(Some great pictures of the event can be found at http://www.bit-net.com/~joycet/LSF/lsf.html)

I was lucky enough to find time and get tickets for this special event in San Francisco, CA on Saturday, November 1, 1997. It was hosted by the Filipino Heritage Foundation at the Nob Hill Masonic Center.

The first two parts of the performance featured the Children's Choir of the Philippine Cultural Academy and the Philippine Heritage Foundation Chorale. All of them were very talented, and very entertaining.

After a 15 minute intermission, and a long intro to build up our anticipation even more, they featured the main part of the event: Miss Lea Salonga!

PROGRAM highlights (taken from the souvenir program)
1. Bakit Labis Kitang Mahal (Why Do I Love You So Much)
A story of someone loving somebody without knowing why. When things go unexplained, everything is charged to the feeling of love.
Alex Mallillin
2. Nandito Ako (I'm Here)
You may be happy with someone, but I'll still love you, and here I am waiting for you.
Aaron Paul del Rosario
3. You Must Love Me Andrew Lloyd Weber /
Tim Rice
4. Seasons of Love
(With the Filipino Heritage Chorale)
Jonathan Larson
5. Kailan? (When?)
A classic question of a girl with an interest in a lad who, however, does not care and never notices her. She follows him and tries to win his attention and affection.
Ryan Cayabyab
6. Sana Maulit Muli (Wishing Things Were How They Used to Be)
A simple wish of lovers to once again experience earlier feelings. Love lost, regrets and misgivings should be left behind to once again enjoy the good times.
Gary Valenciano / Angeli Pangilinan-Valenciano
7. OPM Medley

Sanay Maghintay Ang Walang Hanggan
Kahit Na / Mahawi Man ang Ulap
Ikaw Lamang ang Mamahalin
Ikaw Lamang / Bituing Walang Ningning
Arr. by Ryan Caybyab / Gerard Salonga
8. I'd Give My Life For You Alain Boubil / Claud Michel Schonberg and Richard Maltby, Jr.
9. Ngayon Pa Lang Tagumpay Ka Na (Even Now, You Are Already a Success)
A duet of a child singer together with the accomplished concert star he idolizes. The child is encourages to reach for the stars and as early as now, makes the child also feel success. Our child star, James B. Manalili, sings with Lea with the participation of the Filipino Heritage Foundation Chorale.
Ryan Cayabyab
Encore: On My Own Alain Boubil / Claude Michel Schonberg


As you can see, most of the songs Lea sang were in Filipino, which made it difficult for the non-Filipino fans, including me. Therefore, it makes it difficult for me to evaluate/comment on those songs. Nonetheless, it was a pleasure just to hear her voice, no matter what language the songs were in. Here is what I thought of the English songs she sang:
You Must Love Me
One of the newer songs from the recent movie starring Madonna. Lea stated that Evita is the one musical she dreams of performing in, playing the role of Eva Peron. Until that day comes, she said, she'll just sing this beautiful song. And beautiful, it was. She slipped right into the character of Eva Peron and sang this song just as well as, and maybe better than, Madonna.

Seasons of Love
From Broadway's smash hit Rent, Lea sang this accompanied by the Filipino Heritage Chorale. I'd never heard more of this song than what my sister would randomly sing, so I don't have any basis of comparison, but I liked the song a lot, and Lea did a great job at this one.

I'd Give My Life For You
The song of a mother's love for her child from the hit musical that catapulted Lea into international stardom, Miss Saigon. Comparing her performance to that on the OLC recording made about 8 years ago, Lea's voice is much improved: stronger and more definite.

On My Own
As Lea returned to the stage after the last song, she received many shouts requesting an encore. She gave in, admitting that it was a request she just couldn't resist. From the phenomenal hit musical, Les Miserables, Lea introduced her encore performance as "a song that needs no introduction." After her performance at the Les Miserables Tenth Anniversary Concert, Lea's portrayal of Eponine was criticized as overdone, and that her singing was over-enunciated. But Lea answered to those comments, and outdid herself, delivering a very smooth and even performance.

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