MANILA -- Flawless, stellar performances and the artists’ heart for performing eclipsed the technical glitches experienced during “Bulawan,” the 50th anniversary concert of the Cultural Center of the Philippines held last September 20 and 21.
The impressive roster of performers, which included almost 600 of some of the most respected icons, as well as the most promising names in theater, dance, and music, made this two-night concert one of the biggest events in the 50-year history of CCP.
However, technical setbacks derailed the proceedings on both nights, but these did not faze any of the performers.
On the second night, Celeste Legaspi, one of the hosts of the show, jokingly quipped after her microphone popped a good number of times, “See, that’s why we are all here, so we can contribute to the renovation project of CCP.”
“Bulawan,” aside from being a spectacular celebration of CCP’s 50th year, kicked off the center’s fundraising effort to collect around P1 billion in cash, supplies and services for the technical and structural upgrade of the CCP building. This campaign will run three to five years.
CCP’s Board of Trustees chairperson Margie Moran Floirendo said that the campaign aims to help provide the best facility for the numerous productions and companies that the center is hosting.
CCP vice president and artistic director Chris Millado addsed: “We hope to provide enhanced performing arts experience, pleasing both the artists, local and international, and the audience.”
Directed by Loy Arcenas, “Bulawan” proved that, indeed, Filipino performers deserve a cultural center that can truly highlight their talents -- topnotch and world-class.
The leading ladies of the stage dazzled the audiences with their scintillating performances.
Joanna Ampil was “bulawan” when she perfectly sang a medley of songs from the musicals she starred in on West End – “Sun and Moon" from :Miss Saigon,” “On My Own" and "I Dreamed A Dream" from "Les Miserables,” and “Memory" from "Cats.”
Former Ballet Philippines’ principal dancer Candice Adea was dazzling as she performed excerpts from “Le Corsaire.” For the segment, Candice was joined by West Australian Ballet colleague Julio Blanes. The pair, who flew in from Australia to join the Gala, was greeted with thunderous applause after their spots.
The country’s premiere soprano Rachelle Gerodias performed alongside international Korean baritone Byeong In Park as Ballet Philippines’ presented an excerpt of “Carmina Burana.”
For the Ryan Cayabyab musicals segment, Monique Wilson was enchanting as she reprised her role as Maria Clara in an excerpt of “Noli Me Tangere” with Gian Magdangal as Ibarra. Theater luminaries Audie Gemora and Nonie Buencamino dished out memorable tunes from “El Filibusterismo,” and “Larawan,” respectively. Soprano Stefanie Quintin and tenor Ervin Lumauag closed the suite with a number from “Spoliarium.”
Newly named National Artist for Music Cayabyab attended “Bulawan” with fellow National Artists Alice Reyes (Dance) and Ramon Santos (Music).
Former CCP oresident and revered pianist Raul Sunico performed two outstanding numbers – “Liebestod (Tristan and Isolde)” and George Canseco’s “Hanggang sa Dulo Ng Walang Hanggan.”
Shamaine Centenera-Buencamino, her husband Nonie Buencamino, and Celeste Legaspi served as hosts and paid tribute to the contributions of CCP to their lives and careers.
While the presence of these performers highlighted the rich and illustrious history of CCP, “Bulawan” really belonged to the real stars of the celebration – the current members of the resident CCP companies who tirelessly devote their time and talent to ensure that Art in the Philippines remains relevant and revered.
The Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra with University of Santo Tomas Symphony Orchestra and The Philippine Madrigal Singers with Madz Et Al provided excellent support to the numbers of the various CCP companies.
The Ramon Obusan Folkloric and the Bayanihan Philippine National Folk Dance Company performed a string a Philippine folk dances.
Ballet Philippines, aside from “Carmina Burana,” also led the “Hibang Sa Awit” spot.
The Tanghalang Pilipino Actors Company recited Jose Rizal’s “Mi Ultimo Adios,” which was preceded by guests Poppert Barnadas and Lara Maigue’s number dedicated to the Filipino literary greats.
Also featured in “Bulawan” were Daloy Dance Company, Musikalinangan, and the Philippine Air Force Band.
Special segments were also dedicated to the artists whose works are displayed in the halls of CCP, and to Cinemalaya, the independent film festival supported by CCP.
“Bulawan” closed heartwarmingly and strongly with a fitting finale featuring all the artists in one stage with “Tanghalan Naming Tahanan” and the CCP Hymn “Kulturang Pilipino Alay Sa Buong Mundo.”