“The power of Italian art”
Lucia di Lammermoor at Manila Main Theatre,
an article of Francesco Germinario in “L’Opera International Magazine”, March 2020
“The Italian musical culture is present world wide, for instance in Manila thanks to the initiative of the Philippine-Italian Association with Mrs. Zenaida Tantoco as President and the participation of the Italian Embassy in the production of “Lucia di Lammermoor” in the wide hall of the CCP (Cultural Center of the Philippines) Main Theatre, whose president is Arsenio J. Lizaso, respectively co-producer and producer of this new proposal. Creative Project Co-ordinator: Giampaolo Lomi.
The appreciated project was launched two years ago with “L’elisir d’amore” of Gaetano
Donizetti and was reinforced this year with the creative involvement of Lucia of the same composer, which gave the opportunity to gather many countries: from the Philippines, with the participation of tenor Arthur espiritu, mezzo-soprano Camille Lopez-Molina, tenors Ivan Nery and Nomher Nival; from Italy, conductor Alessandro Palumbo and Director Vincenzo Grisostomi Travaglini; the soprano Francese, of Armenian origins Melody Louledjian; Corean baritone Byeong-In Park, naturalized Filipino and the Chinese bass Shi Zong.
The orchestra is the prestigious Philippine Philarmonic Orchestra and the Choir Viva Voce and Friends.
The initiative, structured on several production and musical levels, has involved local high skills, as the sets and costumes, which were deisgned by Grisostomi Travaglini himself, were realised in the workshops and ateliers of Manila, with the contribution of Eric Gabat Cruz for the sets, of Bonsai cielo for the costumes and Winter David for the props. The lighting designer was Giovanni Pirandello, in tight collaboration with the numerous CCP equipe; CCP, of which was celebrated the 50th Anniversary.
All assistants were very young, as they were searching for a “live” professional experience, looking forward to a lyric programme of wider dimensions and the CCP directors were already thinking of the next opera to be staged, within the Italian repertoire, which will be an absolute new show in Manila next time.
To enrich such enthusiasm and union of intentions, the collaboration of Prince Sisowath Ravivaddhana Monipong, who, as Ambassador of the Royal Household of Cambodia, brought all his energy to enhance the level of cultural exchange between Europe and South-East Asia.
From the very beginning of the rehearsals, the attention for the initiative was at its utmost level, and since the press conference, the medias have given the largest place to the event. A confirmation of how appreciated is Italian musical art world wide and always with increasing interest.
The performance, which took place within the CCP Main Theatre, “made people dream” as it was written thanks to the utmost care of the musical result, with particular reference to the work of Alessandro Palumbo, who gave his soul to transmit to the soloists, orchestra and choir the message of universality, which is hidden in the heart of this neo-romantic “donizettiano” masterpiece.
A careful staging, rich with suggestive details, concentrated to render fluid the succession of the opera scenes, leaving essential the visual effects and the deep meanings of the drama.
Of particular intensity, the refined lighting design of Giovanni Pirandello. The success was full of passion for the Filipino tenor Arthur Espiritu, who came back on a Manila stage after years of absence. His voice, warm and expressive, gave particular emotions which caused Edgardo to receive an actual and proper ovation at the end of the Aria and Finale Fra poco a me ricovero …
The emotions given by soprano Melody Louledjian, at her debut in the role were not least, so sentimentally arousing and convincing. The cast could seem heterogenous in its whole but the result was harmonious, the fruit of the careful preparation and the deep reflection on each single character.
One special mention to the young choir Viva Voce and Friends with Maestro Camille Lopez-Molina (who interpreted Alisa in the opera as well), which gathers young musicians and singers who, thanks to their enthusiasm, leads the future of music to be bright in Manila’s heaven.
Success for the gala evening and euphoria for the following matinée, with a young audience, so numerous to wait for the artists at the end of the performance for the traditional CCP “Meet and Greet” in the foyer of the theatre, which united all the participants of the production with the audience in a big embrace and celebration without borders.”
Our gratitude to photographers Alex van Hagen and Domingo Gannaban for the beautiful pictures.