By Marivir R. Montebon
New York City — Kundiman (old Philippine love songs) Queen Sylvia la Torre and granddaughter Anna Maria de Tagle charmed the audience all throughout the evening of Broadway, Pop, and Kundiman on Wednesday, June 17 at the Philippine Center in Manhattan. The fabulous grandmother-grand daughter duo who hails from Los Angeles was absolutely endearing in their performance of the diverse genres, dashed with the funny familiar Filipino antics and sweetness of youth.
The first suite was Broadway with Anna Maria belting Wicked and On My Own from Les Miserables. Guest singer Chelsea Chiu rendered Tomorrow from Annie. Sylvia la Torre entered with Memory from Cats. The first set already set the audience on fire.
Sylvia is a popular singer, actress and radio talent in the Philippines who began her career in 1938. She coached Anna Maria in her singing and acting which has greatly contributed to the young actress’s successful career in television and Broadway.
The Pop suite included favorites Forevermore (Anna Maria) and Part of Me which Chelsea Chiu did with absolute ease. The night’s host Ivan Dorschner did a duet with Anna on A Whole New World from Aladdin. Broadway musician Sonny Paladino was on the piano for the entire two suites.
The Kundiman, the last suite, made the audience most nostalgic. Sylvia opened with Lupa Man any Langit Din and was teary-eyed when saying that she is happy that granddaughter has mastered her songs and so these will live on.
Philippine Consulate General to New York Ambassador Mario de Leon Jr. was called on stage to sing Maalaala Mo Kaya (Will You Ever Remember?) with Sylvia. The audience became riotous. Many thought that the Ambassador had a voice which he could bank on for a new career. Just in case.
Anna was drop dead delightful when she sang Bituin Marikit (Beautiful Star) and the popular Visayan song Pobreng Alindahaw (Poor Dragonfly). She and Sylvia sent the audience roaring in Gaano Ko Ikaw Kamahal.
The concert closed with the song Waray-Waray by Sylvia with Bobby de Leon on the piano.
Fil-Am beauty queen Ruth Sityar was all praises for the concert. “This is so far one of the best ones that I saw. I love the kundiman. The old songs brought out Anna’s distinctive voice,” she remarked.
The concert was produced by the Marisse Panlilio Entertainment and partly for the health needs of RJ, a four-year-old with stage 4 neuroblastoma.
(*Langit means heaven)