One of the remarkable creations in musical theatre is the Stephen Sondheim’s Passion the 1994 Tony Award for Best Musical will be on stage beginning September (14 Gala Night) at the Carlos P Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza Makati City. This brand new production is The Philippine Opera Company 20th anniversary offering under its Artistic and Managing Director Karla Gutierrez.
The one-act romantic melodrama is under the Direction of Robbie Guevarra, as he discovers the power of love in Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s ’Passion’ adapted in 1981 Italian film Passione d’amore.
Watching Passion is a privilege, I have the hesitation to attend the Gala Night because of the perceptions that seeing Opera is completely boring and the fact that I never see an Opera before. But I would say that watching that night hooked me on this heartbreaking musicals. It changes the way I look at musical theatre particularly ‘Opera”.
Music and Lyrics Stephen Sondheim; Book by James Lapine Based on the Film Passione d’ Amore
Set in Italy in 1863, Giorgio Bachetti (Vien King), a young soldier is bidding farewell to Carla (Jasmine Fitzgerald), a married woman with a child. He is transferred and to join his new battalion in the outpost of northern Italy but unfortunately, she will not able to accompany him on his posting. However, they agree to keep in touch with a regular exchange of letters.
Giorgio has the confidence of his new commanding officer, Colonel Ricci and he is well-liked by his fellow officers Doctor Tambourri, the regimental doctor caring for a special patient. He meets Fosca, the cousin of the garrison commander, an ill woman decided to go live by herself by reading books. Giorgio lends some of his books, amongst them are books of poetry. Giorgio is somewhat a dreamer but Fosca craves intellectual stimulus nd thought frail and with an illness that manifests itself in hysterical convulsions she clings to Giorgio.
In letters, Clara warns Giorgio to keep distant but Fosca is already dependent upon Giorgio. At dinner, one evening she surreptitiously gives him a letter. Giorgio, realizing the deep involvement Fosca has with him asks for leave, which is reluctantly granted. Just he is about to depart on leave. Fosca asks him to write a letter to her.
When Fosca finds out that Clara is already married she becomes even more of a recluse shunning any contact with anyone except the doctor. The doctor believes that Fosca’s condition will only improve if, and when, Giorgio visits with her again. When he does, Fosca dictates a letter that turns to be a love letter from her to him.
Colonel Ricci tells Giorgio about Fosca’s marriage to a worthless count. It was a result of his profligate ways that mad her ill and left her penniless Giorgio goes walking and Fosca follows him. There is a rainstorm and this affects Fosca so much that she faints and has to be carried back to camp by Giorgio. He too falls ill and is granted sick leave to recuperate in Milan.
Fosca follows him to the train, which will take him away from her. He begs her to give him up and return to the camp where she can receive medical attention. Meanwhile, Clara has chosen to stay with her husband and bring up her family — the affair with Giorgio is over.
Back at the camp, a transfer notice organized by the doctor arrives for Giorgio. This devastates Fosca who once again repairs to her room in much distress. The colonel discovers the love-letter, written by Giorgio although dictated by Fosca, and challenges Giorgio to a duel. That night Giorgio visits Fosca’s room and acknowledges his love for her, which they consummate.
Next morning Giorgio is inured in the duel with the colonel. Months later a letter from the doctor informs Giorgio of Fosca’s death just three days after the duel – which she knew nothing about.
A small box of Fosca’s possessions is delivered to Giorgio in hospital. At last, he is alone.
Vien King brilliantly performs as he establishes his character from beginning to end as Giorgio Bachetti. Jasmine Fitzgerald as Clara her voice is strikingly beautiful in the opening song “Happiness” with Giorgio in bed. She is perfectly elegant in all the costume. Sheila Valderrama as Fosca she is simply captivating. Her interpretation of being an obsessive Fosca causing me an intense sorrow. ”Loving you is not a choice, It’s who I am” is a heartwarming lyric sung in a full orchestra. The Supporting characters include Lorenz Martinez-Doctor Tambourri, Raul Montesa -Colonel Ricci, Noel Rayos-Lieutenant Toraso.
Jonel Mojica (Major Rizzolli), Lorenzo Mendoza (Pvt. Augentio), Jos Jalbuena (Ludovic), Joshua Rex Cheng (Lt. Barri), Timothy Racho (Sgt. Lombardi), Vyen Villanueva (Fosca’s Father), Jasmin Salvo (Fosca’s Mother), and Lorraine Lisen (Mistress).
The Artistic Team:
Composed of Karla Gutierrez (Artistic Director – Philippine Opera Company), Robbie Guevarra (Director), Daniel Bartolome (Musical Director), Zenaida T. Gutierrez (Costume Designer) Venger Marquez (Vocal Coach) Jason Paul Tecson (Set Designer), Shakira Villa Symes (Lighting Designer) Myrene Santos (Hair and Make-Up designer), Benjor Catindig (Graphic Designer) and Jojit Lorenzo (Photographer)
For tickets call Philippine Opera Company at 0917 645 29 46 or TicketWorld at 891 9999.
Schedule of performances are as follows;
Sept 14 (Gala Night) — 8 pm
Sept 15, 21, 22, 28 and 29 — 3 pm
Sept 20, 21, 27 and 28 — 8 pm
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