Miss Lea Salonga always makes me feel the emotions of her songs. May it be from a recording, but most especially when you hear her perform live. Last February 16, I had the opportunity to watch her live performance through the Technical Dress Rehearsal for the Songs From the Stage concert.
Stepping into the Plenary Hall of the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), I didn’t know what to expect. All I know was that I was about to witness the performance of a multi-awarded Filipina singer known world-over as a theater actress and as a recording artist for the soundtrack of Disney movies like Mulan and Aladdin. Needless to say, my excitement level was brewing as we waited for the performance to begin.
From the moment she started singing and walked slowly from the backstage, I immediately felt a little shiver down my spine. She brought me back to a regular Sunday afternoon spent with my family while the songs like “Say a Little Orayer” and “Arthur’s Theme” were playing on the radio.
Lea showcased her versatility with feel-good songs like “I Will Survive”, to her powerful rendition of “Basang-Basa sa Ulan”, up to a highly emotional song like “Burn”. My personal favorite for the night would have to be “Empty Chairs and Empty Tables”. You will definitely feel the heartbreak of the character with every note she sings. I must say, Gerard Salonga, Lea’s brother, who also prepared the repertoire for the concert, did an awesome job. He, together with the Phil Harmonic Orchestra, managed to highlight Lea’s angelic voice.
On stage, she was joined by six young ladies. Esang de Torres of “The Voice Kids” and Krystal Brimner from “Annie” were described by Lea as the future of Philippine theater. Shortly thereafter, Lea’s daughter, Nicole Beverly Chien, joined her on stage and performed her own version of “Ring of Keys”. This only proved that the gift of music runs in the family. There was a special mention of Stephen Sonheim by Lea whom she said to be a big inspiration to her. As a dedication, she performed a few of his songs. She even did a duet with Jett Pangan of the song “Move On”.
Although she did not perform some of the songs that I believe everyone was waiting for, like “On My Own”, she certainly did not disappoint. I truly hope that future generations, both here and abroad, will get to hear the powerful voice of Lea Salonga and get inspired by her world-class talent.
Author, Contributor Writer
Ramil Delos Reyes
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