After years of savoring Celeste Legaspi’s musical performances in shows and working with her as actor and director, we thought that we had the fabulous actress and singer all figured out.
But, Celeste’s “ultimate” solo concert last Aug. 5 at The Theatre at Solaire promptly put us in our place, because it turned out that—she had even more things to share!
“Blame” it on the fact that the celestial diva has turned 67—and has come out of semiretirement to take a great, big breath and do this “career-capping” concert.
She felt it was worth all the time and great effort obviously involved, because it was her most unique way of honoring her national artist father, Cesar, on his birth centennial.
That’s the first new thing we learned: The show wasn’t about her, it was all for him—which said a lot about the daughter’s love—and also about the daughter.
Despite her senior status and all the “slower and lower” things that come with it, she still mustered the humongous energy and creativity required to put up—one heck of a “tribute” show! Try doing that when you’re 67.
We also learned from Celeste’s “todo na ‘to,” take-no-prisoners show that family was all-important to her—which is why she’s been “semiretired” for years, even if it’s obvious that, as singer and actress, she still has a whole lot to give.
The long hiatus from her career has enabled her to focus on what truly matters to her, taking care of and enjoying her now “extending” family—especially her husband, Nonoy, who still sends her into a “Tuliro” swoon.
Not to worry, though: We may not get many opportunities these days to enjoy Celeste as a performer, but she remains pertinent to and significant in Philippine arts and entertainment, due to her “alternative” career as visionary producer of original Filipino musicals—despite the greater popularity in these “still colonial” parts of “imported” works.
Celeste feels so strongly about her Pinoy musical cause that a part of her Aug. 5 concert focused on the current fight she’s waging to get the film musical, “Ang Larawan,” into this year’s Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF).
Luminous excerpts from the film were screened to show that it was indeed superbly worthy of inclusion—so, we should all join the campaign to give the production and MMFF viewers their due.
Another new insight we got into Celeste’s current art and life evolved and devolved from the Aug. 5 show itself, which turned out to have benefited from inputs not just from Celeste and her signature mentors, like “Mr. C” (Ryan Cayabyab), but also from other Legaspi relatives working on a range of production involvements.
They were paced by niece, Margarita Roco, a classically trained singer who “provoked” her Tita Celeste to trill a tintinnabulating “operatic” tune or two!
This was done as a lyrical lark, but it made a deep impression on us all the same, because it showed that the Legaspi “talent pool” will definitely not run out of feisty moxie anytime soon!
Even if and when Celeste chooses to make her retirement from performing and producing permanent, we will be well-served by next-gen Legaspi talents chockfull of the class, sass and pizazz that has made Mama and Lola Celeste our peerless musical gift—that keeps on giving!
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