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Atang Dela Rama ...

The Queen of Zarzuela

Date of Birth 11 January 1905, Manila, Philippines Date of Death 11 July 1991, Philippines Birth Name Honorata de la Rama Nickname Queen of Zarzuela Atang Trivia As Queen of Zarzuela, she starred in more than 50 zarzuelas. Started her career at age seven after being cast in Spanish zarzuelas such as "Mascota", "Sueo de un Vals" and "Marina". She starred in several veladas, a literary musical program. Acted in the very first Filipino /Tagalog film, Dalagang bukid (1919). In 1919 the young Atang sang "Nabasag ang Banga" ("The Clay Pot Broke") in the stage play "Dalagang Bukid" ("Country Maiden") byHermogenes Ilagan and Leon Ignacio. When Jose Nepomuceno, who historians of the Filipino film industry have called "Father of Philippine Movies", decided to make a big-screen version of the popular stage play as his first production venture, he tapped Atang. Since sound had not yet been incorporated into motion pictures in 1919, Nepomuceno had to resort to what must have been quite a novelty at the time--during screenings of the movie, Atang stood behind the screen to sing the theme song to the accompaniment of a three-man band consisting of a violinist, a trumpet player and a pianist. It paid off, however, and the movie became a hit. In 1979 (age 74), Atang was formally honored as the Queen of Kundiman. National Artist of the Philippines for Theater and Music. She was the Philippines' most celebrated vaudeville actress.