galey said.

    Martin Macalintal, French Embassy audiovisual attaché, said French cinema “has found an audience in the Philippines” in the last 23 years.

    Image © French Embassy in the Philippines

    “While the commercial circuit continues to be dominated by Hollywood blockbusters, international festivals have provided Filipinos an alternative programming that gives them the chance to see a different kind of cinema – to witness stories that look into human values, relationships, and socio-economic conditions in contemporary French society that they may, sometimes surprisingly, identify with,” Macalintal said.

    Commercial theaters have opened their doors to festivals to offer their loyal clients diversity in film choices, even for limited periods, Macalintal said.

    This year, the Ayala cinemas are hosting the French Film Festival in several venues in Metro Manila: Greenbelt 3 in Makati City, Central Square in Bonifacio High Street, Taguig, and UP Town Center in Quezon City, as well as in Ayala Center in Cebu and Abreeza Mall in Davao.

    As Philippine cinema celebrates 100 years, the French Film Festival pays tribute to the centennial of the birth of one of France’s great directors, Jean-Pierre Melville, Macalintal said.

    The groups behind this year’s film festival are: the Embassy of France to the Philippines, Institut Français, UniFrance, the Alliance Française de Manille, Film Development Council of the Philippines, Ayala Malls Cinemas, SSI Group, and Central Square.

    From Makati, Taguig, and Quezon City, the film festival goes to Davao City for the first time through the Abreeza Mall – Davao on June 21 and 22, then makes its way to the Ayala Center Cebu from June 25 to 27.

    Tickets for each screening are priced at PHP150 to cover the operational costs of the cinema and may be purchased at the box office or through www.sureseats.com.

    Image © French Embassy in the Philippines

    For its 23rd edition, the French Film Festival screens 21 French films embodying the “richness and depth of French society through the creativity of French filmmakers.”

    The line-up includes critically-acclaimed films such as Personal Shopper (Official Competition, Cannes Film Festival 2016), La Prière (The Prayer) (Silver Bear for Best Actor, Berlin Film Festival 2018), and the jazz biopic Django (Opening Film, Berlin Film Festival 2017).

    Art serves as the backdrop in telling stories about passion and relationships – between artist Paul Cézanne and writer Emile Zola in Cézanne et moi (Cézanne and I), between a Russian ballerina and a French dancer in Polina, and between the fashion icon and his business partner and lover, Pierre Bergé, in Yves Saint Laurent.

    This year’s line-up presents films for a variety of audiences: dramas Orpheline (Orphans) and Une Vie (A Woman’s Life), comedies Epouse-moi mon pote (Marry Me, Dude) and Rock ‘n Roll for the light-hearted, the dystopian science fiction film Seuls (Alone) and animated film Louise en hiver (Louise by the Shore)for the younger audiences, and the documentary Voyage à travers le cinémafrançais (A Journey Through French Cinema) for film aficionados.

    Highlighted this year is the recently released 5th installment of the action-packed blockbuster, Taxi, which screened for the first time in Manila.

    The festival also features a retrospective of films by acclaimed director Jean-Pierre Melville, who pioneered French film noir between the 1940s to the 1960s.

    For the film line-up and screening schedule, visitwww.ph.ambafrance.org or www.facebook.com/FrenchEmbassyManila.

    For inquiries, contact the Embassy of France to the Philippines at frenchfilmfest@gmail.com or 0966-389-9119.

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    Global, Asian Shakespeare scholars, theatre people assemble in PH

    May 29th, 2018

    By Ibarra C. Mateo

    PROMINENT Shakespearean scholars and theatre practitioners from all over the world, with focus and keen interest in “Shakespeare as produced in and by Asia,” have started on Monday in the Philippines the 3rd biennial conference of the Asian Shakespeare Association.

    Filipino organizers of the Shakespeare, Traffics, Tropics – jointly hosted by the Ateneo de Manila University and the University of the Philippines in Diliman – said the three-day conference includes a mini-festival of Shakespearean performances from Japan, Malaysia, and the Philippines.

    The conference features plenary, panel, and seminar sessions on several aspects of Shakespearean pedagogy, publication, translation, adaptation, and theatrical histories in various Asian locations, organizers said.

    Selected papers from the conference will be published as a special issue of Kritika Kultura, a Thomson-Reuters-indexed and Scopus-listed internationally refereed online journal on literary, language, and cultural studies published by the Ateneo de Manila University.

    On Monday, Prof. Peter Holland, chairman of the International Shakespeare Association and one of the central figures in performance-oriented Shakespeare criticism, delivered the keynote speech of the conference. Holland teaches at the University of Notre Dame, where he holds the McMeel Family Chair in Shakespeare Studies and is associate dean for the arts.

    The Monday keynote by Holland, “On the Shakespeare Trail,” was followed by an exhibit opening for the 2nd Graphic Shakespeare Competition. The 1st day was capped by the performance from Tanghalang Ateneo of “The Squaddies’ Shrew” directed by Ian McLennan at the Doreen Black Box, Areté.

    The 2nd day of the conference moved to the UP Diliman’s College of Arts and Letters, with sessions on Shakespeare and Manga, Shakespearean Translations, and other panel discussions. The KL Shakespeare Players will stage “Shakespeare Demystified: Macbeth” at the Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero Theatre, Palma Hall, UP Diliman, also on Tuesday.

    Organizers said Day 3 is expected to close with a performance of “RD3RD”, directed by Anton Juan and Ricardo Abad, with dramaturgy by Judy Ick at the Fine Arts Blackbox at ADMU, alongside other panel discussions held throughout the day.

    The event is sponsored by Japan Foundation and the UPD Office for Initiatives in Culture and the Arts, among others.

    The Asian Shakespeare Association is a non-profit, non-government organization dedicated to researching, producing, teaching, translating, and promoting Shakespeare from an Asian perspective.

    Members of the association include scholars, artists, and students from Australia, Brunei, Canada, China, Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, Guam, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Macau, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, the Philippines, Poland, Qatar, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

    Professors Judy Celine Ick and Ricardo G. Abad are conference co-convenors.

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    EU launches 1st Euro-Pinoy music concert on May 30

    May 28th, 2018

    By Ibarra C. Mateo

    THE European Union delegation to the Philippines gathers musicians from Austria, Spain, Sweden, and in the country to perform in the 1st Euro-Pinoy Concert in a bid to expand EU-Philippine collaboration and cooperation among its artists.

    Admission to the Euro-Pinoy Concert is free. The concert is set at 7:30 pm. on Wednesday (May 30), the The Ruins in Poblacion, Makati City. The concert is part of the celebration of the Viva Europa 2018 and the European Year of Cultural heritage.

    The EU said the featured performers will be Stefan Löwenstein and Michael Rattinger (Austria), Alex Alcaraz (Spain), Jeanette Kamphuis (Sweden), and Jean Paul Zialcita and Bhutta B (Philippines).

    European Union Ambassador Franz Jessen said the EU Delegation is pleased to collaborate with the Embassies of Austria and Sweden, and Instituto Cervantes de Manila to present the Euro-Pinoy Concert.

    “Through the concert, we want to bring the distinctive fusion of collaboration between and among European artists and musicians along with their Filipino counterparts,” Jessen said.

    “Music is the language of the soul, and this concert tries to bridge the EU and the Philippines together,” Jessen said.

    Austrian Löwenstein is a sound artist, music producer, and percussionist from Vienna who develops music environments for events and brands with his company. He composed the score for Austria’s Biennale Venice entry and developed his own interactive sound installations showcased at art festivals in Manchester and York in the UK, New York, and Manila.

    Manila-based Austrian Rattinger is a record digger interested in all types of percussion-heavy, dubby, and soulful sounds. Since 2013, he is the co-organizer and DJ at Afro Beat Club, Manila’s only, and highly irregular, African and Afro-inspired dance music party.

    Image © EU delegation

    Spanish Alcaraz is a Flamenco guitarist who was born and raised in Granada, Spain. In 2012, he decided to move to the Philippines and since then, he has been collaborating with Flamenco academies in Manila and several Filipino musicians.

    Swedish Kamphuis is a jazz artist and violinist and uses piano for her compositions. She is also a visual artist and has appeared in a television program for a major network in the Philippines.

    Zialcita is a Filipino percussionist who uses an exotic mix of upcycled found objects and local materials combined with elements of Filipino martial arts to re-imagine the Philippines on the world stage.

    Butta B has been a figure in Manila’s night life industry for four years now. Her career began when she started promoting “Bad Decisions Wednesdays” in Black Market. She is known for serving up anything from old school hip hop and RnB, to heavy bass, trap, house, funk, and dance music. Her fresh sound has landed her gigs both locally and internationally.

    Michellan Sarile-Alagao is to render a Spoken Word Performance.

    For more details, please visit, https://www.facebook.com/EUDelegationToThePhilippines/

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    Actors, rappers, opera singers headline Huseng Batute tribute at CCP

    May 25th, 2018

    By Ibarra C. Mateo

    Image © CCP

    HOW does one explain to the young Filipino millennials the life and literary achievements of poet José Corazon de Jesus, considered as the first king of “balagtasan”, who is marking his 86th death anniversary on May 26?

    The Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), under its President Arsenio J. Lizaso, has enlisted a phalanx of seasoned actors, ventriloquist, opera singers, traditional mambabalagtas from Bulacan, and young rappers to do this.

    The roster includes established actors John Arcilla, Ronnie Lazaro, Lou Veloso, ventriloquist Ony Carcamo, the Philippine Opera Company, and rappers Beware and Negatibo.

    It was revealed in a news conference that Lizaso is a nephew of De Jesus on his mother’s side.

    In the same news conference, Lizaso announced that the CCP’s production of “Pagbabalik-Tanaw sa Unang Hari ng Balagtasan” coincides with the 86th death anniversary of De Jesus.

    “The CCP is honoring Jose Corazon de Jesus or Huseng Batute through this event because his works exemplify artistic excellence, cultural values, Filipino aesthetics, and our national identity. These are embodied in our performance pledge to attain a humanistic global society,” Lizaso said.

    “In this digital age, we would like to introduce the millennials to traditional poetry, the balagtasan, and the kundiman music which are the precursors of Spoken Word, the rap battles, and the modern Filipino love songs,” Lizaso said.

    Activities begin at 1:30 pm. at the Tanghalang Huseng Batute. The theater, a black box intended for experimental performances, was named after the poet’s pen name Huseng Batute. The event is free and open to the public.

    Image © CCP

    De Jesus was born on Nov. 22, 1896 and died on May 26, 1932.

    A native of Sta. Cruz district of Manila, his parents were Dr. Vicente de Jesus and Susana Pangilinan.

    De Jesus wrote his Buhay-Maynila column in verse at the Taliba newspaper for 10 years. His poems were published in six books, namely, Mga Dahong Ginto, Gloria, Mga Itinapon ng Kapalaran, Sa Dakong Silangan, Ilaw sa Kapitbahay, and Maruming Basahan.

    He also penned lyrics for songs, most of which are kundiman or the traditional Filipino love songs. He translated the song “Nuestra Patria” to “Bayan Ko” which is considered as the second (unofficial) national anthem of the Philippines.

    Aside from writing poetry and lyrics, Batute similarly excelled in performing in balagtasan.

    The balagtasan, named after Francisco Balagtas who wrote Florante at Laura and Orosman at Zafira, is a Filipino literary form of debate where rhymed verses are created in spontaneity under topics that range from Philippine politics to culture.

    Batute received numerous recognition for balagtasan. He won the title Hari ng Balagtasan in 1926 and again in 1929, where he beat this closest contender, Florentino Collantes.

    “Pagbabalik-Tanaw sa Unang Hari ng Balagtasan” is being staged in cooperation with the Provincial Government of Bulacan.

    The literary event has two segments. The first is the forum where invited speakers discuss the works of Batute and their relevance to the contemporary times. Second is the “Pagtatanghal” where 10 of Batute’s works are to be performed.

    Bulacan Gov. Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado is one of the speakers in the forum.

    Among the Batute works to be performed are five poems, sections from the first balagtasan held at the Instituto de Mujeres in Tondo, Manila on April 6, 1924, and five songs which he provided lyrics to.

    Multi-awarded writer and performance artist Vim Nadera and Louise O. Lopez will host the event.

    The event is spearheaded by the CCP Office of the President and implemented through the Intertextual Division.

    (For more details on “Pagbabalik-Tanaw sa Unang Hari ng Balagtasan,” contact Kimberly Lim at 551-5959, 0919-3175708, or at ccpintertextualdivision@gmail.com).

     

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    ASEAN creative economy, IPR issues discussed in CCP

    May 25th, 2018

    By Ibarra C. Mateo

    Margie Moran Floirendo, chairperson of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (6th from left, front row) welcomed on Thursday / May 24, 2018 the participants to the 1st ASEAN Small and Medium-sized Cultural Enterprises (SMCEs) Caravan gathering ongoing at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. Photo © Rodel Valiente

    SOUTHEAST Asia’s prominent artists and craftspersons have assembled in the Philippines in an unprecedented gathering since May 21 to discuss the pioneering regional collaboration on creative economy and issues on cultural intellectual property rights.

    Held at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), 23 artists and craftspersons from all 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members are discussing ways on how their individual expertise can intertwine and contribute to improving their crafts and artistic outputs.

    Participants come from the fields of performing arts, furniture-making, bamboo-weaving, sculpture, loom-weaving, beading, traditional Chinese hand puppetry, classical dance, art and design, traditional performance and costume and accessory design, and lacquer-making.

    Lilian C. Barco, ASEAN focal person at the CCP, said “nurturing, encouraging, and supporting the creative industry is among the strategic measures in the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Blueprint 2025.”
    Barco is the ASEAN Small and Medium-sized Cultural Enterprises (SMCEs) Caravan project coordinator.

    Chris B. Millado, vice president and artistic director of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (2nd from left, front row) opened on May 21, 2018 the 1st ASEAN Small and Medium-sized Cultural Enterprises (SMCEs) Caravan gathering at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. Photo © Rodel Valiente.

    Ariel S. R. Yonzon, CCP’s associate artistic director for productions and exhibitions, said: “There is a felt lack of appreciation and implementation of intellectual property rights (IPR) guidelines and regulations on SMCEs in the region. This situation exposes the SMCEs artists and craftspersons to intellectual property losses and vulnerability to exploitation.”

    Yonzon is also the project director for the ASEAN SMCEs Caravan; which, after its Manila launch, is slated to move across the other nine member-states. Among the aims of the project is to build on the gains at every stop and to adopt the best practices along the way.

    A number of ASEAN members have started to address the IPR gaps in the creative economy or cultural enterprise sector in the region.

    “This ASEAN SMCEs Caravan, as we call it, is intended to familiarize the region’s artists and craftspersons to current trends and exchanges on what is going on in their respective countries,” Yonzon said.

    An expert from the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines, Aldrin Mendoza, shared on Friday the Philippine experience and situation on IPR issues. Mendoza discussed also how the Philippine IPR concerns compare with the rest of ASEAN.

    “The workshops, lecture forums, and exhibitions during the meeting are all geared toward assisting the participants to map the current status of the SMCEs in the ASEAN region and in their particular countries,” Barco said.

    “At the end of the gathering, we look forward to setting up linkages and network specifically to develop a plan of action addressing the SMCEs problems on a regional scale,” Barco said.

    Ricardo Eric Cruz, ASEAN SMCEs Caravan workshop director, said: “Interaction is important. Exchange of knowledge is valuable. One has to grow creatively, technically, and productively,” Cruz said.

    Cruz cited an example where one participant was interested in “calado” or open draw-work embroidery technique. He said this participant wanted to try and adopt the “calado” in crafting puppet costume.

    Cruz said they have requested each member-state to donate an art or craft item for an exhibition that would tour the ASEAN region.

    “Since this is the ASEAN Caravan, it is hoped that for every stop of the caravan in all of the 10 members, 100 pieces of art or crafts that are unique to the region can be collected and exhibited. This is among the ultimate goals,” Cruz said.

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    Duque revamps senior PH health officials

    March 1st, 2018

    Dr. Francisco Duque III Image © wikipedia

    HEALTH Secretary Francisco T. Duque III, in a sudden move on Wednesday, said he is reshuffling the Department of Health’s senior officials from the ranks of undersecretary down to directors.

    The changes in the DOH senior leadership is linked to the investigation involving Sanofi Pasteur’s dengue vaccine, Dengvaxia, Duque said. The reshuffle takes effect next week.

    In a statement, Duque said the changes were made in light of investigations concerning high-ranking officials of the health department.

    On Feb. 21, two officials of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) were relieved and reassigned due to their alleged connection with the issuance of Certificate of Product Registration (CPR) to Sanofi’s Dengvaxia.

    Duque’s Department Personnel Order on Feb. 21 immediately revoked the appointment of Ma. Lourdes Santiago as acting deputy director general for Field Regulatory Operations Office of the FDA and of Dr. Benjamin Co as director IV of the Center for Drug Regulation and Research of the FDA.

    The precautionary measures are being undertaken in the interest of transparency and to ensure the integrity of the audit being done by the DOH together with the FDA, Duque said on February. 21.

    The audit is on the issuance of the CPR to Sanofi’s Dengvaxia.

    On February 28, Duque said “under these changes, certain undersecretaries, assistant secretaries, and directors will be reassigned to other offices.”

    “I am re-assigning certain undersecretaries, assistant secretaries, and directors of the Department of Health in order to preserve the integrity of ongoing investigations and to prevent any potential undue influence on their findings,” Duque said in the statement.

    “I respect the recommendation of the (FDA) director general to support any efforts in ensuring that ongoing investigations remain fair and transparent and immune to undue influence,” Duque added. He assured the public that the DOH “is not taking allegations of impropriety lightly.

    Earlier, Duque said Santiago had “material participation in the approval” of Dengvaxia’s market authorization application.

    Meanwhile, Co was relieved following his admission that he received an advance copy of document or documents in a USB. Co’s receipt of said document violated a circular of the FDA.

    On Dec. 22, 2015, a CPR was issued by the FDA to Sanofi for its Dengvaxia product.
    Currently, the CPR for Dengvaxia is being suspended for one year, while Sanofi had been levied a fine of PhP100,000 for its failure to satisfy and comply with with post-marketing authorization requirements of the FDA.

    Santiago and Co were ordered to work at the Office of the FDA director general.
    The controversial Dengvaxia mass vaccination was launched and implemented during the term of then Health Secretary Janette Garin under the Aquino administration.

    Garin’s successor under the Duterte government in June 2016, Paulyn Jean Ubial continued the controversial mass vaccination, despite initial hesitation.

    Upon Duque’s appointment as secretary of health, following Ubial’s rejection by the Commission on Appointments, he suspended the Dengvaxia program in November 2017. However, at the time of the moratorium, around 830, 000 school-aged children from Metro Manila, Calabarzon, Central Luzon, and Cebu had received Dengvaxia.

    Presently, the controversy and uproar surrounding Dengvaxia is negatively affecting the expanded immunization program of the DOH, with several regions reporting declines in rates of immunization.

    As a response to this drop, Duque ordered DOH personnel to intensify and persistently talk to parents in a bid to convince them to use the other vaccination programs of the government, such as those intended to combat measles and mumps.

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    Nation to pay homage to National Artist Napoleon V. Abueva

    February 20th, 2018

     

    National Artist for Sculpture Napoleon-Abueva. Image © Cultural Center of the Philippines

    THE Cultural Center of the Philippines leads the nation in paying homage to the late National Artist for Sculpture Napoleon V. Abueva, who died Friday.

    Abueva, 88, also called the “Father of Modern Philippine Sculpture,” was survived by his wife Cherry and three children, Amihan, Mulawin, and Duero.

    In 1976, Abueva, who was mentored by Guillermo Tolentino, was elevated to the Order of the National Artist, becoming the youngest member of the elite order at the age of 46. Three years earlier, Tolentino was honored as National Artist for Sculpture.
    The CCP hosts the state necrological ceremonies to be held on Feb. 24, 8:30 a.m, at Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (CCP Main Theater). Internment immediately follows at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

    The CCP said Abueva’s wake is being held at the Delaney Hall of the Church of the Holy Sacrifice at the UP Diliman.

    Born on Jan. 26, 1930, Abueva “has shaped the Philippine sculpture scene by utilizing local and indigenous materials such as molave, acacia, ipil, and kamagong to create artworks replete with his nationalistic sensibility,” the CCP said. He has also utilized other modern resources like metal, steel, cement, marble, bronze, and brass.

    Adept in both academic representational style and modern abstract, the Boholano artist pioneered the buoyant sculpture, an early artistic innovation in 1951 where the sculpture juts out from the surface of a placid pool, the CCP said.

    He was one of the first Filipino artists who have put up a one-man show at the Philippine Center in New York in 1980. His piece, The Sculpture, can be seen at the United Nations headquarters in New York City.

    Among his notable works are the Blood Compact Monument in Bohol, Eternal Garden Memorial Park, UP Gateway (1967), Nine Muses (1994), UP Faculty Center, Sunburst (1994) at the Peninsula Manila Hotel, the bronze figure of Teodoro M. Kalaw in front of National Library, and marble murals at the National Heroes Shrine in Mt. Samat, Bataan.

    He also designed the door handles in all the National Museum galleries.

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    Toasting love, life, loyalty through ‘Don Quixote’

    February 8th, 2018

    Cast of Ballet Philippines’ Don Quixote

    AS IF the Filipinos’ fixation on stories of love, life, and friendship were not being satiated by the everlasting telenovelas, current films such as “Ang Dalawang Mrs. Reyes,” “Changing Partners,” and “Call Me By Your Name,” Ballet Philippines is closing its 48th season with the famous romance between Kitri and Basilio in the classic ballet “Don Quixote.”

    BP President Margie Moran-Floirendo said Don Quixote is “truly a big, happy fiesta celebrating life, love, and dance.”

    “Don Quixote is very special to the company, and it has had a long history with us. We started staging its grand pas de deux in 1973, and mounted our first full-length of it in 1981, with Luminita Dumitrescu restaging the ballet,” she said.

    Moran-Floirendo said “one of the greatest ballerinas of all time, Natalia Makarova performed Don Quixote’s grand pas de deux here (at the Cultural Center of the Philippines) with Ballet Philippines in 1979.

    “Don Quixote is the perfect show for those watching ballet for the first time. A light and fun story, it is ballet’s rom-com. But it is also perfect for die-hard balletomanes, who will surely look out for Don Q’s signature leaps, dizzying turns, and death-defying lifts,” she told reporters.

    For the 2018 BP Don Quixote, an edition intended for millennials, the company is featuring American Joseph Gatti, who was a principal dancer of the Cincinnati Ballet and the Corella Ballet. Gatti was a first soloist of Boston Ballet.

    Joseph Gatti

    In 2005, Gatti became the first American male dancer to win the prestigious gold medal at the New York International Ballet Competition.

    Gatti and Candice Adea, BP’s resident guest artist, perform on the special gala nights of Feb. 9, 8 p.m. and Feb. 10, 7 p.m., accompanied by the Manila Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Jeffrey Solares.

    The restager of the ballet is Adam Sage, who returns to BP as associate artistic director and ballet master. Sage has performed, taught, coached, and choreographed in four continents for nearly three decades.

    After his stint with BP in 1981-1983, Sage danced with Ballet West, Ballet Memphis, Hong Kong Ballet, and National Dance Company of Boputhatswana in South Africa. He also founded and served as artistic director of Missouri Ballet Theatre.

    Aside from Gatti and Adea, the principal roles of Kitri and Basilio will be portrayed by BP company members Jemima Reyes, Monica Gana, Victor Maguad, and Ian Ocampo.

    Inspired by the Miguel de Cervantes’ tale, the ballet follows the adventures of Don Quixote in Barcelona, where he meets Kitri, an innkeeper’s daughter whom he thinks is his lady love Dulcinea. Kitri, in turn, is in love with Basilio, the poor local barber. Kitri’s father does not like Basilio.

    Riot and confusion erupt as the gentleman from La Mancha unwittingly helps the two lovers attain their happy ending.

    Catch Don Quixote on Feb. 9 -11 and Feb. 16 -18 at the CCP Main Theater.

    For tickets, call BP at 551-1003, the CCP Box Office at 832-3704, or Ticketworld at 891-9999, or visit to Ticketworld.com.ph.

     

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    Fringe Manila’s 2018 edition sizzles the Nat’l Arts Month

    February 7th, 2018

    THE Philippine celebration of the National Arts Month this year further sizzles with the kick off of the 2018 Fringe Festival which runs until Feb. 25.

    Fringe Festival organizers said from Feb. 7 to 25, the 2018 Fringe Festival celebrates the Philippine Arts Month by featuring several of the “most dynamic interdisciplinary performances and groundbreaking new works in contemporary arts.”

    For its 4th year, the festival is presented by Pineapple Lab, a Poblacion, Makati City-based creative hub dedicated to finding innovative ways to present the works of Filipino art-makers, international artists, and collaborators.

    “Fringe’s mission is to make art accessible to audiences here in Manila who want to engage with the arts through fresh lenses and experience works that resonate with them. We built this festival as an inclusive platform for artists here in the Philippines, Fil–X artists (i.e. Filipino-Canadian, Filipino-American, Filipino-European, etc.), and international creatives to present original works that celebrate the diversity of talent that converge in the Metro,” Andrei Nikolai Pamintuan, Fringe Manila’s founding board member and festival director, said.

    This 2018, festival-goers can expect the comeback of Fringe favorites such as Deus Sex Machina, SPIT, ADHD Productions, Burlesque PH, Airdance, and more fresh, exciting local and international artists coming together for one reason – to celebrate the arts.

    Fringe is thrilled to showcase newcomers to the festival.

    San Diego International Fringe Festival’s “Artists’ Pick” and “Outstanding Comedy” awardee Theatre Group GUMBO from Japan, with their show “Are you lovin it?” A surreal romp with dancing Japanese businessman, crazy cartoon mascots, and fast food satire, GUMBO brings their gut-busting, award-winning, hilarious sense of humor to Manila. “Karera”, PUP Maharlika’s first dance theatre production.

    With choreography by Daloy Dance Company’s Buboy Raquitico and costume design by Daloy and Maharlika’s very own Jomari Cruz, “Karera” is inspired by the urban rat race and is an expression of the proverbial survival of the fittest in society.

    Also new to Fringe is Phi Palmos, presenting Eljay Castro Deldoc’s “Nobenta Nostalgia,” an unfinished live documentation about the 90s TV we dearly love and fondly miss told through interviews, monologues, and songs.

    Fringe will stage the championship round of the long-running live-painting competition, Art Battle, where painters battle it out for audience votes and the chance to compete in Art Battle International.

    Following Art Battle are performances from Kulintronica, a California-based musician who fuses the sounds of the traditional Philippine kulintang with modern electronic music, and “Pagbalik”, another California-based act performing a sound and dance narrative that reflects on the meaning of being a Filipino-American, along with the memories, history, and beliefs that the two wordsembody.

    Fringe highlights the variety and volume of workshops available to audiences at this year’s festival. Award-winning, Filipino-British alternative cabaret performer Sam Reynolds will be introducing workshops and performances aimed at assisting artists in developing their own cabaret pieces through the support of the British Council and Arts Council England.

    Among the roster of workshops are those being held by Filipino-Canadian yoga instructor and Lululemon Athletica ambassador Kaye Peñaflor at Beyond – Rockwell, focusing on techniques involving Philippine folk dance, partner yoga, and aerial yoga.

    Fringe also welcomes Andreas Vierziger, with the support of the Austrian Embassy in Manila, who is conducting a series of workshops to help develop awareness of contact points between music and various disciplines or industries (such as different musical genres, crossover, dance, visual arts, tech, and coding).

    Jodinand Aguillon, the festival’s creative producer and Fringe artist himself said “it’s so important for these types of festivals to exist.”

    “By bridging independent creatives with small businesses and working with cultural institutions – Fringe works closely with its communities to make the arts a vehicle for meaningful collaborations, and a safe space for ideas and expanding networks,” Aguillon said.

    The 2018 team has worked closely with creative hubs contributing to the culturally dynamic character of Barangay Poblacion and the City of Makati.

    Among these venues are Commune, Dulo, Kapwa, The Social, and Humble Heron, as well as Century City Mall, Beyond Rockwell, NEST, Yuchengco Museum, Alliance Française Manille, Lokal Hostel, 20:20, Green Sun, and Power Mac Center Spotlight Theatre.

    Included as well are satellite venues at the Philippine Educational Theatre Association (PETA) and The PARC Foundation.

    Under the umbrella of the internationally-acclaimed World Fringe Network, Fringe Manila is an open access, artist-driven community celebration that showcases “fresh, daring, and groundbreaking works” by emerging and established artists from the Philippines, as well as, international participants in theater, music, dance, visual art, film, cabaret, performance art, burlesque, spoken word, comedy, magic, workshops, and every other artistic genre in between, organizers said.

    Since its inaugural run in 2015, Fringe has hosted over 30,000 audiences in 45 venues, featuring more than 500 performances and exhibits of more than 1,000 artists across numerous venues all over Metro Manila.

    A collaborative effort, Fringe highlights the emerging art scene in Manila’s artistic landscape.

    Tickets are available at TicketWorld (891-9999) or at www.ticketworld.com.ph for some performances.

    For more details and updates, visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/FringeMNL or follow them on Twitter and Instagram at @fringemnl or visit fringemanila.com

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    PTTA travel tour expo opens on Feb. 8

    February 6th, 2018

    Philippine Travel Agencies Association (PTAA) officers, led by PTAA president and TTE 2018 organizing committee chairperson Marlene Dado Jante, announce the holding of the 2018 Travel Tour Expo which opens on Feb. 8.

    THE annual Travel Tour Expo (TTE), organized by the Philippine Travel Agencies Association (PTAA), opens on Thursday with at least 400 organizations participating, the highest number in its history.

    Marlene Dado Jante, PTAA president and TTE 2018 organizing committee chairperson, said the unprecedented growth of TTE coincides with its 25thanniversary. She also said its growth challenges the PTTA to explore their “options on how they can expand TTE beyond its current format.”

    The TTE, an annual travel and tourism event in the country, has a lot of room for growth, PTTA officials said, citing the 21-percent jump in the number of exhibitors this year compared with 2017.

    “When we open on February 8, it will be a very special moment for the country’s tourism industry as TTE will celebrate its 25th anniversary. Since 1993, we have been bringing together stakeholders under one roof,” Jante said.

    “We are playing a key role in the growth of Philippine tourism. This is the reason why we are pushing forward and searching for ways to evolve the expo from its venue, program, and offerings to the public,” Jante added.

    The TTE will occupy the entire SMX Convention Center and cover more than 16,000 square meters of floor space.

    During the period 2011-2017, the number of exhibitors had grown by 30 percent. This year, the TTE will occupy all the meeting rooms of the SMX Convention Center

    “In November last year, when we held our exhibitors briefing, we had at least 60 companies and organizations waitlisted. It was a significant number that we had to address because we want the TTE to host as many industry players as we can,” Jante said.

    Beyond the Philippine tourism stakeholders, the TTE plays host to hotels and resorts, airlines, tour operators, cruise lines, theme parks, and national tourism organizations from overseas. It also features embassies and regional tourism offices, and local government units.

    Simultaneous with the TTE is the 3rd edition of the International Travel Trade Expo (iTTE).

    The iTTE is the business-to-business (B2B) component of TTE which allows PTAA members to have pre-appointed one-on-one meetings with executives from international tourism companies and national tourism organizations.

    Among the countries and territories expected to participate in iTTE are Australia, Cambodia, China, Egypt, France, Guam, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, New Zealand, Portugal, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, United Arab Emirates, United States, and Vietnam.

    Two of the options being looked at by the PTAA is venue expansion or holding the TTE at two different locations.

    “The PTAA has to seriously consider having a plausible secondary venue open along with SMX in the future because of the sheer number of exhibitors that want to participate. At the same time, we also see the iTTE becoming a key element of the country’s tourism industry. There is really a need for more space,” Jante said.

    However, she said that any expansion has to make sense logistically and within the fiscal capacity of the PTAA. She added that venue for the TTE has to be easily accessible to visitors coming from any location.

    “We want to ensure that there will be no glitches during the expo specifically on all the exhibitors’ internet access. Transactions have to be seamless during the expo and the public must be able to book their travels with ease,” Jante said.

    “Over the years, the TTE has prided itself as the one-stop-shop for all the travel needs of our countrymen. We intend to keep and even exceed that commitment,” Jante said.

    This year’s TTE is supported by the Department of Tourism, Tourism Promotions Board, Philippine Airlines, Mabuhay Miles, and Citibank.

     

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    CCP unveils 2018 shows, new national artists to be presented in July

    February 2nd, 2018

    Cultural Center of the Philippines. Image © https://www.lonelyplanet.com

    THE Cultural Center of the Philippines unveiled its roster of 2018 shows, with the July conferment of the newest batch of national artists and the September gala concert to honor its first and longest-serving president as among the peak points.

    Chris B. Millado, CCP vice president and artistic director, made the official announcement of the 2018 CCP season in a press conference at the CCP’s Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (Little Theater). He said the 2018 season productions “lead up” to the CCP’s 50th anniversary year-long celebrations from September 2019.

    “Come July, the CCP and National Commission for Culture and the Arts will jointly hold the conferment ceremony and tribute to the awardees of the Order of National Artists, the highest national recognition given to Filipino individuals who have made significant contributions to the development of Philippine arts,” Millado said.

    CCP Vice President and Artistic Director Chris B. Millado

    Millado also said discussions on the 2018 batch of national artists “have already started as we speak.”

    “This year, the CCP also celebrates the life and works of National Artist Lucresia R. Kasilag with a concert dubbed as CCP Gala: The King’s Concert in September,” he said.

    “Tita King,” as Kasilag was fondly called, spent her life developing the Filipino audience’s appreciation of music. Kasilag was the first and longest-serving CCP president, from 1976 to 1986.

    “She worked to discover the Filipino roots through ethnic music and fuse it with Western influences, an approach that current Filipino composers emulate,” Millado said.

    Most of the CCP productions will be mounted by its resident companies namely, the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra (PPO), Ballet Philippines (BP), Philippine Ballet Theatre (PBT), Tanghalang Pilipino (TP), Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group, Bayanihan Philippine National Folk Dance Company, UST Symphony Orchestra, National Music Competitions for Young Artists (NAMCYA), and the Philippine Madrigal Singers.

    The PPO, CCP’s resident orchestra company, celebrates its 45th anniversary with a concert featuring classical masterpieces under the baton of its music director and resident conductor Maestro Yoshikazu Fukumura, as well as outreach concerts, and performances all over the Philippines.

    Both the Saturday Group and Philippine Arts Educators mark their 50th anniversary with respective exhibits this March.

    In May, the Association of Pinoyprintmakers holds an exhibition for their 50th anniversary.

    The Gawad CCP Para sa Alternatibong Pelikula at Video, considered as the longest-running independent film competition of its kind in the Southeast Asian region, highlights its 30th run this year.

    The competition harvests the best films in various categories such as Short Feature/Narrative, Experimental, Documentary, and Animation. It will also be a year of collaborations with international artistic companies, as well as Philippine premieres of international productions.

    It started with the Japanese theater company Rinkogun which presented “Retire-Men,” a humorous play about the Japanese people who move to different Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand and the Philippines, on Jan. 27 and 28, at the Tanghalang Huseng Batute.

    On Feb. 8 and 9, CCP hosts the UNIMA Chinese Puppetry, showcasing the magnificent and mystical tradition of Chinese puppetry and featuring performances by the Yangzhou Puppetry Troupe, the Pingyang Puppetry Protection and Inheritance Center, and the Sichuan Huge Puppet Theatre.

    The Russian Classical Ballet performs “Swan Lake,” featuring two of the world-renowned Bolshoi Ballet Theatre dancers Alexander Volchkov and Nina Kaptsova, from Feb. 27 to March 11 at the Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo.

    Image © https://www.harrahssocal.com

    After 10 years, the Earth Hour returns to CCP.

    Organized by the Wold Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the Earth Hour is the world’s largest environmental movement urging people to switch off non-essential lights for 60 minutes, as a way to protect and save the planet.

    On March 24, Filipinos are encouraged to participate at activities at the CCP grounds to mark #Connect2Earth in a festive night.

    In September, the CCP launches the Encyclopedia of Philippine Arts.

    Akapella Open International 2018, a competition for contemporary a capella groups which aims to promote the love for contemporary a capella and appreciation for vocal harmony performance, happens in October.

    Other highlights of 2018 CCP season calendar include: the Young Artists Series, which is co-produced with the Philippine Opera Company; Marawing Salamat: The Best of Opera and Fashion for Marawi featuring I Pagliacci, a two-act Italian opera with music and libretto by Ruggero Leoncavallo; 2017 Gawad Buhay Philstage Award, the pioneering industry awards exclusively for the performing arts; Triple Threats, a series of concept concerts featuring real life couples Julienne Mendoza and Stella Cañete, Robert Seña and Isay Alvarez, Franco Laurel and Ayen Munji Laurel; Wifi Body.ph, a competition for choreographers; Festival of Arts and Ideas, now on its 2nd year; CCP Ballet Competition 2018, gathering ballet dancers, choreographers, and masters who will compete in classical solo variation and contemporary piece categories; Performatura: Spoken Work Festival, celebrating literature by engaging it with music, theater, dance, film, and visual arts; CCP Met Opera in HD at the Ayala Cinema; Kabataang Gitarista, now on its 6th year.

    There are also CCP regular festivals and shows such as the Pasinaya, considered the largest multi-arts festival in the country where Filipino people can pay as much as you want and see as many as you can; the Virgin Labfest, the annual festival of raw, untested and un-staged one-act plays; Cinemalaya, the largest independent film festival with the aim to support cinematic works by upcoming and veteran Filipino filmmakers.

    Proud of its art education and outreach programs, the CCP holds various training and workshops such as National Rondalla Workshop 2018, National Folk Dance Workshop for Teachers, CCP Hands-on Choral Workshop, CCP Summer Dance Workshop, among others.

    Must-see exhibitions include “Walking Still: Rene Aquitania Exhibit”; “Stretched Banners” by MJ Flaminiano; and, solo exhibits by Marlon Contreras, Froilan Calayag, Lesley Ann Cao, among others.

    (For more information, please call CCP at 832-1125 and visit www.culturalcenter.gov.ph)

     

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    Gian Magdangal leads all-Filipino cast of ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’

    November 1st, 2017

    Cast of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Image © Resorts World Manila

    STAGE actor Gian Magdangal leads the all-Filipino cast of Resorts World Manila’s production of “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” now running at the Newport Performing Arts Theater.

    Magdangal, who recently returned to the Philippines after a three-year stint at the Hong Kong Disneyland’s “The Golden Mickeys” and “Mickey and the Wondrous Book,” was also one of the lead performers for Universal Studios in Osaka, Japan.

    Magdangal plays the role of eccentric inventor Caractacus Potts, while actress Yanah Laurel plays his love interest Truly Scrumptious.

    RWM, in cooperation with Ultimate Shows, is staging for the first time in the country Ian Fleming’s “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” which premiered on Oct. 21.

    Thirty-four years after its movie version was released in 1968, the English musical was first staged at the London Palladium in 2002 and became its longest running show ever with a three and a half year run. A UK tour also ran from 2005 until 2008.

    Prior to the Manila production, the musical was also staged on Broadway, New York; the Capitol Theater, Sydney; the State Theater, Munich; and Singapore’s Esplanade, among others.

    I was very excited when I got the part. I’m really a fan of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and it was a big part of my childhood,” Laurel said. “I think it will appeal to Filipino audiences because it’s a spectacle of a show, the music is beautiful, and for those who are unfamiliar, it’s going to be an exciting treat for them because every single number is a production number,” Laurel said.

    For the role of Jeremy Potts, 12-year-old Noel Comia, a two-time Aliw Awardee for Best Child Performer and 2017 Cinemalaya Best Lead Actor for his role in  “Kiko Boksingero,” alternates with 11-year-old Albert Silos. Silos had acted in RWM’s” The King And I” and “Cinderella”.

    Isabeli Araneta Elizalde returns to the NPAT stage as Jemina Potts, after her breakthrough performance in RWM’s “Annie” which won her the Discovery of the Year award in the 2016 Aliw Awards. Alternating with Elizalde is Zoey Alvarade who had performed in stage productions such as “It’s a Giant World,” “Jewel of Antilles, “Two Worlds, One Island,” “Seussical Jr.,” Wizard of Oz,” and “Greased Lightning.”

    Other members of the cast are Mako Alonso as Boris. Reb Atadero (Goran), James Paolleli (Grandpa Potts), Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo (Baroness). Raymund Concepcion (Baron Bomburst), Michael Williams (Toymaker), and Lorenz Martinez (Childcatcher).

    Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” is directed by Jaime del Mundo, with assistant direction by Lauchengco-Yulo and artistic direction by Williams, with the music of the Manila Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Rodel Colmenar.

    Chitty Chitty Bang Bang runs at the NPAT in RWM. For details, please visit, www.rwmanila.comor call (632) 908-8833.

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    Rock musical ‘Hair’ closes Rep’s 50th season, 51st opens with ‘Comedy of Tenors’

    October 31st, 2017

    Image © REPERTORY PHILIPPINES

    THE rock musical “Hair” closes the Repertory Philippines’ 50th season this November-December while the hilarious “Comedy of Tenors” opens its 51st season next January.

    Directed by Chris B. Millado, “Hair” opens on Nov. 17 and runs until Dec. 17. Hair is considered as “the first-ever tribal love-rock musical on Broadway.”

    “We, at Rep, are more inspired than ever to keep showing quality theater to our audiences,” Mindy Perez Rubio, Rep president and chief executive officer, said.

    “For 50 years, we have been bringing the best of West End and Broadway to the Philippines and creating a space for theater arts and artists to develop. We are embarking on the next 50 years with the same passion and drive to bring live theater to more people,” Rubio said.

    “2018 is a good start, and we have a superb line-up of meaningful shows that are sure to touch and inspire,” Rubio said.

    For its 2018 season opener, Rep mounts the Paris-set “Comedy of Tenors, from Jan. 26 to Feb. 18; followed by the interesting story of female astronomers, Silent Sky,” from March 2 to 25.

    From April 6 to 29, Rep fans will be dazzled by “Arsenic and Old Lace,” a black comedy play popularized through a film adaptation starring Cary Grant.

    From Sept. 15, Rep returns with the Rep Theater for Young Audiences show Rapunzel, which runs until Jan. 27, 2019.

    The musical “Miong” about the life of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo is the season opener for 2019. It runs from March 22 to April 14, 2019, in time for Aguinaldo’s 150th birth anniversary.

    Rep aims to collaborate with the Ayala Museum for the anniversary of Aguinaldo activities that will feature snippets from the show, costumes of the era, and hopefully memorabilia of Gen. Aguinaldo.

    The upcoming Rep season is one we’re very proud of. We believe that this roster of productions offers something for all audiences to enjoy,” Joy Virata, Rep artistic director, said.

    “Everyone involved worked tirelessly to make sure we bring only the best stories that make those who watch feel and think. With the new season’s wide range of performances, from the magical and witty re-telling of Rapunzel to the historic and inspiring Miong, we’re hoping to show people that theater is for everybody,” Virata said.

    The Rep said that season passes for 2018 are already available.

    All the shows will be held at Onstage Theater in Greenbelt 1, Makati.

    Line-up of Repertory Philippines 2018 Season Shows

    Comedy of Tenors (Jan. 26 – Feb. 18)

    Ken Ludwig’s hilarious play centers on a colorful crew of characters who converge in a hotel room before an important concert. As an opera producer attempts to put on a show, his lead performer goes missing. In their misadventures, they involve a harassed producer, his frazzled assistant, an aging, temperamental and sometimes missing Italian opera star and his hot-blooded wife, their daughter, and her lover, an opera diva, and a singing waiter.

    Director: Miguel Faustmann

    Cast: Jeremy Domingo, Noel Rayos, Issa Litton, Loy Martinez, Mica Pineda, Arman Ferrer, and Shiela Martinez

    Silent Sky (Mar. 2 – 25)

    The play by Lauren Gundersen centers on historical figure Henrietta Swan Leavitt, an astronomer at Harvard College Observatory in the 1900s. She and her brilliant team of women made ground-breaking discoveries that shaped modern astronomy, despite the attitudes against women that marked the era. “Silent Sky” follows Henrietta as she navigates her personal and professional life in a man’s world.

    Director: Joy Virata

    Cast: Cathy Azanza Dy, Caisa Borromeo, Naths Everette, and Shiela Francisco

    Arsenic and Old Lace (Apr. 6 – 29)

    This 1930s-set play follows Mortimer Brewster as he goes off to visit his kooky family. While he loves his two aunts who’ve raised him, he considers the rest of his family—such as his brother Teddy who believes himself to be Teddy Roosevelt and his sadistic and murderous great grandfather — to be insane. During his short vacation back home, he finds out his beloved aunts murder lonely old men for fun. Mortimer now tries to stay on top of the crazy situation, getting rid of the cops and protecting his sweet fiancé, while trying not to turn crazy himself.

    Director: Jamie Wilson

    Cast: Joy Virata as Abby Brewster, Jay Valencia Glorioso as Martha Brewster, Nel Gomez as Mortimer Brewster, Barbara Jance as Elaine Harper, Jeremy Domingo as Teddy Brewster, Apollo Sheikh Abraham as Jonathan Brewster, Miguel Faustmann as Dr. Einstein with Steven Conde, Gabe Mercado, and Dingdong Rosales

    Rapunzel (Sept. 15, 2018 – Jan. 27,2019)

    REP Theater for Young Audiences

    This is a brand new magical musical re-telling of the classic fairy tale. The evil Lady ZaZa is determined to rule the kingdom by keeping the beautiful Princess Rapunzel trapped in a tower in the deep, dark, dreary forest. It is up to Sir Roderick and his hair stylist friend Edgar, who is on a quest to find the perfect head of hair, to rescue Princess Rapunzel and restore the kingdom with the help of a slightly neurotic Gypsy Woman and a tired, yet witty, old dragon named Socrates.

    Director: Joy Virata

    Cast: TBA

    Miong (March 22 to April 14, 2019)

    Hero Emilio Aguinaldo played a huge part in Philippine history. However, the story of his life is rarely told. Focusing on Aguinaldo’s youth, the story delves on his relationship with his middle-class provincial family, his marriage, and his beginnings in the Katipunan. “Miong” hopes to resonate with the youth and show them an example of courage and love of country.

    Director, Book and Lyrics: Joy Virata

    Music: Ian Monsod

    Cast: TBA

    For inquiries, please call Rep at 843.3570, or Ticketworld at 891.999, or log on towww.ticketworld.com.ph. For updates and show schedules, log on to www.Repertoryphilippines.ph, like and follow Repertoryphilippines on Facebook and Instagram, and follow @Repphils on Twitter.

     

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    Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra plays with cellist Ray Wang on Oct. 13

    October 10th, 2017

    Cellist Ray Wang Photo © Cultural Center of the Philippines-Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra

    THE Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra (PPO), under the baton of its music director Maestro Yoshikazu Fukumura, performs with Cellist Ray Wang at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) Main Theater on Friday.

    The concert program, which starts at 8 pm., includes W.A. Mozart’s Symphony No. 32 in G, E. Lalo’s Cello Concerto in D minor, and I. Stravinsky’s Petrushka (Complete Ballet).

    Guest soloist Wang had performed in various musical centers and festivals in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau. He had also concertized in Chicago, Cremona, Florence, London, Luxembourg, New York, Saarbrucken, Segovia, and Vancouver.

    Wang is a founding member of the Hong Kong Virtuosi, the Canzone Trio, and the New Art String Quartet in Hong Kong.

    He is known for his passion in teaching music and he has nurtured generations of outstanding young cellists who garnered awards and citations in international competitions and became members of major symphony orchestras in Asia.

    He was previously a music faculty member of the Baptist University and Chinese University of Hong Kong. He had taught in Queensland Conservatorium of Music in Australia, Fu Jen Catholic University of Taiwan, Wuhan Conservatory, Xinghai Conservatory, Central Conservatory of Music in China.

    Billed as “Romancing the Classics,” the 35th season of the PPO opened on Sept. 15, featuring pianist Yuri Shadrin. The Sept. 13 concert program included G. Rossini’s Il Viaggio a Reims Overture, F. Liszt’s Piano Concerto No.1 in E-flat, and S. Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No.2 in E minor.

    As a soloist with orchestras, as well as in solo recitals, Russian-born pianist Shadrin is widely known through South America, Asia, and the US.

    The PPO, a resident company of the CCP, is considered as the country’s leading orchestra and is widely regarded as one of the top musical ensembles in the Asia-Pacific region.

    Established on May 15, 1973 as the CCP Philharmonic Orchestra, the PPO has premiered Filipino compositions and featured works by foreign composers not yet performed in the Philippines.

    It continues to promote music appreciation through outreach concerts in schools, parishes, government agencies, and underserved communities in Metro Manila and in different regions in the country.

    (For inquires and subscription, call the CCP Marketing Department at 832-1125 local 1806; the CCP Box Office at 832-3704; or the TicketWorld at 891-9999).

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