Friday, October 29, 2010

EXPLOSIVE ENCOUNTER: LA MUSICA, BRAVISSIMA!


Normally, on a Friday night, you will see and hear me sing in the church choir practice. Apparently, there's a deviation from the traditional routine. Elna, one of my close friends in Brunei, gave me a call, which I missed for eight times because my phone was in silent mode and I was eating at the moment she called, and invited me to the 2010 Toyota Classics. Seriously, I was surprise to find out that Elna handed me a BND150 ticket, a VIP ticket for the event. In pesos, BND150 is 4,500 pesos! Indeed, a blessing!

The pathway leading to the main hall.

The stairs going up to where the VIPs will seat.

The walls seen on the upper balcony.

The program card and ticket.

Thanks Elna for the VIP Seat!
The Toyota Classics is an annual event organized by NBT (Brunei) Sdn Bhd in cooperation with Toyota Motor Asia Pacific Ltd. In this event, high brow performances from selected foreign Orchestra are showcased. For the 2010 Toyota Classics, the Orchestra Citta Di Firenze performed in a two-hour musical extravaganza. Orchestra Citta di Firenze has been established by some of the  most talented musicians in Italy with the purpose of performing chamber music and Italian Orchestra repertoire.
The stage
As a music lover and a singer by heart, a rare invite to the Toyota Classics is not to be missed. With 40 minutes to prepare before my friend pick me up, I hit the toilet, showered and dressed. Thankfully, despite the cramming, I was able to mix and match some of my clothes to match the formal gathering. I wore a checkered long sleeves, a vest, a black shoes and a pants with some stripped of white lines. 
Me in my formal attire!
Soon, my friend arrived and picked me. We headed to the International Convention Center.
The Orchestra Citta di Firenze
We're supposed to come back to my Elna's house because she forgot her shawl when we received a call from her friend Dina saying that latecomers won't be allowed to get inside and watch the concert. Having realized that we're left with 20 minutes to reach the venue and Dina's offered help of lending her shawl to Elna, we speed up to reach ICC.
Dina, me and Elna.
It was drizzling that night when we reached ICC. Should we know that tickets with BND150 are allowed to park inside the ICC grounds, we won't dare to go on the other parking lot which has the buses to pick up guests who are attending the event. But since Dina had the ticket and we're in the parking space, we just immediately parked and headed to where the buses were. Thankfully, we're not late!

Red carpet and charming staff of the event welcome us, the guests. There were some finger foods to stuff us before the program starts. Since I just my dinner, I just grabbed one piece of Quiche and drank more water.
Fooooood!
Soon, the guest of honor arrived, Yang Teramat Mulia Paduka Seri Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Sarah binti Pengiran Haji Salleh Ab Rahaman. On one hand, Ninan Chacko, Managing Director of NBT (Brunei) Snd Bhd gave his opening speech with an insight on the challenges and joys of putting an annual Grand Concert that two organization will benefit - Learning Ladders Society and Pusat Ehsan Al-Ameerah Al-Hajjah Mariam. Each organization received BND40,000 in support of developing and fostering its program to improve the lives of its beneficiaries who are mostly special kids.
Princess Sarah sat here while we're 3 meters away!
To my surprise, we seated like 3 meters away from Her highness Princess Sarah. Indeed, her face was simply mesmerizing and I sensed the glow of her upcoming motherhood. Yes, Princess Sarah is carrying their second child. Relatively, other VIP guests were seated near our spot like HSBC's CEO, the Japanese Ambassador, and more.

With a penchant on a wide selection of music, Classical music has always pique my interest. Believe it or not, if I didn't enroll at UP in my undergrad years, I would probably be a Tenor or singer by now. That's because I was already training at UST's Conservatory of Music before when the offer from UP came. Given the chance to choose, since I also love writing and knowing that it's UP, I temporarily shelved my passion in singing and made my journey in creative writing.
Red Carpet!
What I loved about the 14 performances of the Orchestra Citta di Firenze was the consistency and variety. While they had some solo performances in the persona of a powerhouse tenor Leonardo Melani and Boriana Nakeva in Violin, Master Conductor Lorenzo Castriota Skanderberg brought the majesty of classical music in slow and upbeat renditions. Overall, although I didn't get the goosebumps, I was stunned, moved and inspired more to appreciate the high brow forms of music genre like a classical one.

Here are some of the performances that I recorded using my mobile phone. Please bear with the wash out texture.

Orchestra Citta di Firenze playing Brunei's National Anthem.



A performance by tenor Leonardo Melani.



A malay song performed by the Orchestra!



The show ended at around 10:30. However, during the program, there's one 20-minute break which was enough to let everyone take a toilet break, enjoy a cup of tea or coffee, grab some food, and some to mingle or socialize. Well, for a blogger like me, it's an opportunity to point and shoot my camera on the details!
Me in my formal attire and behind me is the stage!
I arrived home at around 11. Seriously, I craved for more classical music performances and even played back some of the performances I recorded using my mobile phone. Knowing such influence and impact, oh well, see me in the church and you'll get to enjoy a piece of my classical singing renditions! =)
Elna, me and Dina!
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