BACOLODNONS can look forward to an unforgettable night of music as the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra (PPO) serenades them live in a concert billed as PPO sa MASSKARA on October 18, 2023 in Bacolod City in Negros Occidental. Bacolod is known for its MassKara Festival held during the third week of October and for bearing the nickname “The City of Smiles” as well as famous for its local delicacies Piaya (muscovado-filled unleavened flatbread), Cansi (bone-in beef shank soup), and Chicken Inasal (chargrilled or roasted chicken).
People from all walks of life can check out the Bacolod concert, which is free and open to the public, and presented by the Cultural Center of the Philippines in cooperation with the Local Government of Bacolod through the Office of Mayor Alfredo Abelardo “Albee” Benitez and Bacolod Yuhum Foundation Inc.
For lovers of light classics, Original Pilipino Music, and movie themes, audiences can catch the PPO, led by Maestro Herminigildo Ranera perform familiar tunes like Gioacchino Rossini’s William Tell Overture, Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker Suite, Selections from Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music, an arrangement of Si Felimon Si Felimon by National Artist Ryan Cayabyab, Best of Metropop, Voltes V, and OPM Non-Stop Disco, Leroy Anderson’s Christmas Festival, and other works.
The Nightingales, who are the guest performers in the Bacolod concert, are likewise former members of The Philippine Madrigal Singers, the country’s premier choir and internationally acclaimed ensemble. Their impressive and powerful vocals feature two of the most powerful and formidable classical singers in the Philippines today. They bring the magic of opera into the fore with a rare blend of musicality and perform a wide-range repertoire consisting of opera arias, Broadway classics, and even popular standards, all in a unique style of singing, bel canto (a style of operatic singing that originated in Italy) or the beautiful voice.
PPO sa MASSKARA concert is part of the CCP’s outreach programs, with the mission to promote and preserve the best of Filipino arts and culture by embodying the values of katotohanan (truth), kagandahan (beauty) and kabutihan (goodness).
The CCP outreach program, under the CCP Office of the President, focuses on expanding the Center’s reach to the regions by showcasing the CCP brand of productions and shows in the country, while nurturing the next generation of artists and cultural workers, engaging the publics to address art education and appreciation, and creating critical conversations and cultural exchanges among stakeholders to usher in national development, especially among the youths.
Established in 1973 as an accompaniment for the performing artists at the CCP Theater, the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra has become the country’s leading orchestra and is widely regarded as one of the best in the country. It has performed with world’s renowned conductors including Mendi Rodan, Piero Gamba, Enrique Batis, Sebastian Bereau, and Nicholas Koch, as well as performed with the best foreign and Filipino artists such as Van Cliburn, Renata Tebaldi, Judith Engel, Anthony Camden, David Benoit, Cecile Licad, Raul Sunico, and Lea Salonga.
The PPO toured Europe in 2001 and participated in the Asia Orchestra Week in September 2002 held at the Tokyo Opera City Hall upon the invitation of the Association of Japanese Symphony Orchestras. It performed at Bangkok’s National Theater in September 2004 upon the invitation of Her Royal Highness Princess Galyani Vandhana of Thailand. In June 2016, PPO made history when it became the first Filipino orchestra to perform at the world-renowned Carnegie Hall in New York City.
The Bacolod Masskara Festival, also known as the “Festival of Smiles,” is held yearly in the picturesque city of Bacolod, and is one of the most popular festivals in the Philippines known for its colorful masks and festive atmosphere. Founded in the 1980s during a period of economic hardship, while embracing its roots as a celebration of hope and positivity, the festival is a symbol of the people of Bacolod’s resilience and their ability to overcome adversity. It is a reminder that even in the face of challenges, there is always something to smile about.
The PPO brings its brand of music through a live concert on October 18 at 7:00pm, at SM City Bacolod Atrium.
The PPO, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, will stage its other outreach concerts at Cavite City on November 24, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority on November 26, Nueva Ecija on December 9, and Barasoain Church on December 18 as well.
Visit the CCP website (culturalcenter.gov.ph) or follow the official social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok for the latest updates.