Arts & Culture

How Filipino tenor Arthur Espiritu copes with extreme weather changes as he sings in Baguio and Manila in between performances in Lubeck, Leipzig and Warsaw

No doubt about it.

Arthur Espiritu is the country’s busiest tenor starting November 2023 up to 2025 with lead roles in Faust, La Boheme and Lucia di Lammermoor.

November 17 is his house debut at Theater Lubeck in Germany in the lead role of Gounod’s Faust with more performances on December 14, 2023 to January 21, February 16, 24, March 10, April 20, May 9, 2024.

In between, he sings at Kanto Cafe in Baguio City on Saturday, Dec. 2, 6 p.m. and at the Manila Pianos on Saturday, 7 p.m.  Dec. 9, 2023.

Tenor Arthur Espiritu and pianist Mariel Ilusorio: first team up in Baguio City and Manila Pianos. Photo by Kiko Cabuena

On February 24, 2024, he returns at Oper Leipzig, Germany more performances March 3, 13, 24 to April 26, 2024 as Edgardo in Donizetti’s Lucia de Lammermoor.

On April 5-9, 2024, the Filipino tenor debuts at Polish National Opera in Warsaw again as Rodolfo in La Boheme.

The same role will keep him busy December 22, 2024 at Oper Koln until January 4, 8, 10, 16, 22, 2025.

Commuting between Manila and Baguio City after his Theater Lubeck debut in Germany, he sizes up his voice as it travels from tropical country to cold continents in Europe now seeing first signs of snow.

The facade of Theater Lubeck in Germany. Photo by Olaf Malzahn

He points out. “Usually when you have cold weather in Europe, one can always use warm garments and protective clothing to tackle the cold and the dryness with a simple hot shower or steam treatment.  In a tropical weather, you have to adjust because of the air conditioning system used.  Over here, they don’t use air conditioning, but the cold weather of course dries your skin.  In tropical weather, it is humid and therefore good for the skin but not so good with singing.  You have to protect yourself when sweating.  You have to change clothes often so you won’t get sick when you get exposed to the cold air conditioning systems of most establishments in tropical weather countries.  But, since climate change has been affecting European countries, I see more and more air conditioners being installed.  Summers have been warmer lately.”

He realized the need for at least one-week rest after European engagements when he sang in Science City of Munoz in Nueva Ecija in February this year.

He noticed his throat drying up even as he found out the acoustics of the provincial venue is not so good. “I should have rested for a week after singing in Germany,” he confided.

He loved his provincial audiences after being confined  in cosmopolitan cities for many years. Like his audience reception at the University of the Philippines Iloilo where he received three standing ovations along with pianist GJ Frias and same reception in Nueva Ecija.

Espiritu adds: “Filipino audiences are so supportive and energetic when it comes to behavior.  They are so empathetic and gracious.  They really know how to appreciate an artist.”

In Baguio City (Dec. 2) and at the Manila Pianos concert (December 9), the tenor will perform with soprano Stefanie Quintin and pianist Mariel Ilusorio.

Soprano Stefanie Quintin. Return engagement with top Philippine tenor.

He speaks highly of Ilusorio as collaborating pianist: “Mariel is such a wonderful pianist.  She brings in so much colors in her playing.  She compliments you with so much freedom in expressing yourself.  Whatever the instrument she is playing with, she manages to observe your singing or playing and tries to figure out how she can be better during practice sessions.  She has inputs that add to the performance sense of honesty about her playing and also her collaborative partners.  She’s very sensitive and very intelligent and very musical and honest with her intentions.”

Is it true that singing also reveals the singer’s character?

“If you sing from the heart, yes of course.  You have to open up your heart.  It takes away a lot from you as a performer but you know that you have done a good job when you have executed the role, the poetry, the novel, and the story accurately.  Sometimes it’s hard to see as an audience member, but if you reach those who have particular ears and senses, you know it’s a good performance.  Some audiences look for impressive and entertaining performances, some look for depth and meaning, some look for inspirations, and some look for overall performance appraisals.  But, what do we know?  We just have to sing with our hearts and share it with the audience.  After all, art is the reflection of the human condition.  It is there to tell our story as human beings.”

His singing schedule being what it is, he can only wish the basic things this coming Christmas. “I only need time with family and friends and celebrating it with your loved ones.  Gifts are overrated.  It is the spirit of family, friendship, and love for our maker that really count.)

(For tickets to Dec. 2 Baguio City engagement and the Dec. 9 Manila Pianos concert at Ronac Lifestyle Center, Paseo de Magallanes, Magallanes Village, Makati City, call 09065104270 or email: or call 09209540053, 09183473027 or email us at