The second week of December treated me to my first concert opera, Rossini Messa di Gloria and Brahms Schicksalslied at the Hong Kong City Hall Concert Hall. I have been seeing and actually enjoying plays since high school (not the High School Musical kind, no offense), but this opera in concert was a first for me.
This concert of The Learners Chorus featured four soloists: Yuki Ip, soprano; Arthur Espiritu, tenor; Stephen Ng, tenor; and Edmund Kwan, bass. All four had exceptional vocal skills and received both local and international training, which allowed them to render an excellent blend with the chorus and the orchestra.
I am certain though that the rest of the audience would agree with me when I say that the vocal talent of Filipino-American Arthur Espiritu reigned supreme that night. The tenor has performed in the Pittsburgh Opera, Teatro alla Scala, Piccolo Teatro di Milano, Opera Memphis, Opera Fuoco, Connecticut Opera, Opera North, Theatre St. Gallen and Theatre Champs-Elysees. He has also performed with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. He will be with Theatre St. Gallen and Opera Tel Aviv for the upcoming season. Too bad we did not make it to the meet and greet before the concert as we had to attend another event, whereas that after the concert was cut abruptly to give way to the pictorial. It would have been great to have had my libretto signed.
The proceeds of the concert were donated to the Water Cellars for Homes project of the Hong Kong Christian Council for the people of Ningxia, China. More than that, this concert paved way for joining the people of Hong Kong and the Philippines in a project that may give light to a fresh start for these two nations.