MANILA -- Manila Philharmonic Orchestra’s (MPO) founder and musical director Maestro Rodel Colmenar promised a night of musical nostalgia at the press conference of MPO’s 20th anniversary concert recently. And last September 1, at the full-packed Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo of the Cultural Center of the Philippines, MPO delivered as promised.
The concert was MPO’s ode to its colorful history and excellence was written all over it.
Classical music dominated the full-packed venue in melodic accompaniments of violins, cellos, trumpets, piano for the first part. The concert, entitled "MPO Opus 20: Trailblazing Music Excellence," showcased classical compositions “Symphony No. 5,” “Egmont Overture” by Ludwig Van Beethoven and “Rhapsody In Blue” by George Gershwin, the latter featuring the show’s very first guest performer, piano virtuouso Dr. Raul Sunico.
When the second half of the program rolled in, the 100-member MPO went from classical music to pop and rock classics. The segment opened with a clever mash-up of Richard Strauss’s “Also Sprach Zarathustra” and The Knack’s “My Sharona,” reminiscent of MPO’s ground-breaking “Guess Philharmonic In Jeans” concerts. The screens showed snippets of the seven-year milestone in MPO’s musical journey, best remembered for starting a “revolution” of sorts in bringing classical music to the masses.
When Colmenar introduced the orchestra’s medley of iconic band Eraserheads’ greatest hits “Alapaap,” “Ang Huling El Bimbo,” and “Magasin,” everyone let out an excited shriek, especially after lead vocalist Ely Buendia was acknowledged to be among the audience that night.