My friend, Honey, told me once that ThrowbackThursdays can be quite empowering, I just swallowed. Not knowing how to respond, I simply shrugged it off. “It’s like remembering what you were and what you are now. It gives you a sense of knowing; a sense of achievement. It establishes your identity and strengthens the spirit,” I remember her telling me. “It empowers you.”
Last night, a few weeks after Honey and I had a talk on ThrowbackThursdays, I finally understood what she meant. Stepping out from an auditorium to a group of cheerful crowds at the RCBC lobby, I finally grasped how remembering the past will make you understand who you really are, how it makes you whole again, and unshackle you from a new consciousness brought about by an unending routine of Facebook-Twitter-work-Facebook-Twitter-work-Facebook-Twitter-work.Last night, I stepped out of the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium with wet eyes and a silent sob. Young men and women around me, had their share of tears, as well.
The Philippine Opera Company is currently re-staging one of the most regarded Filipino Musical Revue there is. ANG BAGONG HARANA. is a musical journey highlighting original Filipino music – its history, its evolution, its legacy. It is a love letter to the Filipino and to his country. In Bagong Harana, we review our sagas, our lineages, our legacies. We review ourselves. Every note, sung by mostly a fresh group of new comers, reminded me of how beautiful our culture is, how majestic, how glorious. We have always been so proud of our talents, but what of the art that embraces them?
Ang Bagong Harana is a celebration of the music that once filled our homes, it is a timely salute to a tradition of song and dance that remind us that we are a people of an undying culture and heritage – a fact we seem to forget.
The spectacles last night brought back the songs my father sang to me before I sleep; the dances my mother swayed before us during pre-lunch weekends. It took me back to the time when songs tell us that life is merry, and remember that old familiar metaphor about cruelty and how it makes a small bird cry.
If that is not the best Throwback, I don’t what is.
For two hours, I sat glued on an orchestra seat; blinded to the tiniest note as I listened to what the Philippine Opera Company has to offer. Every tone that filled the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium was an instant throwback. It opened with a suite of Filipino Children songs – just but right to start from a child’s eye. A few minutes from the first numbers, I was a child again, singing those play songs of a forgotten youth – a youth free from Facebook-Twitter-work. It continued on to a suite on the Filipino and the fruits of his land. Prior to the end of Act 1, we saw how our history evolved from raw civilization to a complicated melting pot of cultures. Finally, the first act closed with a symphonic rendition of a well-known patriotic song, as it climaxed to a quick drama of 1896.
The second act became much more bittersweet. It showcased a more familiar repertoire of songs from Sunday FM radio; an almost uneding list of titles we learned to love, that we even invested on 5-peso Song Hits in the 70s and 80s, just so we could have bragging rights for rote.
Everything on stage was a reminder that we have a culture that we can look back to, and carry with us as we go forward. The Philippine Opera Company has once again proved that our culture is something that we can be proud about, and it is only through our conscious effort can we bring forth its glory once more.
In the midst of Western musicals and K-pops conquering our young minds today, Philippine Opera Company’s Ang Bagong Harana is a timely reminder that we must first love and cherish our own.
Watch it, watch it, watch it! The 2-hour revue will fail to bore you, this I promise. Sacrificing a few Starbucks Frappes next week will make you see how beautiful and successful our culture is. This is a Throwback you shouldn’t miss. I’m glad I didn’t.
Ang Bagong Harana features Philippine theater’s celebrated singers, Karla Gutierrez, Aizel Prietos, Cris Go, Janine Santos, KL Dizon, Lawrence Jatayna, Michael Odoemene, Nazer Salcedo, Al Gatmaitan, Jurgen Unterberg with the Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group.
Directed by Floy Quintos with music arrangements by Von de Guzman, Jessie Lasaten, Jesse Lucas and Paulo Zarate.
Ang Bagong Harana will have it’s final run on October 18 and 19 (8:00 pm) and October 20 (3:30 pm) at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium RCBC Tower, Makati. For tickets, you can call the Philippine Opera Company at 822-9609 or 0917-5272880 or TicketWorld at 891-9999.