‘Diva 2 Diva,’ a class act all the way
Crispina Martinez. Belen


It was definitely the concert event of the year — probably even of the decade!

Held last Nov. 29 and 30 at the Plenary Hall of the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), the Kuh Ledesma-Zsa Zsa Padilla back-to-back concert “Diva 2 Diva” was everything people expected, and more. From the performers to the venue and its understated but elegant set design, from the songs to the masterful handling of stage director Leo Rialp, from the Rajo Laurel and Edwin Uy costumes to the brilliant musical direction of Louie Ocampo and Floy Quintos’ bitingly witty script, “Diva 2 Diva” was a class act all the way, as a concert featuring the country’s top two divas should be.

It was the first time ever in the careers that these two divas were going to share a stage. So everyone who went to the PICC Plenary Hall probably did so expecting a contest, or at least expecting to find out who was the better diva. Would it be the mestiza (Zsa Zsa) or the morena (Kuh) who would win? Who would have the nicer gowns, the better songs? Who truly deserved to be called a diva?

But Kuh and Zsa Zsa’s credit, the evening didn’t turn into a contest. Everything came together at the right moment. The timing was perfect for a show like this. Everyone agreed it was well worth the 20-year wait.

As scriptwriter Floy Quintos pointed out, “They have never sung together, never done a full-length concert… they’ve resisted the temptation to do a concert like this until now, when their careers have been rightfully established as brilliant, when their contributions to Pinoy pop music have been judged worthy, when their place in the musical firmament has been established through more than two decades of continuous performance.”

Aside from being brilliant, Kuh and Zsa Zsa were also intent on having fun during the show. The audience could see that right from the opening number — a Mozart-inspired rendering of Madonna’s hit “Vogue,” complete with bouffant gowns and powdered wigs. After all, they had waited years to do the show, and they weren’t about to let intrigues and rumored rivalry get in the way of enjoying themselves.

Also, pains were taken to give each diva equal exposure in terms of songs. For instance, each one got to do her own medley of hits. Kuh started off with “Sino Ang Baliw,” while Zsa Zsa did the cover versions that made her famous in the early goings of her career.

They even did a medley of Christmas songs, backed up by the Christ’s Commission Fellowship (CCP) choir, as a pre-Christmas treat for the audience.

But what’s a concert of divas without the usual vocal acrobatics? Kuh and Zsa Zsa obliged with a rendition of the Andrea Bocelli-Celine duet, “The Prayer.” Everyone in the audience was open-mouthed, because they’d never heard “The Prayer” sung as an all-female duet before. But Kuh and Zsa Zsa showed that it could be done, and how!

After the show, there was talk that there would never be a repeat because one diva was upset at the other for this and that slight. But in the end, the joke turned out to be on whoever started the rumor, because Kuh Ledesma and Zsa Zsa Padilla are in fact teaming up for a repeat of their much-acclaimed concert, “Diva 2 Diva.”

The concert was so well-received that Kuh and Zsa Zsa are planning to do a U.S. and national tour of the show in 2003. This is to give in to the clamor from people who didn’t get a chance to see the show, or from those who did see it, and want to see it again.

“Diva 2 Diva” was produced by Kuh’s Headline Concepts and Zsa Zsa’s Zappa Productions.

* * *