Dame Torre Obituary, Dame Torre has died – Death

Dame Torre Obituary, Dame Torre has died - Death

Dame Torre Obituary, Death – One of the genre’s most towering figures has passed away. It is not often known that Dame Sylvia la Torre was also a trained soprano who collaborated with some of the most well-known composers in the kundiman genre prior to her success as a comedienne on television in the 1960s. However, many people enjoyed her humorous performances during that decade.

The 2nd of December, 2022 was the day she passed away. She was, to the best of my knowledge, the very last dedicated practitioner of the Kundiman art form; nonetheless, I have the impression that the Philippines took her for granted and scarcely recognized her as an important cultural bearer deserving of the title of National Artist. Sylvia La Torre is recognized as the grand dame of Philippine cinema and television by a significant number of older Filipinos.

She is well recognized for her comedic roles, most notably as Sebya, which she played alongside fellow comedian Pugo (Mariano Contreras) in a number of successful films. She is also well-known for her time spent in the 1960s as a co-host on the daily noontime show Oras ng Ligaya. Her lengthy and distinguished career also includes many recordings of Tagalog novelty songs with an American influence.

However, not many people are aware that Sylvia La Torre was a soprano with conservatory training who collaborated with some of the most well-known kundiman composers of all time. The fact that Ms. La Torre was so successful in transitioning to the mainstream genre – an accomplishment that very few of us musicians will ever be able to match – obscured the fact that her genuine passion and talent lay in kundiman singing.

In 2008, I was given the opportunity to produce an event in a large venue in San Francisco that would feature artists performing kundiman art songs. The venue in question was the Great American Music Hall. Almost instantly, I was reminded of Ms. La Torre. It is not possible to acquire a more illustrious name than “Sebya” herself. She is, in point of fact, one of the few practitioners of the Kundiman art song that is still alive today.

With this goal in mind, my companion and fellow explorer Fides Enriquez and I set out to locate her in the hopes of persuading her to appear in front of a sizable audience in San Francisco and give a performance. We were also curious to know if Ms. La Torre would be open to the possibility of appearing in the documentary film that we are making about Harana.

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