MANILA, Philippines—Dulaang UP opens its 37th season with the restaging of “Noli Me Tangere: The Opera,” the critically-acclaimed operatic retelling by National Artist Felipe Padilla de Leon of Jose Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere with libretto by fellow National Artist Guillermo Tolentino. This restaging is also part of the celebration of the birth centennial of Padilla de Leon. Touted by critics as the musical treat of 2011, the production had a successful, sold-out four-week run in November last year.
“Noli Me Tangere: The Opera” is directed by DUP Artistic Director Alexander Cortez (Cayabyab/ Asensio’s “Spoliarium,” Lumbera/Letaba’s “Hibik at Himagsik” nina Victoria Lactao, Quintos/De Guzman’s “Atang: A Play with Music,” Quintos/ Africa’s “St. Louis Loves dem Filipinos: The Musical.” It is a testament to the ingenuity of the Filipino artist. With two pianos providing the accompaniment to the performances of some of the country’s finest classically-trained singers, the production welds energy and fresh insight together with tradition to breathe life into Rizal’s timeless opus through the transcending power of music.
Under the vocal coaching and music supervision of Camille Lopez Molina, young opera singers Myramae Meneses, Ivan Nery, Antonio Ferrer, Elainne Vibal, Frederick Hipol, Mark Queddeng, and veterans Jonathan Velasco, Pablo Molina, Jean Judith Javier, Greg De Leon and Tanya Corcuera among many others from UP and other music conservatories interpret memorable songs from the opera. Child actors/singers Matthew Anenias and Jhizelei Deocareza play the roles of Basilio and Crispin, respectively. Critics lauded the performances of the cast. Amadís Ma. Guerrero of the Philippine Daily Inquirer described Ferrer (Ibarra) and Vibal (Maria Clara) as, “an appealing couple, visually and vocally.” He also considered Hipol’s Elias as “convincing” and Javier’s Sisa as “spellbinding”.
Among the songs included are Maria Clara’s Kay Tamis ng Buhay, Maria Clara and Ibarra’s duet Sa Lupang Pangako, Sisa’s haunting aria Awit ng Gabi, and Ibarra’s Aking Isinangguni to name but a few. Talented actors from the Dulaang UP ensemble complete the cast. Accompanists are pianists Noel dela Rosa, Daphne Jocson, Jesper Mercado and flutist Dante Lipana.
Production designer Gino Gonzales puts to good use Philippine indigenous materials for the sets and the inabel cloth from the Ilocos region for the costumes. Lighting designer Jon Jon Villareal, sound designer Jethro Joaquin, and choreographer Dexter Santos collaborate to create an all-Filipino ambience fitting for the production. Winter David provides the video support with special props designed and executed by John Gaerlan. Pow Santillan renders the graphics design with photos by Jojit Lorenzo and Dino Dimar.
“Noli Me Tangere: The Opera” is made possible by the UP Office of the President, UP Diliman Office of the Chancellor, Office of the Dean College of Arts and Letters, UP Office for Initiatives in Culture and the Arts, Day by Day Christian Ministries, Ms. Irene M. Araneta, Dr. Joven Cuanang and NCCA Chairman Jun de Leon.
“Noli Me Tangere: The Opera” runs July 18-22, 25-29; August 1 & 2, 8-11 (Wednesday to Friday, 7pm; Saturday and Sunday, 10 am and 3pm. Due to the UPCAT exams on Aug 4 & 5, there will be no performances from Aug 3 -5. Noli resumes Aug 8) at the Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero Theater, Palma Hall, University of the Philippines Diliman.
For sponsorship and ticket inquiries, please contact the Dulaang UP Office at 926-1349, 981-8500 local 2449 or 433-7840.