A Journey Worth Taking - Ang Bagong Harana by Philippine Opera Company


I was lucky enough that I was able to be 'invited' by good friends from the cast of "Ang Bagong Harana" (Hello Marvin, Marian and Karla!) last Thursday, September 29 (their opening show) at Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza.

I've been promoting this production since early August, and have been hearing a lot of good stuffs about it since then. No doubt, it was pretty good!. You can check out my previous posts about Ang Bagong Harana here and here

Let me guide you through my observation.

Set Design & Lights Design
The set design by Mr. Ricardo Cruz was simple. Too simple I thought at first, but later found out that it was just right, perfect even. I was expecting a bit of more props at first, but that's just me. The lights complimented the overlapping hanging cloths (?) that was in the stage. It created a mysterious effect that can be for any setting of aplace and time. The play of lights by Mr. Joaquin Jose Andrada was perfect blend that helped set the mood on what is needed and required of each scene. The projector the creates the setting and mood of each scene also helped in making the stage to not look plain. Then when the music starts playing, you will get lost. You will not mind the stage or the lights, but will just be overwhelmed with all of these factors complimenting each other and be taken and be drifted down to memory lane.

Musical Arrangement.
I may not be a singer (not yet) / operatic singer, but I somehow know music. I may know most of the time if a piece is arranged in a way that is good or bad. I am not saying I'm an expert on it, but I do know if it is a good/great one. They had three musical arranger for this, namely Jessie Lasaten, Paulo Zarate & Von de Guzman. I don't even know where to begin in sharing the experiences and credits of these arrangers, but I tell you, after listening an watching the show, you would agree with me when I say that they are the top and most sought after music arrangers in the country.

Choreography & Costume Design.
Choreography isn't easy in a musical. Working with the singers and the dancers and mixing them and making sure that the whole thing that you are doing gels together. It requires patience and more patient. From what I saw from the dances and the movements, I wasn't able to see any flaws or anything that can make me comment about it. All I saw was smooth transitions, fluid movements, perfect timing and great executions. The one that they can "InangRaul" Mr. Raul Almodiel did a great job in choreography.

Costume. Where do i even start? Costume is the first thing that you will see in a performer. It sets the mood, it defines a character and the tone of the whole production. It requires research, a lot of research. For this production, Ms. Zenaida Gutierrez showcased the authenticity and the workmanship of the costume. I personally loved each and every costume. And as you are watching the musical, you will not help but notice the details put into each of the costumes.

Direction and Script
Do I still need a break down on the direction and playwright when I say that the mastermind in putting all the pieces together is Floy Quintos? Well? maybe just by the name of it is enough said. :)

But just to share, I do like the flow and somewhat the story of it. The transition from one time to the other. The side story of each and every song. The whole feel and tone of the whole production was excellent. Great direction, blocking, acting and script.

The Cast.
Everyone did a spectacular job. The cast moved, danced, swayed and played. They were all enjoying what they were doing and everyone's voices were just flawless. Certainly, they are the best at what they do and I will not question that. :)

Overall, this production "Ang Bagong Harana" is something that is worth watching. Worth experiencing. Definitely a journey every Filipino should take. POC (Philippine Opera Company) staged Harana last 2008 with raving review and positive feedback. The Ang Bagong Harana now showcases new and fresher version giving a new life to the immortal and classic Filipino songs.

"Ang Bagong Harana" integrates the past, present, north, south, colonial, post-colonial experiences. Mixing it up and igniting passion and inspiration. The songs we re-mixed, re-arranged and also re-edited. The creation of the Harana 'suite' is a product of thorough research, committed in preserving the indigenous Filipino music and its dances and folklore.

The show isn't about just the music, it is a reminder of our rich and great past. I quote a note from the director, "Ang Bagong Harana is more than just a love song, the show is a love letter to all the best things that a Filipino can be.".

To end, I do like the Ryan Cayabyab, Willy Cruz and George Canseco medley of Act 2. Also liked the 'Anak' cover. Overall, I loved the show, it somehow reached out to me and made me realize and remember how rich and good Filipino music is. I am sure that, that is also POC's goal for the show. To remind us of our past and present OPM. For us not to forget our heritage and music.

I am excited for the release of the "Harana" album under Sony Music and Ivory. Word is, they shall release it hopefully by the end of the year with a mix of the first Harana show and Ang Bagong harana I shall post the complete repertoire soon. The "Ang Bagong Harana" shall also be touring the country sharing the experience in Visayas and Mindanao. You can catch them then and let me know of your experience on it.

I shall be posting the Repertoire soon. You may check out more pictures below or visit this link.

CONGRATULATIONS to Philippine Opera Company and the whole production. To my friends Marvin Gayramon, Marian Santiago and Karla Gutierrez, GREAT JOB! :) proud of you guys.

This is Mix signing out!


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