Manila Metropolitan Theater officially reopens – Manila bulletin
The “Grande Dame” of Manila rises from her ashes
They say that each place has its own rhythm. The way conversations resonate, the way a show encapsulates you, the way silently standing objects influence the poetic movements of living things – the sum of these things, and more. To say the least, the Manila Metropolitan Theater (or simply the Met) is an example of this type of perfect symphony.
It’s been 90 years since the Met opened on December 10, 1931. Being the only existing Art Deco building of its size and integrity in Asia, it has been declared a National Cultural Treasure and National Historic Landmark, providing a home for singers, conductors, composers, musicians, directors, designers, visual artists, choreographers and dancers from all over the Philippines as well as foreign talent. Manila’s Art Deco architectural gem is nestled near Merhan Garden, located on the corner of Padre Burgos Avenue and Arroceros Street, near the Manila Central Post Office.
Friday, December 10, the “Grande Dame” of Manila officially reopened its doors to the public. NCCA President Arsenio “Nick” Lizaso led the event with a ribbon cut, immediately followed by the unveiling of his marker and commemorative wedge.
The Met married a virtual and physical performance that took guests back in time, commemorating the best of Filipino performing arts such as “Remembering Conching: Hindi Kita Malimot” by Josefino Cenizal, arranged by Krina Cayabyab and performed by Jade Riccio .
During the program, those responsible for its restoration and reopening were recognized, including former Presidents Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, as well as current President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.
The celebration was filled with extravagant and compelling performances by renowned Filipino artists like pianist Raul Sunico and performing artists Dulce, Celeste, Legaspi, Beverly Salvejo, as well as Robert and Isay CeÃ±a. Singers Ryan Cayabyab were also present while the Manila Symphony Orchestra accompanied them under the baton of Marlon Chen. They performed songs composed by national music artist Ryan Cayabyab, including “Pasulong Muli Ang met!âThis had lyrics written by Floy Quintos and it serves as the theme song at the Manila Metropolitan Theater.
âIt is our cultural connection to the glorious past and it should open the door to the flourishing cultural future of our people. Lizaso said.
Walking around its meticulously decorated rooms is a story in itself. The public can once again witness the murals by national artist Fernando Amorsolo that adorn the hall. Its magnificent central stained-glass window, stylized under a tropical sun with a floral motif, is decidedly hard to miss. The Met is an enclave of the arts, containing in its decadent architecture stories of Filipino artists from past and present, eager to sing and dance to even more local art in the future.
Walking outside, taking a second glance before leaving, you realize that the heart of the Manila Metropolitan Theater has never stopped beating, it just took a long break. Yes, it took a pretty long detour, wearing many masks, briefly becoming a boxing arena, motel, basketball court, and even a home for illegal settlers, before closing for restoration. But now he’s back, waking from his deep slumber like a phoenix rising from its ashes.
From the unveiling of the first marker to the last performance on Friday night, the rebirth of this historic Art Deco building is an experience one can relive a lifetime. Truly, the reopening of the Manila Metropolitan Theater is a gift for generations to come. (With a report by Noel Pabalate)
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