I’ve become quite the event-goer (just kidding), and I attended another concert earlier this month — to be more specific, on the first of September exactly: MPO OPUS 20: Trailblazing Music Excellence, the Manila Philharmonic Orchestra’s 20th anniversary concert. Although I have listened to an orchestra live before (earlier this year, the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra had a concert at my university campus for free! — an opportunity I took happily!), it was an open area event, so watching an orchestra perform in a closed space this time quickly became my next task on my to-do list.
First of all, before I say anything else, I was surprised that it was a “sosyal” (posh) event. It didn’t occur to me, even though I should have realized that immediately, because, it is a classical music event. 🤣 The moment I stepped into the venue, I was so surprised to see so many tall — I swear everyone was tall! — people in formal and semi-formal clothes. Everyone seemed to have had their family with them, and they were obviously people of wealth (just from the way they talked and interacted with everyone else, and the aura they gave off, and of course, the clothes they wore). I felt so out-of-place, but also just amused at the whole situation.
Now back to the more relevant information: it was a very entertaining event, and very much worth the money I paid. The orchestra, under the baton of Maestro Rodel Colmenar, opened with Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5. As expected, they played a lot of classical music, but as a twist, they also showcased a variety of other genres. They had rock, pop, broadway, and jazz numbers. My favorites were the rock and jazz numbers! 🎷 They also played OPM, mainly George Canseco and Ely Buendia (from Eraserheads, and he was there, too!) compositions. There were four guest performers: Raul Sunico, the girls from Annie (who were accompanied by the MPO when the musical was showing at the Resorts World Manila a few years ago), the UST Singers, and the reason why I came to the event at all, Ms. Lani Misalucha. The concert had two acts. Act I centered around the orchestra itself — orchestra numbers and piano concertos with Mr. Raul Sunico. Act II showcased the rest of the guest performers, who were singers. Everyone was great, but without bias, the highlight of the night was undoubtedly Ms. Lani!
She was the last to perform. She sang six numbers in total: Orange-Colored Sky, Nella Fantasia, Bukas Na Lang Kita Mamahalin, Timeless, a Queen medley with the UST Singers, and lastly, Light of a Million Mornings. My favorites: I loved Nella Fantasia. I believe it was the first time Ms. Lani ever performed that song in a concert, and I felt lucky to be one of the few to have heard it first. I also loved the Queen medley for a different reason; it was the first time I’ve ever heard Ms. Lani sing soul live. Of course, I have heard her sing soul music on video many times in the past (her Somewhere Over the Rainbow and Swing Low Sweet Chariot renditions are at the top of my absolute favorites), but never live. When she sang her own rendition of Somebody to Love, my ears (and heart) just soared. She made that song my new favorite. I don’t know how to describe that kind of singing specifically, really (I believe it’s also called gospel music?), but I really love it when she sings like that! I noticed that she doesn’t really sing those kinds of songs very much when she’s performing for the Filipino public (she’s more known for her pop songs), which is a shame, because she sounds so damn good, her voice is so perfectly suited for it, and the way she tackles the music is just so satisfying to listen to. Lastly, a childhood favorite, Light of a Million Mornings: her rendition of that song was so heavenly — appropriate to the theme — and beautiful. She was amazing that night, and the crowd loved her so much. As always, her command of the stage, and the strength and versatility of her voice were present with her.
Unfortunately, since it was a theater, we weren’t allowed to record anything inside, so I wasn’t really able to take any recordings. (I also have done my research, and so far, other people were only able to take crappy recordings, too. It doesn’t matter, really, as long as they had the audio captured, which they did for some numbers. Yay!)
After the concert, I was so glad that I didn’t leave immediately. I hung around for a bit. The concert was held at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, and it was my first time to be there, and I loved the place. (On the way there, I was able to take a good look at Star City as well.) There were a lot of people, though, so that was another reason why I didn’t go home immediately, too. And the main reason why: a few minutes later, there came a commotion near one of the stairs, and I was pleasantly surprised to find Ms. Lani herself out and about ready to have a meet-and-greet! Immediately, she was surrounded, and everyone was requesting to take photos with her. Long story short, it was such a long line, but I lined up to take a snap with her, too! I even managed to say a few words to her about her performance that night. I was super ecstatic! I’m very happy that I went. (I was also able to spot a few well-known Lani Misalucha fans from the crowd as well. Haha!)
I had some trouble getting a ride home, but nothing that wasn’t solved. 🙂 I will just say that it was one of the rare times when I actually had a conversation with my taxi driver! It also turned out that my landlady’s family actually went to a different concert around the same area. We arrived at the boarding house at the same time.
One of my personal goals for this year was to attend another Lani Misalucha concert. I did it! I wonder if I will have another chance later this year?