The Burgeoning Elainne Marie Vibal

It is a necessity that I should have a dose of some classical music antidote to cure (rather, to quell) my chronic symptoms of ennui and exhaustion.

Recently I went to Filipinas Heritage Library in Ayala Triangle together with two friends to watch a young and fair soprano in a parlour performance attended by a number of music patrons. The event was part of the Young Artists’ Series 2012 presented by the Manila Chamber Orchestra Foundation and Filipinas Heritage Library.

The artist, Elainne Marie Vibal, descended from a staircase in a bright pink gown adorned by florid designs, then proceeded to the anterior of the parlour where the pianist Lourdes de Leon Gregorio awaited. When the resounding applause abated, she beckoned the pianist to begin.

With a budding artist ready to bloom… Nay! It has just blossomed magically. With a young artist just blossomed, enlivening the classical albeit “forgotten” music can be a fad within the youth. But of course I dream having classical music to be appreciated by many of the populace. But it seems what was popular in centuries past may not be popular today except to some people, me included.

At the event, most of the audience are well in their senescent years. But I also saw a representative of younger generations, again me included.

I think it has been beneficial that classical crossover performers like Sarah Brightman, Andrea Bocelli, Vanessa Mae, Bond, Maksim, &c cultivated the revival of the fondness of listeners to classical mixed with pop. Still it is best to set this kind of music as a starting block to discover more classical music in its purity.

The BBC in the UK has its Proms staged for a month or so every year. I hope we too in the Philippines also have old Filipino music (not only OPM) revived by extending it to a wider public. Philippine folk music is also good and rich in indigenous social story.


On to the show: I recorded most of the songs with a digital camera. Sorry for the wobbly shot. Please care to watch.

I’ll start with Felipe Padilla de Leon’s “Kay Tamis ng Buhay“. This is an aria in Noli Me Tangere (Opera) with libretto by Guillermo Tolentino. If I remember the story correctly, Maria Clara was coaxed by friends and companions, while on a picnic at the woods, to sing. She sang a rather sad song nevertheless about the native land.

Kay tamis ng buhay sa sariling bayan
Lahat doon ay ating pawang kaibigan
Ang simoy sa bukid ay tunay na buhay
Kamatayan ay langit, higit ang suyuan

Halik na magiliw sa labi ng ina
Sa bunso’y pumupog sa pag-uumaga
Mga munting bisig ay ikakawil na
Sa leeg na pitang may ngiti sa mata

Kay lugod ng mamatay nang dahil sa bayan
Lahat doon ay ating pawang kaibigan
Ang simoy ng hangin ay isang kamatayan
Sa wala ngang bayan, ina’t kasintahan

Sa wala ngang bayan, ina’t kasintahan
Kay tamis ng buhay sa sariling bayan

Incidentally, I’ve seen Ms Vibal perform this as Maria Clara in Dulaang UP’s Noli: The Opera on December 2011. I am glad I was able to record it this time with the same “character” performing.

Elainne Vibal cast as Maria Clara in Dulaang UP’s Noli Me Tangere (Opera)


Next is another aria from Gaetano Donizetti’s Don Pasquale: “So anch’io la virtù magicaThe libretto is by Giovanni Ruffini. After some research I came to know that the song is about the young widow Norina telling she knows all about the deceptions of seducing a man’s heart after reading a passage of a novel about love. You can see that “story” in Ms Vibal’s necessary expressions and gestures, making her show the funny character of Norina.

Listen closely to her trill starting in 04:24. Isn’t it lovely? (I think she stopped short at some point of the song. Nevertheless, she still had the composure and it went almost unnoticed.)


Here is Opus 27, number 4 “Morgen!” by Richard Strauss. The words are by John Henry Mackay.

The text in German is as follows; then the literal translation (there are various translations but I chose this one because it corresponds to the exact words in German; for other translations, you may visit here).

Und morgen wird die Sonne wieder scheinen
und auf dem Wege, den ich gehen werde,
wird uns, die Glücklichen sie wieder einen
inmitten dieser sonnenatmenden Erde
und zu dem Strand, dem weiten, wogenblauen,
werden wir still und langsam niedersteigen,
stumm werden wir uns in die Augen schauen,
und auf uns sinkt des Glückes stummes Schweigen

And tomorrow the sun will shine again
And on the way which I shall follow
She will again unite us lucky ones
As all around us the earth breathes in the sun
Slowly, silently, we will climb down
To the wide beach and the blue waves
In silence, we will look in each other’s eyes
And the mute stillness of happiness will sink upon us


Here is another work by Richard Strauss. Opus 27, number 3 “Heimliche Aufforderung“. The words are also by John  Henry Mackay.

The text and translation are as follows, which I got from this source:

Auf, hebe die funkelnde Schale empor zum Mund,
Und trinke beim Freudenmahle dein Herz gesund.
Und wenn du sie hebst, so winke mir heimlich zu,
Dann lächle ich und dann trinke ich still wie du…

Und still gleich mir betrachte um uns das Heer
Der trunknen Zecher — verachte sie nicht zu sehr.
Nein, hebe die blinkende Schale, gefüllt mit Wein,
Und laß beim lärmenden Mahle sie glücklich sein.

Doch hast du das Mahl genossen, den Durst gestillt,
Dann verlasse der lauten Genossen festfreudiges Bild,
Und wandle hinaus in den Garten zum Rosenstrauch,
Dort will ich dich dann erwarten nach altem Brauch,

Und will an die Brust dir sinken, eh du’s gehofft,
Und deine Küsse trinken, wie ehmals oft,
Und flechten in deine Haare der Rose Pracht.
O komm, du wunderbare, ersehnte Nacht!

Stand up; raise the sparkling cup up to your mouth
And drink health to yourself at this festive meal!
And beckon to me secretly when you raise it,
Then I will smile and, like you, drink in silence …

And, just as I do, consider the crowd
Of chatterboxes in silence – don’t take too much notice of them.
No, raise the sparkling glass filled with wine,
and let them be happy at this noisy meal.

But now you have enjoyed the meal, and quenched your thirst,
Leave these loud comrades to their happy festivities,
And wander off into the garden to the rose bush,
There I want to wait for you then, as is our custom,

And I want to fall upon your breast, as you hoped anyway,
And drink your kisses, as so often in times gone by,
And weave the glory of the roses into your hair.
Oh come, you wonderful longed for night!


Two songs by Roger Quilter were featured in her performance. “Come Away Death” was set to William Shakespeare’s text on Twelfth Night.

Come away, come away, death.
And in sad cypress let me be laid;
Fly away, fly away, breath;
I am slain by a fair cruel maid.
My shroud of white, stuck all with yew,
O, prepare it!
My part of death no one so true
Did share it.

Not a flower, not a flower sweet,
On my black coffin let there be strown:
Not a friend, not a friend greet
My poor corpse where my bones shall be thrown:
A thousand thousand sighs to save,
Lay me, O, where
Sad true lover never find my grave,
To weep there!

Here is “Love’s Philosophy” with text by Percy Bysshe Shelley.

The fountains mingle with the River
And the Rivers with the Ocean,
The winds of Heaven mix for ever
With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single;
All things by a law divine
In one another’s being mingle.
Why not I with thine?

See the mountains kiss high Heaven
And the waves clasp one another;
No sister-flower would be forgiven
If it disdained its brother;
And the sunlight clasps the earth
And the moonbeams kiss the sea:
What are all these kissings worth
If thou kiss not me?


Here is the aria “Chi il bel sogno di Doretta” Giacomo Puccini’s La Rodine. The libretto is by Guiseppe Adami. Read the text below.

Chi il bel sogno di Doretta potè indovinar?
Il suo mister come mai , come mai fini?

Ahimè! un giorno uno studente in bocca la baciò e fu quel bacio rivelazione:
Fu la passione! Folle amore! Folle ebbrezza!
Chi la sottil carezza d’un bacio cosi ardente mai ridir potrà?

Ah! mio sogno! Ah! mia vita!

Che importa la ricchezza se alfine è rifiorita la felicità!
O sogno d’or poter amar così!

Who could guess the beautiful dream Doretta had?
Why her mystery came to an end?

One day a student kissed her on the mouth and that kiss was the revelation:
It was the passion! Mad love! Mad happiness!
Who will ever be able again to describe the light caress of a kiss so burning?

Oh! My dream! Oh! My life!

Who cares for wealth if at last happiness flourishes!
Oh golden dream to be able to love in this way!


Here is her repertoire that night. You can click on a link to the other songs.

Georg Friedrich Handel: “Tornami a vagheggiar” from Alcina
Vicenzo Bellini: “Malinconia, Ninfa gentile” and “Vanne, O rosa fortunata”
Claude Debussy: “Pierrot
Franz Liszt: “Oh, quand je dors
Roger Quilter: “Love’s Philosophy” and “Come Away Death”
Giacomo Puccini: “Chi il bel sogno di Doretta” from La Rondine
Felipe Padilla de Leon: “Kay Tamis ng Buhay” from Noli Me Tangere (Opera)
Fernando Obradors: “Al Amor” and “Del Cabello mas Sutil
Richard Strauss: 4 Lieder, Op 27., no. 3 (“Heimliche Aufforderung”), 4 (“Morgen!”), and 2 (“Cäcilie”)
Gaetano Donizetti: “So anch’io la virtu magica” from Don Pasquale

She also did two encores.


Elainne Marie Vibal graduated magna cum laude from the University of the Philippines – Diliman College of Music. She won the third prze at the 2009 Jovita Fuentes Vocal Competition, and a finalist at the voice category of 2010 NAMCYA. And she did Maria Clara in the opera Noli Me Tangere staged by Dulaang UP for its 2011-2012 season, and also Adina in the opera L’Elisir d’Amore by Gaetano Donizetti on her graduation recital.

Lourdes de Leon Gregorio had accomplished so much both as a pianist and a harpist (so many to mention here). She studied at the Vienna Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts (now University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna). She was a pioneering member of the CCP Philharmonic Orchestra (later Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra).

That’s all.


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