NY Times-lauded tenor Peñaverde Jr. mounts UST homecoming concert

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Photo by Jamillah N. Sta. Rosa.

AFTER making a name in the international music industry, Conservatory of Music alumnus and classical singer Rogelio Peñaverde Jr. staged “With a Song in My Heart,” a homecoming concert last July 15 at the Insular Life Auditorium Alabang in Muntinlupa City.

With Music associate professor Najib Ismail on the piano, Peñaverde treated the audience to a night of timeless operas and lyrical ballads.

Other alumni and professors from the Conservatory joined Peñaverde such as sopranos Elisanta Cortes and Jenny Garcia and baritone Jilbert Chua.

Peñaverde credited his success to Salvacion Oppus-Yñiguez, his voice teacher until her passing in 2005.

“I always performed in operas and musical theaters where I played characters. This would be the first time in ten years since I performed in a solo feature concert,” Peñaverde told the Varsitarian.

The two-part concert, his first in the country after a decade, had 16-song set which boasted of classical songs. Included in the repertoire were “Un’aura Amorosa,” from Mozart’s opera “Cosi Fan Tutte,” to Filipino composer Levi Celerio’s “Parang Maghapon Lamang.”

Peñaverde’s rendition of “Madaling Araw” by Filipino lyricists Jesus Balmori and Jose Corazon de Jesus was accompanied by a careful but extravagant exhibition of his fully tonal voice. The song is considered as one of the most beautiful kundiman or traditional Filipino love songs, centering on the keen expression of plea for love.

Peñaverde was joined by the UST Vocal Students Ensemble in his rendition of Ryan Cayabyab’s “Prayer of Saint Francis.” Singphony Alumni, the former resident choir of the San Beda College Alabang Chapel, which Peñaverde directed for 12 years, also performed with him.

To cap off the concert, the Peñaverde family joined the singer onstage and rendered an arrangement of film score composer Constancio de Guzman classics, “Minamahal Kita” and “Maalala Mo Kaya.”

“We always performed as a family. It was very casual, nothing really formal,” he said.

Peñaverde holds a Bachelor of Music Degree with a major in Voice and a minor in Piano from the Conservatory. He also has a master’s degree in music at the Manhattan School of Music where he was a merit scholar.

He is known for his roles on both traditional and modern repertoire, with its various portrayals of certain characters providing diverse vignettes for Peñaverde’s career as an artist.

Having earned a nod from the New York Times for his “sweet sound” and praised by Opera Magazine as an “incisive tenor,” Peñaverde continues to animate his vocal artistry through his ceaseless collaborations with the San Lorenzo Ruiz Choir of New York as its musical director.

He has performed with the New York City Opera, Bronx Opera Company, Taconic Opera of New York, Tuscia Opera Festival of Italy and covered as tenor for the Caramoor International Music Festival.

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