One of my favorite discoveries of 2017 is that the Philippines has a full-length opera and it’s based on the famous Jose Rizal novel Noli Me Tangere. Now, it’s set to return to to the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) from March 8 to 10, 2019. This year’s run will coincide with the CCP’s 50th anniversary.
In this 2019 all-new production, about 200 actors-classical singers, classical musicians, and production crew are joining forces to stage this amazing show. This year will be different as they will be using LED walls instead of mapping projections alongside physical set pieces, which will create a more cinematic look and feel.
For those who aren’t familiar with the story, Noli Me Tangere follows Crisostomo Ibarra, a scholar who returns home after studying in Europe for seven years. He is disgusted with the abuses the indios suffer at the hands of Spanish tyrants. The novel details the “social cancer” the Philippines experiences through the oppressive system of governance, the corrupt church, and the elitism in society.
Noli Me Tangere was adapted into an opera in 1957 at the Far Eastern University and is billed as the first Filipino full-length opera and orchestration composed in the Western operatic tradition. It was composed by two National Artists: the libretto was created by Guillermo Tolentino, a sculptor and University of the Philippines (UP) professor who created the UP Oblation and the seal of the Republic of the Philippines; and the music was written by Felipe Padilla de Leon, a Philippine composer known for translating the lyrics of the Philippine national anthem from Spanish to Filipino.
Following its premiere in 1957, it was staged at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) in 1987, New York in 2013, and Washington DC and Resorts World Manila in 2014. In 2017, it celebrated its 60th anniversary with a limited six-performance run.
Leading the cast this year are Nerissa De Juan and Bianca Camille Lopez (Maria Clara); Ivan Niccolo Nery and Nomher Nival (Juan Crisostomo Ibarra); Allison Cervantes, Nicola Micaelle Peralejo, and Bernadette Mamauag (Sisa); Joseleo Logdat (Elias); Greg de Leon (Pilosopo Tasyo); Nils Flores and Ronnie Abarquez (Padre Damaso; Abarquez also plays Kapitan Tiyago at certain performances); Lawrence Roxas (Kapitan Tiyago); Noel Comia Jr. and Mari Yapjoco (Basilio), and Santino Juan Santiago (Crispin).
Joining them are Mia Bolanos (Dona Victorina), Oliver Pineda (Tenyente Guevarra), Jose Mari Javato (Padre Salvi), Charina Balmores (Sinang), Micah Galang (Andeng), Ma. Krissan Tan (Tiya Isabel), Timothy Racho (Alferez), Ruzzel Clemeno (Don Filipo), Tomas Virtucio Jr. (Albino), and Rare Jireh Columna (Victoria).
The large ensemble includes Roxanne Abuel, Neomi Giron, Eden Dumlao, Sheila Gamo, Ma. Rovelyn Bautista, Criselda Go, Ma. Blanca Buesa, Katrine Sunga, Angelica Benipayo, Ma. Arielle Tuason, Erielle Fornes, Ma. Vicella Villasin, Ma. Pilar Ramos, Marifel Motilla, Jose Miguel Espiritu, Lorenz Sarrondo, Renz Nathaniel Cruz, Airo Saret, Kevin Jeremy, John del Rosario, and Joseph Billeza.
The opera is co-directed by New York-based event stylist Jerry Sibal, who also did the set design, and veteran actor-director Jose Jeffrey Camanag, featuring the 53-piece NOLI Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Herminigildo Ranera.
This story is in partnership with J&S Productions. Noli Me Tangere: The Opera will be staged at the Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo of the Cultural Center of the Philippines from March 8 to 10, 2019. There will be 2PM shows on March 9 and 10, and an 8PM show on March 8. A 50% discount is available for students, and 20% for senior citizens, PWD, government and military personnel.
For tickets, inquiries, and discounts, contact J&S Productions, Inc. at 09471681714, 09158193459, or 9982356. You may also call the CCP Box Office at 832 3704 and 06, or visit www.ticketworld.com.ph. For more information, visit www.nolimetangeretheopera.com or the Facebook page.