The Philippine Embassy, in partnership with the Philippine National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), successfully staged Himig ng Kasarinlan (Hymn of Freedom), a concert celebrating the life and works of Philippine national hero, Dr. Jose P. Rizal, at the Wesley Music Centre on 13 June 2013.
In her welcome remarks, Philippine Ambassador to Australia Belen F. Anota thanked the guests for supporting the Embassy’s cultural program. She mentioned the auspicious timing of the concert during Canberra’s centenary, calling it the Philippines’ contribution to the capital’s celebration of its 100th year.
The Ambassador also expressed her appreciation to the NCCA, which under the current leadership and guidance of Chairman, Prof. Felipe de Leon, Jr. and Executive Director Emelita Almosara, played an instrumental role in bringing Filipino world-class talent to Australia through Himig ng Kasarinlan.
The concert was inspired by the artistic talent of Dr. Jose Rizal, the Philippines’ national hero. This year marks the 152nd anniversary of his birth.
Prior to the commencement of the concert, guests caught a glimpse of the life and work of Dr. Rizal through the Embassy’s exhibit in the foyer of the Wesley Music Centre.
The artists featured in the event were concert pianist Rudolf Cesar Pelaez Golez and soprano singer Lara Marie Mascardon Maigue.
Mr. Golez had performed in various countries in Europe, America and Asia. He was the sole prize-winner at the 2004 ASEAN Chopin International Competition. He studied music at the prestigious Julliard School of Music in New York City under the guidance and tutelage of world-acclaimed pianist Seymour Lipkin. He holds a Masters degree in Piano Performance from the University of the Philippines.
On the other hand, Ms. Maigue is a member of the Philippine Opera Company and the trio Opera Belles, the latter of which has won the 2011 Aliw Awards for Best New Female Group and the Golden Choice Awards for Best Official Soundtrack. She continues honing her musical skills and is currently undergoing training with artist Fides Cuyugan-Asensio at the University of the Philippines – College of Music.
The repertoire included piano pieces and songs inspiring heroism, some of them written and composed by Dr. Rizal himself such as “Kay Tamis ng Buhay” (How Sweet is Life) and “Alin Mang Lahi.” The duo also performed the nostalgic rendition of “Awit ng Gabi ni Sisa” (Song of the Night of Sisa), an aria from the musical Noli Me Tangere, one of Dr. Rizal’s novels.
Over 100 guests attended the event including heads and members of the diplomatic corps, Australian government, the academe and the Filipino community.
Aside from Canberra, Himig ng Kasarinlan will also be staged in Campbelltown and Sydney, New South Wales.