Friday, June 8, 2012

# Ang Bagong Harana # Harana

A Different Twist on Harana

During the time of our grandparents or maybe even great grandparents, "Harana" (Serenade) is used as the main form of courtship here in the Philippines much the same way as writing or reading poems to express love during Shakespeare's time. A man sing songs outside the house of the woman he adores hoping that she opens the window to take a peek at him or watch him singing. When the man is handsome, no matter how bad he sounds, the woman smiles and patiently listens. At present, I think no matter how handsome or ugly a man is, he won't sing outside the house or people will think that he's crazy. "Harana" is actually a very sweet gesture that will make any woman flattered and touched but since it's too old fashioned, men today dismiss doing it.

Ambassador Alfonso T. Yuchengco giving the Opening Remarks. Maybe "Harana" still existed during his youth.

When I heard about Philippine Opera Company's "Ang Bagong Harana," I was quite excited to watch it. I wasn't able to watch it last year so I'm really happy that I got a second chance that made me determined to watch it this time!

I don't need a man to go outside my house and sing for me! I can just go watch "Ang Bagong Harana" to get to experience "harana" in essence. As expected, there were a lot of love songs in the repertoire however, the twist is that it's infused with everything Filipino which we have learned in schools but have not really seen in action. The show introduced the start of music from the time when I was still a child to the familiar modern times. Even the dances evolved from the Filipino cultural folk dances to a quite modern dance. The whole show is not only a tribute to the known and anonymous Filipino songwriters and singers but it's a tribute to our country and the richness of our culture that we often take for granted.

A rewind to take us back to how our ancestors might look like. Photo by Johan Sy of Studiyo.
This looks quite familiar. Remember "Linggo ng Wika" in school? Photo by Johan Sy of Studiyo.

I remember the story of this hero although I can't remember who he is but he said that before he loves a woman romantically, he loves the country first because only a man who truly loves his own country can love a woman faithfully forever. This show reminded me this story and made me feel how much I love my country no matter how chaotic it may seem everyday because I'm supporting a form of art which money cannot buy. It's something from the heart to appreciate and a reminder of who I really am.

Jack Salud with Karla Gutierrez
Marvin Gayramon in "Kalesa"
"Ang Bagong Harana: A Musical Journey Every Filipino Should Take" is now showing at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza, Makati. The remaining shows are on June 9 (3:30pm & 8pm) and June 10 (3:30pm). Catch it on its very limited run this weekend and get ready for the musical adventure of what makes a Filipino!

The dresses looks very lovely and enchanting. Photo by Johan Sy of Studiyo.
I think the Filipino version of fairy godmother should wear dress like these! Photo by Johan Sy of Studiyo.

The show is directed by Floy Quintos starring Jack Salud, Karla Gutierrez (also the Artistic Director of Philippine Opera Company), Nazer Salcedo, Charlene Magalit, Janine Santos, Lawrence Jatayna, Al Gatmaitan, Aizel Prietos, Marian Santiago, Marvin Gayramon, Anton Gutierrez Carlo and the Ramon Obusan Folkoric Group (who is celebrating 39 years of preserving Filipino traditions).

The casts from Ramon Obusan Folkoric Group in Harana are Christine Obusan Singson, Jememma So, Meryl Zafra, Kimberly Penones, Kenneth Torres, Jason Valdez, Rannie Geronimo, Joey Rico, Jose Oga, Mark Roy Magaling, Michael Obusan Medina and Raul Nepomuceno, Jr.

Other staff includes Musical Arranger Paulo Zarate, Musical Arranger Von de Guzman, Musical Arranger Jessie Lasaten, Choreographer Raul Nepomuceno, Costume Designer Zenaida Gutierrez (Karla's mom), Set Designer Eric Cruz and Technical & Lighting Director Jay Aranda.

A surprise song number "Gaano Ko Ikaw Kamahal" by Levi Celerio.

For tickets, call Philippine Opera Company at 881.7168, 0917.5272880 or Ticketworld 891.9999.

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