View From The Wing – The Nelly Miricioiu Master Class Recital

by Pablo A. Tariman

After her triumphant March 6 return engagement at the Meralco Theater, soprano Nelly Miricioiu set out to conduct a three-day master class at the Ayala Museum.

Only those who passed the audition qualified for the master class.

Last night, music lovers were treated to an array of fresh young voices in a post-master class recital.

The post-master class recitalists with soprano Nelly Miricioiu. The country's most promising young singers at their best.

The post-master class recitalists with soprano Nelly Miricioiu. The country’s most promising young singers at their best.

Millicent Lao’s voice floated without effort in Mozart’s “Dove sono” (Le Nozze di Figaro) and the line was definitely Mozartian. The voice was light and encompassing and it set the tone for the evening.

The Letter Duet from the same opera came through with marked Mozartian delicacy in the hands of sopranos Marielle Tuazon and Marie Louise Alcantara. It proved that young Filipino voices are just right for Mozart and apart from hitting the right notes, their voices sparkled.

Donizetti’s “Com’e gentil” (Don Pasquale) projected the solid, if, effervescent tenor voice of Ivan Nery. There is palpable strength in that sound and it can use more vocal sculpting. But as it is, he easily drew the audience to his side with much cheering and applause.

It seemed the Round of Formidable Voices started with Bellini’s “Fuggi!” (Capuletti e I Montecchi) featuring sopranos Stephanie Aguilar and Krissan Manikan Tan as the ill-starred Romeo and Juliet.

Manikan-Tan registered very well with her solid and ringing sound with Aguilar reflecting the innocent Juliet with her pure, virginal sound that took your breath away. With subtle acting in it, the duet was at once a vocal treat and how revealing it was to know Filipino voices do justice to Bellini.

Aguilar rose to effervescent heights in “Oh! Quante volte” with a stunning voice even more magical with every phrase.

Soprano Jade Riccio with La Miricioiu: a breath-taking 'Caro nome.'

Soprano Jade Riccio with La Miricioiu: a breath-taking ‘Caro nome.’

The ravishing sound of Bellini’s ‘I Puritani” easily stunned the audience in the duet “Vienne fra queste Braccia” featuring soprano Elainne Vibal and tenor Nohmer Nival. Apart from good vocal rapport, the duet also brought out the best from the soprano and the tenor. But then, Nival showed one and all he is the young tenor to reckon with.

On the other hand, baritone Zip de Guzman projected an even baritone sound in Donizetti’s “Bella siccome un’ angelo.”

Jade Riccio (she earlier studied with Maestra Irma Potenciano for her bachelor’s degree at UST) showed remarkable improvement in Verdi’s “Caro nome” (Rigoletto) negotiating the aria’s delicate passages with more focus and color. One couldn’t help whispering ‘Brava’ in her well-nuanced ending.

There is much promise in Puccini’s “Donde lieta” (Boheme) as rendered by Iona Ven. But probably hindered by stage fright, she looked and sounded cold but the voice remained focus and fairly alluring.

One of the evening’s remarkable revelations was soprano Jamie Sampana interpreting Charpentier’s “Depuis le Jour” (Louise). It wasn’t a special sound in the beginning but negotiating the aria’s delicate passages, she triumphed and evoked a beautiful line worthy of the composer’s music.

It was an abridged version of “Ah mes mais quell jour de fete” from Doneizetti’s “La fille du Regimante” but as it were, tenor Nohmer Nival was no doubt the tenor of the evening. The voice is young and invigorating, the acting didn’t yet catch up with the voice but here is one tenor that is worthy of everyone’s support.

Thanks to Nelly Miricioiu’s master class, one caught up with the country’s most promising singers.

Soprano Stephanie Aguilar with pianist Farley Asuncion: stunning in "Oh! Quante Volte"

Soprano Stephanie Aguilar with pianist Farley Asuncion: stunning in “Oh! Quante Volte”

To some extent, Miricioiu did a lot to make the recital appealing to the audience. There were movements from the singers that looked spontaneous and apart from that, the voices soared with some degree of new-found vocal freedom.

La Miricioiu didn’t bring vocal theories; she is very much in touch with reality and she knows what applies to her didn’t apply to all but she shared what she knows – by experience. The result is a good give-and-take where both pupils and teacher benefited from the three-day master classes.

As the great Maria Callas once said of good and great teachers, “Good teachers make the best of pupil’s means; great teachers foresee pupil’s ends.”

(Soprano Nelly Miricioiu’s concert and master classes were made possible by Philippine Airlines, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation and MCO Foundation.)

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