We are written in a variety of lengths and styles, analogous to song lyrics, and it is up to the writer to determine how metaphors and rhymes will work entrancingly. However, to create euphonious music, we must sync to its rhythm and melody—just as young tenor and theater actor Arman Ferrer allows life to flow and his talent to shine wherever it goes.
At nine years old, his mother urged him to join the Claret Boys’ Choir. It was at that point that he first realized that he would be hooked on the arts, particularly music, for the rest of his life.
“Both sides of my family are musically inclined but I’m the first to make it into a profession,” he tells Rank Magazine as he gears up to mark a career first, headlining the sophomore offering of the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ themed concert series, “Triple Threats”.
Beautiful artworks and masterpieces, like skill, need references and sources of inspiration. Ferrer’s current podium would not emerge without his greatest musical influence, Mark Anthony Carpio, choirmaster of the Philippine Madrigal Singers and his choirmaster when he joined the Claret Boys’ Choir. “I owe him a huge part of my musicality; I always say that he’s the father of my musicality.”
Aside from its exquisite melody and unfeigned lyrics, “Portrait Of My Love” is a song that drew him in because it is also the theme song and favorite song of both his father’s and mother’s grandparents. “I am very close with them, that’s why this song is very special and endearing to my heart.”
Despite how phenomenal he is today performing on stage, Ferrer initially had no intentions of entering musical theater, where artists are often measured with exceptional singing and acting. Without any experience in acting classes, in contrast to his formal vocal lessons, he admits never having the drive to forge a path in this direction.
Suit, Edwin Tan.
“I will never forget my very first audition. It was for a school play in Claret School to stage Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’. I was at the quadrangle playing basketball when someone called me and said that the director wanted to hear me. I immediately went to the audition room—still sweaty, as I didn’t get the chance to freshen up—and sang! Right then and there, the director asked me, ‘Do you want to play the role of Joseph?’ That was my first experience with musicals where I had to sing, dance, and act. You really never forget your first.”
Fast forward to today, already touted as one of the most decorated musical theater actors of his time, in his young career, at 34, Ferrer has since taken on lead roles in theater, starting his foray into theater acting in the Carlitos Siguion Reyna-directed Tanghalang Pilipino production of “Walang Sugat” at the CCP.
He then performed in several productions, including “The Best of Opera” at Resorts World Manila, “A Christmas Carol” for 9Works, “Mabining Mandirigma” at CCP, along with two original musicals for acclaimed director Joel Lamangan for titles “Maynila: Sa Mga Kuko sa Liwanag” and “Binondo: A Tsinoy Musical“, collecting numerous praise and accolades.
Jacket, Bershka. Trousers, Edwin Tan.
In the midst of the pandemic, in 2021, he headlined the titular role of Filipino hero, Lapu Lapu, in the musical “Lapu Lapu”, a historic first for the the newly-renovated Metropolitan Theater (MET), with “Ang Huling El Bimbo” director Dexter Santos at the helm.
Beefing up his ever-evolving portfolio of achievements, Ferrer has already won an Aliw Award as Best Crossover Artist and an Awit Award for Best Christmas Song by National Artist Ryan Cayabyab.
Weighing, however, which is greater between being a singer or being a theatrical actor, Ferrer holds true to his singing DNA, with an unflinching conviction on it his as his true calling since it is his oasis of peace and the place where he can express who he is and how he feels.
Notwithstanding his accolades, Ferrer claims that the Philippines has a rich musical history, but to some extent, few classical musicians, singers, or performers manage to enter or survive on a more mainstream level, especially in classical and opera music.
Trench coat, turtle neck, Uniqlo. Trousers, Edwin Tan.
He asserts, however, that kundiman and Filipino music were at its height in the 1950s, 1960s, and possibly into the 1980s with well-known performers Sylvia la Torre, Gloria Coronel, Mabuhay Singers, and Ruben Tagalog hailed in the pantheon of names that left an indelible mark.
This, to him, adds to his ethos as a young artist with an already unsurpassable caliber, to bridge the classical music to the young and to re-awaken our sensibilities on the greatness that is pure Filipino talent.
“I think what we need is a venue for people to listen and to watch these kinds of shows, and give a space to appreciate how beautiful our music is. The government should also support us on this. If they can support sports, why can’t they support the arts as well?”
“On our end, we will try our best to make sure that classical music, opera, and kundiman are more relatable and accessible to the audience. Rebranding is needed without sacrificing the art, of course.”
Enthralled to perform at his first-ever solo concert, Ferrer feels privileged to be doing it at the CCP’s brand-new black box theater. He will give the greatest performance he is capable of.
“Since our title is ‘All of Me,’ the audience could expect a repertoire of classical songs, musical theater numbers, pop ballads, OPM, inspirational, and nationalistic songs.”
“I plan to take professional training in acting, and dance as well, to make me a more well-rounded artist.”
With everything that’s working for him right now, Ferrer, with an unrelenting thirst for growth, is looking at his career as a blank canvas with limitless possibilities as he seeks out to continue to explore the vast expanse of performance art.
With a recently-released track of “Give Me A Chance” out now on digital platforms and his first-ever solo concert, it goes to show that Ferrer is ending the year on a high note, with a look at the future that’s glowing as ever.
With additional text by Leo Balante
Produced, creative direction, and styling by Leo Balante
Photography by Jerick Sanchez
Grooming by Vince Leendon
Shot on location at Studio LAJ