View from the Wing
CAMILLE LOPEZ MOLINA, NAJIB ISMAIL AT AYALA MUSEUM SEPTEMBER 15
by Pablo A. Tariman
Some of the soprano’s hectic weeks are like scenes from the Meryl Streep starrer, “Florence Foster Jenkins” which enjoyed a hilarious run in Metro Manila.
One day, she is coaching students, another day she drives to Baguio City with her Viva Voce ensemble to mount a localized version of La Boheme, another day she is watching concert with her husband, tenor Pablo Molina and another day, she is the compleat mother doting over her fast growing children. She just came from an opera club convention in Jakarta and quickly accommodated an interview just a few days before her Ayala Museum recital with pianist Najib Ismail.
Of the many hats she wears, she explains to the Inquirer: “They’re all full-time jobs, and I’m committed to all of them. There really is no compromise, because compromise just makes everything so boring. I sing, I teach, my kids love music and my husband teaches with me. Our students come to our house and are part of the family. When I’m working, I’m all business, but at the same time, I make the effort to personally connect with everybody because again, that makes all I do worth the effort. So my kids know when I mean business, my students know that I’m here for them. And through all that, I have to sing because that’s what I do.”
There is a big difference singing now and way back when she was younger, and in her own words, there was a quest to prove what I can do. “Now, I just do what I do,” she says.
For another, she has stopped analyzing her voice but always conscious of what it can do and can’t. “I think it’s more of my attitude towards my voice that has evolved. But of course, physically my vocal folds (as well as the rest of me) has matured. Mostly I think I’m done wrestling what sound I can from my throat. Now my voice and I are real friends and we work in tandem.”
In another setting, she is full-time mother to Beatriz,12; Sofia,10 and Java, 2.
Yes, motherhood had somehow complimented her life as an artist. “Emotions have become more varied, clearer and layered. Nothing is black and white. Everything has meaning, the important things are easier to prioritize, and the unimportant can more easily be set aside.”
She looks forward to performing with pianist Najib Ismail with whom she has a long history of fruitful collaborations. “Well, our birthdays are one day apart. And we’ve been performing together for more than 20 years. We know each other really well, how we work, what we love doing, how we get into the music. It’s really very easy, and we often joke after one rehearsal ‘O concert na bukas!’ because usually even on the first reading, magkadikit na kami. E di tapos na ang trabaho!”
She can’t stop gushing about Meryl Streep who portrayed a diva wannabe in the film, “Florence Foster Jenkins. She loved the film and was moved to tears by the portrayal of La Streep. “I loved the film. I think all of my musician and singer friends shed a tear, or in my case, a bucket. When the intro of the song ‘When I Have Sung My Songs To You’ started, I thought I felt my throat close. You know that final scene in Traviata when Violetta suddenly feels as if all pain has left her and she is well and the music starts to rise and swell and it almost seems as if she’s really going to live – that’s what came to my head. That final scene in the film where Florence is wearing her angel wings and she’s finally singing beautifully to a cheering audience – That was really operatic.”
The finale song in “Florence Jenkins” she will actually sing for the first time in her September 17 recital. “I always assign this song to students because it’s beautiful in its directness and simplicity.”
(Camille Lopez Molina’s September 17 – 7 pm — Ayala Museum concert with Najib Ismail called “Love in Chiaroscuro” will feature songs like Richard Wagner’s heartwarming portrayal of love in Wessendonk Song, Ernst Charles’ “When I Have Sung My Songs to You”; Ponce’s “Estrellita”, Mascagni’s “Son pochi fiori,” among others. For tickets, call Ticketworld at 891-9999 or MCO foundation at 997-9483, 782-7164 or cel. no. 0920-9540053 and 0918-347-3027. The 2016 MCO Foundation series is made possible through partnership with Ayala Museum, Lyric Piano and DZFE.FM 98.7 The Master’s Touch.)