The biggest names on the local stage and runway have joined forces to come up with Marawing Salamat, the Best of Opera and Fashion for Marawi, an opera-slash-fashion show for the benefit of the war-ravaged city of Marawi, particularly “Duyog Marawi,” a project of Bishop Edwin dela Peña, to reconstruct the city’s basilica and convent. The one-night event is slated on April 6 at the Main Theater of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP).
During a recent press preview at the CCP Main Theater lobby, Zardo Austria, one of the show’s producers, presented vignettes of classic Philippine folk songs such as Bituing Marikit, Sa Kabukiran, Maalaala Mo Kaya, and Ikaw ang Mahal Ko, as sung by Randy Gilongo, Mary Patrice Pacis, Naomi Sison, Ana Feleo, Tonton Pascual, and John Glenn Gaerlan.
Their performances were interspersed with the creations of such leading designers as Oskar Peralta, Ronaldo Arnaldo, Steve de Leon, Edgar San Diego, Peri Diaz, Ricci Lizaso, Eddie Baddeo, and Renee Salud. Drawing inspiration from the pomp and pageantry of Philippine carnival queens, each designer produced stylized and sometimes whimsical versions of the terno and the Maria Clara.
Renowned filmmaker Carlitos Siguion Reyna will be the twin presentation’s overall director, while Raymond Villanueva and Nathan de Leon will direct the fashion show. The 70-piece University of Sto. Tomas Symphony Orchestra, a CCP resident company, will provide the music under the baton of American guest conductor William Barhymer.
Apart from CCP, Marawing Salamat is also presented by the Lyric Opera of the Philippines, in cooperation with E. Zobel Foundation Inc. The show’s fashion component will feature 30 designers. Each featured designer is expected to do at least three looks, said Austria.
Austria, together with fellow producers Lito Perez, Sherwin Sozon and Lorlie Villanueva, aims to generate at least a P1 million for Marawi. The show is a prelude to the July 4 launch of Golden Age of Opera and Carnival Queens, a coffee table book written by Austria and designed by Dopy Doplon.
The book will feature mostly American-era-inspired gowns and dresses shot in a number of ancestral and heritage venues in the provinces. A portion of the profits from the book’s sale will also go to the reconstruction of Marawi.— Alex Y. Vergara