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Marco Polo Ortigas retraces hotel icon’s journey in opera gala dinner

East met West in a delightful evening of food, music, and fashion as Marco Polo Ortigas held its first ever opera gala dinner “Silken Voices, Silken Roads” that commemorated the journey of hotel icon, Venetian merchant and adventurer Marco Polo.

Marco Polo’s journey took him from Venice to such countries as Burma, India, Tibet, the Middle East and China and Marco Polo Ortigas celebrated its second anniversary by retracing his steps through musical selections that range from the Lakme Bell Song to Kashmir to the Turandot Liu Aria and such timeless Neapolitan songs as Funiculi Funicula and O Sole Mio.

Silken Roads, Silken Voices Marco Polo Ortigas Manila
NIGHT OF MUSIC. Gerphil Flores (center), Francisco Aseniero (3rd from left) and the Philippine Opera Company regaled guests of Silken Voices, Silken Roads: An Opera Gala Dinner in Marco Polo Ortigas Manila.

Frank Reichenbach, Marco Polo Ortigas general manager, said last Monday’s Silken Voices, Silken Roads marks the beginning of what will become a yearly tradition of the Marco Polo group of hotels.

Marco Polo beginnings

“This was something we had in mind for our second anniversary this year. We hope to make it a travelling event and bring it to Cebu and Davao. I will also ask Marco Polo Hongkong to consider this. The Filipino talent we heard tonight is definitely worth exporting to the world,” he said during the event.

He was referring to famous tenor Francisco Aseniero, Asia’s Got Talent runner-up Gerphil Flores, violinist Joseph Brian Cimafranca, and performers from the Philippine Opera Company who serenaded guests with classic musical pieces as they enjoyed a full-course dinner carefully picked to reflect Marco Polo’s journey.

Marco Polo Silken Voices Renee Salud
RENEE SALUD’S pieces, paraded in batches throughout the night, took inspiration as well from Marco Polo’s enriching exploration of the Silk Road.

Flores soared that evening with a stirring rendition of Un Bel Di, the famous aria from Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly.”

The Marco Polo Hotels started out as a restaurant visited by travelers and they became the inspiration for the group’s chain of luxury accommodations. That consummate traveler, Marco Polo, became the hotel’s icon.

Marco Polo Frank Reichenbach
FILIPINO TALENT. Marco Polo Ortigas general manager Frank Reichenbach says Silken Voices, Silken Roads marks the beginning of what will become a yearly tradition of the Marco Polo group of hotels.

Opera gala dinner

Just as Marco Polo’s expedition along the Silk Road was also a discovery of diverse cuisine, the Silken Voices, Silken Roads gala dinner brought guests on a rich and scrumptious journey through dishes inspired by the flavors of the West and the Middle and Far East.

The Italian beef tenderloin carpaccio marinated with herbs, parmesan, and shaved truffle dressing for appetizer paired with a glass of Pinot Grigio was followed by baby calamari and roasted duck simmered in red curry and topped with lemongrass cappuccino accompanied by Trebi wine.

Marco Polo Silken Voices
Italian beef tenderloin carpaccio marinated with herbs, parmesan, and shaved truffle dressing.

Executive chef Lluis Pesarrodona wowed with his chicken kebab roulade with orange flavored hummus and dried fruits while Chinese chef Ken Leung put 20 years of culinary experience into the creation of the stir-fried Lapu-Lapu and tiger prawn in XO sauce and soft tofu. Dessert was a riot of tasty treats made up of hazelnut opera cake, coffee jelly, and Tahiti vanilla sauce complemented by Bellagio red.

Renee Salud’s elegant creations, paraded in batches throughout the night, took inspiration as well from Marco Polo’s enriching exploration of the Silk Road.

Marco Polo Silken Voices, Silken Roads
CEBU MEDIA. Marco Polo officials Frank Reichenbach (left), Lara Scarrow (4th from left), Julie Najar (center), Manna Alcaraz (6th from left), and Judith Los Baños (2nd from right) with Cebu journalists at the “Silken Voices, Silken Roads” gala dinner.

(All photos on the page were provided by Marco Polo Ortigas Manila)

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By Marlen Limpag

Marlen is the editor of MyCebu.ph and co-founder of Cebu-based journalism startup InnoPub Media.