Tuesday, May 13, 2008



A Filipino Opera

music by Reynaldo T. Paguio

libretto by Fides Cuyugan Asensio

MAYO BISPERAS NG LIWANAG was inspired by "May Day Eve," a short story written by Nick Joaquin, the Philippine National Artist for Literature. `

Mayo ... Bisperas Ng Liwanag' is also an opera of love and hate, sorcery and patriotism. Its main character, Agueda, begins as a rich spoiled girl, well-educated in European literature on revolutions and the Age of Enlightenment.

At a party, she hears the predictions by Anastacia, a fortune teller, that the country will have unrelenting oppression by foreign rulers. Only Agueda responds to Ansastacia's exhortations to give aid to a country in deep distress, by asking her how she might help the country find the light.

They are interrupted, however, the party mood returns and Agueda asks Ansastacia instead who will be her future spouse. Ansastacia promises to tell Agueda this with the May Day mirror ritual.

After being warned by Anastacia that, instead of seeing her future husband reflected in the mirror, she might see the devil, Agueda, nevertheless, decides to participate in the May Day mirror ritual.

A man named Badong has stealthily crept up behind her. When she opens her eyes, she sees him peering over her shoulder. Theirs is to be a stormy relationship.

Agueda and Badong marry, but they cannot stop the prophecy of Anastacia. Agueda's romantic love for Badong yields to her love for the country, and she joins the peasant revolt in the countryside.

Tragically, Agueda meets death, but not before seeing the light that eluded her in life, the light that dispels some of the darkness in the lives of the oppressed.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Clarissa Ocampo, mezzo soprano

Clarissa holds a bachelor of music degree in Voice Performance (cum laude) from the University of Santo Tomas Conservatory of Music in Manila, and a master of music degree from The Juilliard School in New York.

She has studied with noted Opera singers and vocal pedagogues: Maestra Irma Ponce-Enrile Potenciano, Evelyn Mandac, Emmanuel Gregorio, Daniel Ferro, Paul Sperry, Elizabeth Mannion, Mark Goodrich, and Susan Ormont.Clarissa is very excited to perform once again for the Filipino audience after many, many years. To this end, she closed the 2004-2005 Concert Series of the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra in the Philippine Premiere of Sir Michael Tippett’s A Child of Our Time under the baton of Maestro Eugene Castillo.

Clarissa has had the pleasure of touring the United States and Canada, once performing Gian Carlo Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors, and the other as part of the Broadway National Touring Company of The King & I, with Haley Mills, Faith Prince, Marie Osmond, & Maureen McGovern. She appeared in the role of Pitti-Sing in The Mikado at Opera North in New Hampshire. Other roles performed include, Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia and Romeo in I Capuletti ed I Montecchi.

She received a grant to attend the University of California Santa Barbara – Vocal Institute, where she performed in a number of song recitals, and a master class conducted by Metropolitan Opera star, Mignon Dunn. She received a Fellowship grant to attend the Aspen Music Festival in Colorado, and performed in a variety of public concerts, one of which was a world premier of British Composer Michael Torke’s Better a Dish of Herbs. Other performances include The Brilliance of Brahms, an all Brahms concert with renowned soprano Reneé Flemming as the featured artist.

Clarissa has appeared in both live and media broadcasts. She is the recipient of major awards such as the University of Santo Thomas Scholarship Grant, the Young Artist Foundation Scholarship Award, and the Anna Case McKay Scholarship Grant from the Juilliard School. She is also a two-time winner of the National Music Competition for Young Artists, and a winner of the New York Vocal Artists Competition held at Carnegie Hall.

Ramon Acoymo, tenor

Ramon Acoymo has been described by the press on three continents as "mesmerizing" in New York, "successful" in Rottenburg and "remarkable" in Manila.

A first-prize winner of the US National Association of Teachers of Singing Competition, he has released three compact discs in America. His Lincoln Center recital debut was hailed a "triumph" by Headline Philippines, New York; and no less than the New York Times accorded him good notices for his theater debut as the lead in Flower Drum Song.

Among his opera portrayals have been "Canio" in Leoncavallo's Pagliacci, "Tamino" and "Monostatos" in Mozart's Die Zauberflote and the title roles in Blake's The Bear with the Hongkong Chamber Orchestra Society, "Oedipus" in Stravinsky's Oedipus Rex and "Pagong" in Philippine National Artist Lucrecia Kasilag's Ang Pagong at ang Matsing, a role which he created.

Janet Sabas Aracama, mezzo soprano

Prof. Janet Sabas Aracama studied at the St. Theresa's College in Quezon City for her elementary and secondary education. She has earned her Bachelor's and Master's degree in Music at the University of the Philippines College of Music as a Choral Conducting major and minor in Voice and Ethnomusicology.

Some of her mentors include, Dean Rey T. Paguio in conducting, Josie Bailen, Fides Asensio and Elmo Makil in Voice. She has started teaching as a lecturer and served the University of the Philippines System through the Conducting and Voice department since 1986. She is Associate Professor III, full time and Chairman of the Conducting Department.

Her first experience on stage was as a dancer of Radaic's Dance Theatre Philippines, and at a young age of 15 was selected to represent the Philippines in the 1975 Aberdeen Youth Festival for the Performing Arts in Aberdeen, Scotland.

She has brought honor to the Conducting Department of the College of Music through her leadership by training College of Music Chorus Classes into a major performing group now sought after by many local and international conductors to perform large works as Beethoven's 9th Symphony, Handel's "Messiah", Orff's "Carmina Burana", Rossini's "Stabat Mater", Stravinsky's "Les Noces" and other major choral works produced by the National Commission in Culture the Arts in cooperation with the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

She was an alto soloist and assistant conductor, one-time choreographer of the UP Concert Chorus from 1976 - 1986, a veteran of six (6) world tours of which they won First, and Third Prizes in international competitions in Spittal, Austria; Polheim, Germany; The Hague, Netherlands, Mainhausen, Germany; Arezzo, Italy; Llangollen, Wales; and Cantonigros, Spain.
As a Vocal Soloist, she has been a regular guest of the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra and the Las Piñas Bamboo Festival for their concert seasons.

In 1982, she won as "Best Alto Soloist" in the Manila Symphony Society sponsored vocal competition performing Beethoven's Ninth Symphony," Ode To Joy". She is also a versatile singer, performing with ease, a varied repertoire of opera, art songs to broadway, gospel, soul and jazz and Original Pilipino Music (O.P.M.).

Her debut in opera stage was opera chorus in "Tosca" at the Cultural Center of the Philippines with no less than Placido Domingo, Eva Marton and Justino Diaz as leads with the famous San Francisco Opera Chorus and Orchestra conducted by Kurt Adler.

As Vocal Instructor, sought after by the local and foreign music theatre scene as a performer and vocal coach to many famous theatre and pop artists. She has played the roles of Suzuki in Puccini's Madame Butterfly, Katisha in Gilbert Sullivan's Mikado, Bloody Mary in Rogers and Hammerstein's South Pacific and many more.

She has coached and trained many musicals for Repertory Philippines, New Voice Company and Chase's International's tribute to Boublil and Schonberg (composers of Miss Saigon and Les Miserables) concert at the CCP featuring the cast performers of Miss Saigon in London, Germany and Australia.

She was also a Christian Worker serving at the Greenhills Christian Fellowship Worship and Music Ministry as Conductor of the Chancel Choir and Harvest Evangelistic Music Team. She also directs the Learning Treets Children's Choir of the Learning Tree Grade School.

In November 26,1999, she was elected and appointed by the University to be conductor of the famous University of the Philippines Concert Chorus, filling the shoes of the late Dean Rey T. Paguio.

Since then led the UP Concert Chorus with great determination, authority, leadership and with high choral musicianship, bringing honor and pride to the university and our country in their Millennium International Tour 2000 to the USA and Europe and the 15th International Tour "Hinabing Himig", 2003 winning 3 golds at the Mainhausen Choral Competition, Germany and Premio Publicco in Arezzo, Italy.

Andion Fernandez, soprano

Andiòn Fernàndez, the accomplished Spanish-Philippine soprano, was born in Manila.

A soloist of the Deutsche Oper Berlin since 2001, she graduated with honors from the Hochschule der Künste, Berlin, and has studied voice with Karan Armstrong and Ira Hartmann, and contemporary music with Aribert Reimann.

She is a prizewinner of Operalia (Placido Domingo World Opera Contest, Hamburg) and Cardiff Singer of the World. The major international opera houses she has sung in include the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Deutsche Oper am Rhein, the Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin, the Nuremberg Opera, the Gulbenkian Auditorium in Lisbon, the Festwochen Herrenhausen in Hannover, the Schloß Sanssouci in Potsdam, the Kallang Theatre and Victoria Theatre in Singapore, the Festspielhaus in Baden Baden, and the Gran Teatre Liceu in Barcelona.

Among her major roles are Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro), Niklausse (Les contes d’Hoffmann), Hänsel (Hänsel und Gretel), Micaela (Carmen), Fox (The Cunning Little Vixen), and Pamina (Die Zauberflöte). She has worked with many distinguished conductors, including Alberto Zedda, Christian Thielemann, Marcello Viotti, Kent Nagano, Christopher Hogwood, Leopold Hager, and Mikhail Jurowski.

As Agnes in Mikhail Jurowski’s world premiere recording of Emil von Reznicek’s Ritter Blaubart, she received rave reviews. She is married to the composer Jeffrey Ching, and sang the solo part in his Symphony No. 5, "Kunstkammer" at its world premiere under Mikhail Jurowski in March 2006.

Karla Patricia Gutierrez, soprano

Karla attained her Bachelor of Music Degree, Majoring in Voice from the University of the Philippines’ College of Music, under the tutelage of Prof. Fides Cuyugan-Asensio. She pursued further studies in Opera Interpretations with the Accademia Internazionale delle Arti in Rome, Italy under the supervision of Maestra Doris Andrews.

Her Repertory Philippines’ credits include Cosette in “Les Miserables”, Hodel in “Fiddler on the Roof”, Lily in “Secret Garden”, Sophie de Palma in “Master Class”, Julie Jordan in “Carousel”, among many others. She played the role of Cinderella in Rep’s production of “Into the Woods”, later reprising the same role with Singapore Repertory Theater in Singapore. She appeared as Andrea in “Once On This Island” staged at the Hong Kong Academy for the Performing Arts.

Her operatic roles includes, Lucy in “The Telephone”, Micaela in “La Chanson de Carmen”, Hansel in “Hansel and Gretel”, and portrayed the role of Dew Fairy in “Hanzel und Gretel” with the Rome Opera Festival in Italy, under the baton of Maestro Fritz Maraffi. She was the soloist in David Glass’ World-Premiere production of “The Lost Child”.

Karla was part of the entourage of former Pres. Fidel Ramos’ Western Europe Tour, World Economic Forum in Hong Kong and Australia for the Philippine Centennial Celebration. She also performed for the Tourism Week in Taiwan, and in 2003, she was invited to sing for the United Nations in New York.

Karla was a recipient of the New Neutrogena Woman for the Arts for 2002.

She is currently the Artistic and Managing Director of the Philippine Opera Company.

Leodigario del Rosario, tenor

Leodigario Del Rosario is a winner of Cleveland Opera's Belle Morse Award for Young Artists and was engaged by Lyric Opera Cleveland as Don Ramiro LA CENERENTOLA in 1999 and Alfred DIE FLEDERMAUS in 2003.
Del Rosario's engagements last season included Don José in CARMEN with Tacoma Opera, Pinkerton in the Lyric Opera Northwest's production of MADAMA BUTTERFLY and The Duke of Mantua in the Opera Southwest production of RIGOLETTO, which he reprised with the Townsend Opera Players.
His upcoming engagements include Alfredo in Lyric Opera Northwest’s production of LA TRAVIATA this November and Rodolfo in LA BOHEME with the Philippine Opera Company in October 2008. He is soon to return to Seattle Opera mainstage as Gaston LA TRAVIATA and Ruiz IL TROVATORE.
He also sang roles with Cleveland Opera on Tour and on that company's mainstage, as Borsa RIGOLETTO in 2002 and the First Priest/Armored Man DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE in 2003.
As a Seattle Opera Young Artist in 2003, Leodigario del Rosario sang Tamino at several schools in a children's adaptation of THE MAGIC FLUTE. He also sang the role of Ferrando in the Young Artist Production of COSÌ FAN TUTTE. He made his debut with the Seattle Opera mainstage as Nathanael LES CONTES D'HOFFMANN in 2005, and went on to sing Malcolm MACBETH and the 3rd Footman/2nd Waiter in the production of DER ROSENKAVALIER. He also sang the role of Don José in the Lyric Opera Northwest's production of CARMEN in October 2005.
He has sung many other leading roles in his homeland, including Lt BF Pinkerton MADAMA BUTTERFLY, Alfredo LA TRAVIATA, the title role in LES CONTES D'HOFFMAN, Romeo ROMÉO ET JULIETTE, Rinuccio GIANNI SCHICCHI and Gerald LAKME. Concerts and recitals in which Mr. Del Rosario has participated include performances of Beethoven Symphony No. 9 (Springfield Symphony, Ohio), Don José CARMEN (Seattle Symphony Orchestra), and Verdi Requiem, Mozart Requiem and Haydn Mass in D (Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra). He has also performed in Carnegie Hall, the Cadaques Orchestra (Barcelona) and with the Cleveland Orchestra.
Among his teachers, the names George Vassos, Antonio C. Hila and Aristeo Velasco stand out. Furthermore he has worked with some notable directors around the world including Bernard Uzan, Chris Alexander, Jose Maria Condemi, Jonathan Field, David Bamberger, Bodo Igesz and Gary Race.