The Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra celebrates the Yuletide Season with Handel’s Messiah at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) main theater on Dec. 16.
With a mammoth choral ensemble composed of 200 singers from various choirs, Handel’s Messiah will once more re-assert itself as the greatest classical treat ever composed for the Christmas season.
The PPO and the 200-member choir will be led by Mark Anthony Carpio, conductor and choirmaster of the Philippine Madrigal Singers.
“It is a tribute to Handel’s genius that 280 years after it was first heard in 1742 in Dublin, music lovers all over the world over the world are still in awe of this magnificent choral piece,” said CCP president Margie Moran Floirendo. “This music which has transcended time should be experienced first-hand by Filipinos as interpreted by Filipino musicians,” she added.
Floirendo noted that the idea for a grand Handel’s Messiah was first brought up by the late CCP president Baltazar Endriga some years back. “The pandemic stalled all the preparations. It is just timely that we are finally mounting this masterwork as our way of celebrating the return of live music at the CCP. It is also a fitting musical offering to thank the Messiah that we all survived the challenges brought about by the pandemic.”
The Messiah has been described as a “grand musical entertainment” during its first few performances during Handel’s time. But the composer said entertainment was not what he had in mind when he composed it. “I want listeners to feel my message and become better persons.”
Considered one of the greatest Christmas classical music ever composed, The Messiah is naturally a big challenge for conductor Mark Anthony Carpio.
The piece is nothing new to him. “In the past, I have prepared choirs for performances of Handel’s Messiah for other conductors. These choirs include the Philippine Madrigal Singers (Madz), chorus classes in the University of the Philippines (UP), church choirs and many others.”
In the past, he has conducted selected movements from the choral piece mostly the first part, the Advent and Christmas portion ending with the Hallelujah Chorus.
This is the first time Carpio is doing the complete movements of the Messiah with an orchestra lasting more than two hours with him as the only conductor.
Pointed out the conductor: “I believe the challenge in this massive work lies not only in its duration (more than two hours) but in making sure the choir and orchestra understand this magnificent and probably one of the world’s most popular choral works.”
The members of the 200-member grand chorus will come from current members and alumni of the Philippine Madrigal Singers, Sing Philippines Youth Choir, Male Ensemble Philippines, Musika Filipina, and different choirs belonging to the different choral network including the Coro Cantabile, DLSU Chorale, Lighter Side Movement, Novo Concertante Manila, Pansol Choir, Philippine Vocal Ensemble and Song Weavers Philippines.
Working with the soloists is another challenge. “As a pianist and accompanist, I have worked with many singers in the past, assisting them in recitals, concerts and performances. Matters of musical areas on tempi, dynamics, and ornamentation are always discussed. If ever there’s a difference in interpretation, a compromise is always made.”
The New Year is a time for him to pursue dreams for the Philippine Madrigal Singers. Like building on educational and scholarship programs and helping Filipino conductors and choirs in promoting choral music with more people getting involved. “I certainly hope that this collaboration with the PPO will not be the last. I am hoping we can have more opportunities like this.”
Featured soloists for the Dec. 16 Handel’s Messiah are soprano Stefanie Quintin, tenor Ervin Lumauag, bass-baritone Enrico Lagasca and mezzo soprano Michelle Mariel Mariposa.
For ticket inquiries on the December 16 Handel’s Messiah at the CCP, please call the CCP Box Office: 8832-3704 / 8832-1125 local 1409. Or contact For Ticketworld: https://premier.ticketworld.com.ph