Filipino fans give tribute to Italy’s greatest composer
By Rica Arevalo
Earlier this month, on July 6, world-renowned Italian composer Ennio Morricone bid adieu at the age of 91. He received his Academy Award for Quentin Tarantino’s film The Hateful Eight in 2016, the oldest person to compete in the Oscar but, before that, he was given the Academy
Honorary Award in 2007 for his contributions to the “art of film music.” Under his baton, he scored numerous Golden Globes, Grammy Awards, BAFTAs, David di Donatellos, European Film Awards, and many more accolades. His demise brought a lot of sadness to his Filipino fans, some of whom would go all the way to Italy and the United Kingdom to see him perform live.
Among them are the husband and wife team, Robert Seña and Isay Alvarez Seña, and documentary filmmaker Baby Ruth Villarama.
“When I was younger my father used to play The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly soundtrack,” Robert tells Manila Bulletin Lifestyle. He would whistle the theme song and pretend to be a cowboy.
He was so crazy in love with his music that when The Final Concerts at the Arena di Verona, Italy was scheduled in May 18, 2019, he had to be there. “Isay said it was very expensive,” recalls the Miss Saigon actor. “I said, ‘Heck, it’s the Master’s last performance and he is not coming to Asia. Let’s go to Italy and get the best seats!’”
The rains and cold weather didn’t bother them. When the maestro walked onto the stage, a thunderous applause greeted him and he started the concert with Man with the Harmonica and for Robert the magic commenced. “It was so enchanting. When the music goes louder, the wind
blows and the rain drizzles as well,” he muses. “His music speaks to your soul. You could hear a pin drop when he plays his pieces.”
Isay continues, “As Filipino performers, we felt that the experience will be unforgettable for us. Imagine an arena full of people waiting for the 90-year-old maestro.” The audience were all drenched, but people hardly moved and were listening intently to the full orchestra and 100-
member choir. “Maestro was getting wet too but didn’t mind the rains and just continued,” recalled the Katy! The Musical actress. “He refused the towel and umbrella the production assistant was giving him.”
In one word, Isay described Ennio as passionate. “He was most of the time seated and would stand up during crescendos or climax of the music but one could see his command of the orchestra,” she says. “He must have dedicated his life to music… his music.”
Baby Ruth discovered the music of the maestro when she was jobless and fresh out of college through Giuseppe Tornatore’s Cinema Paradiso. “Ennio’s music drove crucial emotional points that made me realize how cinema skillfully captures the beauty and pain of life,” she says.
While on a break from studying her Master’s Degree in the United Kingdom, she went to Ennio Morricone – Nocturne At Blenheim Palace at Oxfordshire on June 23, 2016.
“I didn’t even have a decent photo or video souvenir of his concert as it was strictly prohibited, but, as it is with life, the most priceless experience is always invisible to the naked eye, forever saved in memory,” says the Sunday Beauty Queen director.
She described the concert as “entering the gates of heaven.” There were chirping birds flying as they were part of the orchestra, responding to Ennio’s conducting.
“The Czech National Symphony Orchestra did a balladry of innocent and passionate notes that blended like silk to the ears,” she mused. “There was a part in the concert where his notes were blown by the wind and yet the instruments delivered a topnotch performance with Ennio’s controlled and seamless command.”
Maestro Ennio was a living testament who had found and lived his life purpose—created more than 400 original scores for television and cinema and over 100 classical works!
Born in Rome with humble beginnings, he had the immortal genius of musical scoring that transformed his personal wounds to word-class expressions of the human experience.
“When you see a baby sleeping soundly while a full orchestra is performing just few meters away, and people clench their fists close to their chest, you know that the music is perfectly in tune with the natural life,” reflects Baby Ruth.
“I’m happy that he finally meets his maker. I believe Maestro Morricone was a conduit of what we will hear in heaven,” says the tenor Robert. “He will always be one of my heroes.”
The former 1940s trumpeter understood the language of the heart without judgment. He skillfully commanded the art and science of music to empower the spirit of humanity.
Rest in peace, Maestro Ennio.