by Nickie Wang
The year 2010 was a great year for the Cultural Center of the Philippines amid curtailed budget. Its resident companies were still consistent in the quality of their performances. For this year, at the annual press appreciation lunch held on Jan. 19, key people behind the institution were delighted to announce additional activities that center in promoting and preserving Filipino arts and culture.
In an interview with the Standard Today, Dr. Raul Sunico, CPP’s newly-elected president, said that the previous year was still a fruitful year despite insufficient revenue to cover all its major outgoings. The institution needs P400 million annually to operate and this is one of the reasons why the CCP is maximizing the use of its land by leasing it out for commercial use.
“2010 was actually the year after our 40th anniversary so in a way it’s a little let down in terms of activities and performances. Our budget was curtailed so we had to limit the number of activities,” Sunico revealed.
Although he declined to provide the figures that the CCP earned for the previous year, as the head of country’s center for culture and arts, Sunico is optimistic that CCP would see the day that it will have the flexibility to fund all its activities and that it will no longer depend on government subsidy.
“I would like to pursue the artistic and physical development of the Cultural Center to make it a self-sustaining eco-friendly community that will be a welcome haven for those who want to adopt the arts as a way of life,” he enthused.
According to Sunico, CCP’s lineup of artistic events kicks off with the International Guitar Festival and Competition. Slated on Jan. 27 to 31, the event features guitar workshops, master classes and concerts of outstanding local and foreign guitarists, guitar ensembles, orchestra and display of world class guitars.
Presented in cooperation with The Guitar Friends, the First Philippine International Guitar Competition will also be held at the Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (Little Theater), Little Theater Lobby and the Museo ng Kalinangang Pilipino.
The festival of the six-stringed instrument will be followed by the annual Pasinaya or the CCP Open House Festival that sees street dance spectacle featuring the grand champion of the Sinulog Festival, excerpts of CCP theater, music and dance shows, and a grand finale of a thousand voices singing the choral version of Jose Rizal’s “Mi Ultimo Adios” accompanied by the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra and the UST Symphony Orchestra. The whole day event will be held on Feb. 6, Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
“It’s the CCP’s original production and we call it the see-all-you-can, pay-what-you-can festival. It features visual arts exhibits, activities for children and families, film screenings and arts and crafts fair,” Sunico elaborated.
Apart from the multi-arts Pasinaya Festival, for February alone, five events are set to make different CPP venues full of activity starting with Monodrama Manila, a festival of monologues and one person shows (Feb. 8 to 18 at the Little Theater and at the Experimental Theater) and a performance by Chinese violinist Tianwa Yang with the Philharmonic Orchestra (Feb. 11).
Capping off the Ballet Philippines’ 41st season is the performance of The Heroes’ Journey, a classical ballet retelling the story of Don Quixote. It will run for from Feb. 17 to 20 at the CCP Main Theater. The Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Olivier Ochanine will perform Leon Minkus’ music live on its evening shows.
Other events scheduled for the month are: a classical and contemporary repertoire by the Philippine Madrigal Singers (Feb. 12 to 13 at the Main Theater); Double A: A Duo Piano Concert featuring Berlin-based concert pianist and recording artist Abelardo Galang II and award-winning pianist and New York banking professional Jose Artemio Panganiban III (Feb. 16 at the Little Theater); and hilarious musical Zsazsa Zaturnah Ze Muzikal starring Eula Valdez (Feb. 18 to 20, Feb. 25 to 27, March 4 to 6 and March 11 to 13 at the Little Theater).
On March 18, the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra, headed by Maestro Olivier Ochanine, will stage its main program performing Giuseppe Verdi’s monumental work Requim. While on April 15, the PPO 28th season 2010-2011 finale features the 2010 Isidor Bajic International Piano Competition grand prize winner Thai pianist Poom Prommachart performing Rachmaninoff Concerto No. 3.
Artists, cultural workers, environmentalists join hands with millions all over the world to celebrate Earth Day on April 17, Sunday at the CCP Complex.
In June, the 150th birth anniversary of Dr. Jose Rizal will be celebrated in a production presented by CCP and the National Historical Commission of the Philippines. Likewise, the Virgin Labfest, a festival of new plays (untried, untested, unpublished, unstaged) by emerging and well-known playwrights, directors and actors will also be shown at the Tanghalang Huseng Batute (Experimental Theater) from June 28 to July 10.
From July 15 to 24, the finalists to the 7th Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival and Competition will be shown in various CCP theaters and venues. Top prizes are at stake for films under the New Breed Full-Length Feature category, the Short Feature Competition category and the Directors’ Showcase.
For jazz enthusiasts, a Jazz Festival will be held from Aug. 23 to 26 at the CCP with leading local ensembles plus invited musicians from abroad.
“Right now the details are not yet out because we are still finalizing everything. From time to time our friends from the British and US embassies ask us if we could feature some of their ensembles that are mostly jazz bands. We are also trying to include Germany and Italy to add international flavor in this festival,” stated Sunico.
For inquiries and tickets for all mentioned events, call the CCP Marketing Department (832-1125 loc. 1806), the CCP Box Office (832-3704) or Ticketworld (891-9999) or visit the CCP website: http://www.culturalcenter.gov.ph.