Instinct helps Filipinos abroad excel
There is truth in love.
“Whether it’s for a loved one or a passion like singing or acting, there’s got to be truth in it,” said Leo Valdez during the press preview of “The King and the Diva: Beyond Classic,” a one-night Valentine concert at the Resorts World Newport Performing Arts Theater.
The show is Valdez’s first collaboration in years with Kuh Ledesma—over three decades after performing together in the 1980 Filipino pop opera ballet, “Rama Hari.”
This Love Day concert, the actor-singer revealed, will showcase hit songs from productions like “Rama Hari,” “Miss Saigon,” “The King and I” and “Evita.”
“The King and the Diva” is directed by playwright Floy Quintos, with Homer Flores as musical director.
Valdez is internationally renowned for his acclaimed performance as The Engineer in Cameron Mackintosh’s hit musical “Miss Saigon” (which the Filipino joined in 1994).
Prior to that, in 1981, he got his big break after topping the Metro Manila Popular Music Song festival for his interpretation of the Gines Tan composition, “Magsimula Ka.” He was very young when he started his singing career, Valdez recalled. Back then, he would perform just for kicks. He has since realized that those times prepared him for an international musical career.
He played the lead in Resorts World’s “The King and I” in 2012, which won him the 25th Aliw Awards trophy for Best Actor in a Musical Production that same year.
Over 1,000 shows
Ledesma has been in the business for 35 years. She has released 20 hit albums and won various awards, including Best Asian Performer during the 19th Asia Pacific Excellence Awards in 2011 and the Dangal ng Musikang Pilipino Award at the 25th Awit Awards in 2012.
Having performed over 1,000 shows, Ledesma said this Valentine concert was a dream come true, the first time she would share the concert stage with Valdez.
On connecting with the audience, she said, “When I perform, I make it my goal to give people goosebumps.”
Valdez agreed: “When my singing affects me, it has an effect on the audience, too.”
Asked about how Filipinos compared with other performers abroad, Valdez quipped: “We’re the best! Filipinos follow their instinct. With all due respect to other performers, we Filipinos are at par with the best, though we do not have dancing, singing or acting schools in our country.”
The balladeer-turned-theater actor, who recorded his favorite, “Dahil sa Isang Bulaklak,” years ago, said his rendition of Tagalog songs had been described as “heartfelt.”
“Filipino love songs—the way the words are woven with the music is very beautiful.” He praised original Filipino songs by composers George Canseco, Louie Ocampo, Ryan Cayabyab and Ogie Alcasid.
As tribute to Filipino songwriters and singers, Valdez said, he was set to release a Filipino album, with covers of classics and a few original songs.
As for acting idols, Valdez didn’t name anyone in particular, but expressed appreciation for those who worked hard: “I respect anyone who is passionate about his craft, who delivers excellent performances on stage.”
(For more information on “The King and the Diva,” visit www.rwmanila.com or call 9088833.)