Dame Sylvia Obituary, Death – We lost a kundiman genre titan. Although Dame Sylvia la Torre was well-known for her comedic abilities on television in the 1960s, not many people know that Ms. La Torre was a soprano who was trained at a conservatory and collaborated with some of the most famous composers in the field. On December 2, 2022, she passed away. She was the last person who was truly dedicated to practicing the art form known as kundiman, and I believe the Philippines missed an opportunity to recognize her as a significant cultural bearer deserving of the title of National Artist.
About a decade and a half ago, I documented my meeting with Ms. La Torre in a post for my blog titled “Searching for Sylvia La Torre.” She had reached the age of 75 at the time of this event “Everything came to a complete and total halt the moment Ms. La Torre entered the room.” We sensed that we were in the company of someone or something of exceptional stature. Even the members of the film crew who were not from the Philippines were taken aback by the news. Ms. La Torre, who is 75 years old, is full of life and exudes the luminous elegance and massive personality that was so successfully translated into the television sets of yesteryear. She is prepared for the show and has maintained the comedic timing that is her trademark.
It dawned on us that it is a scandal that Ms. La Torre is not getting any more exposure despite the fact that she is more than prepared for the limelight and the adoration of millions of fans. In addition, it seems that only a small percentage of Filipinos are aware of the fact that she is a direct source of cultural wealth as well as information regarding the kundiman. She is a genuine expert and one of the few remaining of a rapidly dwindling breed.