By By Pablo A. Tariman
A FILIPINO OPERA STAR IS BORN!
posted 8-Oct-2018  ·  
266 views  ·   0 comments  ·  
After the recital, a tidal wave of screaming fans asking for autograph of tenor Espiritu.

Tenor Arthur Espiritu was in perfect form Wednesday night in his debut recital at CCP and got not just one but two screaming standing ovations from his predominantly millennial audience.

Marvelously assisted by pianist Mariel Ilusorio, Espiritu set the special tone of his recital with Liszt’s Tre Sonetti de Petrarca rendered with such elan and impetus you have to look twice to convince yourself the interpretation came from a Filipino singer.

The voice was powerful but the tenor got more approval from the way he used his bel canto gifts to extract beautiful nuances from every phrase.

From the French repertoire (Faure’s Apres un reve) and that heart-rending aria from Werther, (Pourquoi me reveiller) to the Russian Eugene Onegin aria, the tenor gave it all he had and emerged totally victorious with his predominantly young audiences.

He was even more triumphant in the German art songs (Standchen, Zueignung and Morgen by Strauss) and  boy, the tenor wasn’t just singing but acting as well.

By the time he’s done with Salut,demuere chaste et pure from Faust by Gounod, the audience was in pandemonium.

One could swear no one could get close to his robust and passionate interpretation of three Pilipino songs (Gerry de Leon’s May Isang Kundiman and Leopoldo Silos’  Dahil Sa Isang Bulaklak and Langit sa Lupa).

The diction was crystal clear, the voice round and full and boy, those high notes just come without effort.

Obliging with two encore numbers (Cardillo’s Core ‘ngrato) and De Curtis’ Non ti scordar de mi), Espiritu and pianist Ilusorio got two more rounds of ovations with audience screaming for more.

As it were, the recital gave clear signal to Manila’s opera scene that in the present Philippine setting hounded by typhoons and high prices, he is the opera star to reckon with.

Suddenly, there emerged someone --like Cecile Licad and Lea Salonga -- who can stand tall and proud with the very best in the world.


Tenor Arthur Espiritu with pianist Mariel Ilusorio. A totally triumphant night for Filipino artists.
Photo By Kiko Cabuena
Arthur Espiritu and Mariel Ilusorio with CCP head Nick Lizaso and wife Belen Lizaso. The recital of the decade at the CCP.
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