By Ibarra C. Mateo
On Valentine’s Day 2020, Soprano Andión Fernández-Ching performs with the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra (PPO) under the baton of Maestro Gerard Salonga at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) Main Theater.
The PPO’s 6th season concert is at 8 pm.
Among the highlight of the Feb. 14 concert is the PPO performance of Jeffrey Ching’s “My Heart Stayed Numb (The True Story of King Kong).”
The Theatre of Magdeburg website described The True Story of King Kong as a chamber opera with puppets by Ching, libretto by Roscha A. Säidow, and with the composition commissioned by the Theatre of Magdeburg.
“Fascinated by the music of the Filipino-native, Chinese-British composer Jeffrey Ching and the energy of librettist and director Roscha A. Säidow’s puppet theatre, the Theatre of Magdeburg has once again commissioned a composition for a chamber opera. In King Kong, the two theatre artists have opted for an iconographic myth of the 20th century,” the website said.
“A godlike judge holds the protagonists of the famous story to account before a mythical court to determine the real circumstances of the death of King Kong. The perspectives of what happened are compared in flashbacks, whereby librettist and composer highlight the themes dealt with in the story such as power, corruption, western claims to hegemony and, of course, love, in bizarre fashion, inextricably linking the worlds of opera and puppet theatre in the process,” it said.
The concert program includes Lucio San Pedro’s “Ang Buwan sa Kabundukan,” Franz Schubert’s “Erlkőnig,” Manuel De Falla‘s “Siete Canciones Populares Españolas,” Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s “Tatiana’s Letter Scene” (Eugene Onegin), and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Symphony no.6, op. 74, B minor “Pathetique”.
Born in Manila, Fernández-Ching last performed at the CCP on Aug. 21, 2016, together with Spanish musician Alberto Urroz in a concert that paid homage to Enrique Granados, described as “a pianist and composer with a uniquely Spanish style.”
The August 2016 concert was part of the global celebrations marking the 100th death anniversary of Granados, who drowned in the English Channel while attempting to save his wife during World War I.
In the Granados concert, Berlin-based composer Ching reworked and contributed his “own Sonata Domenica to the Scarlattiana tradition that Granados began.”
Ching dedicated his composition to Urroz, who performed its world premiere in this particular concert at the CCP Little Theater.
Maestro Salonga is currently the music director of the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra in Manila, and is in his second season as assistant conductor of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. He has guest-conducted the HK Philharmonic, Shanghai Opera House Orchestra and Chorus, Evergreen Symphony, Bangkok Symphony, Malaysian Philharmonic, and Orchestra Victoria in Melbourne. Early this year, he made his debut with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.
In December 2016, Salonga orchestrated the Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra by National Artist Col. Antonino Buenaventura, which was given its world premiere by the PPO and bassoonist Adolfo Mendoza.
Meanwhile, Fernández-Ching was a soloist of the Deutsche Oper Berlin from 2001 to 2010. She graduated with honors from the Universität der Künste, Berlin, and studied voice with Karan Armstrong and contemporary music with Aribert Reimann following her studies with Fides Cuyugan-Asencio at the University of the Philippines.
She was a prizewinner of Operalia International Opera Competition (Placido Domingo World Opera Contest, Hamburg) and the Cardiff Singer of the World competition, and has sung in the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin, the Festspielhaus in Baden Baden, the Deutsche Oper am Rhein, the Gulbenkian Auditorium in Lisbon, the Kallang Theatre and Victoria Theatre in Singapore, the Glazunov Hall in St. Petersburg, and the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona.
Tickets are priced at Php 1500 / 1200 / 800 / 500 / 400, with discounts available to students, senior citizens, and groups. For inquiries, please call the CCP Box Office at 8832-3704.
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