Manila, Philippines–The Philippines’ first full-length opera, National Artists Guillermo Tolentino and Felipe Padilla De Leon’s most beloved 1957 opera, “Noli Me Tangere” (Huwag Mo Salangin/Touch Me Not) returns to the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ (CCP) main theatre, Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo, from March 8-10, 2019.
In partnership with the CCP, in time for its 50th anniversary, with support from the Honorable Senator Loren Legarda, J&S Productions Inc., the producers behind the opera’s acclaimed performances at the Kaye Playhouse in New York City (2013), the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C. (2014), the Newport Performing Arts Theatre at Resorts World Manila (2014), and the CCP (2017), which commemorated the opera’s 60th anniversary, fulfills its commitment anew to keep this masterpiece alive for the young Filipino audiences to experience and enjoy.
In this 2019 all-new production, about 200 actors-classical singers, classical musicians, and production crew are joining forces to stage this grand, “elegant affair” (The Washington Post, 2014). Leading the cast 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); Nazer Salcedo and 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).
Also joining the cast are Mia Bolanos (Dona Victorina), Oliver Pineda (Tenyente Guevarra), 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, Charina Balmores, Katrine Sunga, Angelica Benipayo, Ma. Arielle Tuason, Erielle Fornes, Ma. Vicella Villasin, Ma. Pilar Ramos, Marifel Motilla, Jose Mari Jovato, Jose Miguel Espiritu, Lorenz Sarrondo, Renz Cruz, Airo Saret, Francisco de Guzman Jr., Mark Morales, Kevin Jeremy, John del Rosario, and Joseph Billeza.
Co-directed by New York-based event stylist Jerry Sibal, who also does the set design and costumes, and veteran actor-director Jose Jeffrey Camanag, featuring the 53-piece NOLI Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Herminigildo Ranera, “Noli Me Tangere, The Opera,” which is based on the National Hero Dr. Jose Rizal’s 1887 classic novel of the same name, tells the timeless story about love, betrayal, and hope set against a repulsive backdrop of tyranny, torture, and murder.
The opera in Three Acts follows Juan Crisostomo Ibarra who returns to the Philippines after pursuing scholarly studies in Europe. He plans to open up a school and marry Maria Clara, his betrothed. However, parish priest Padre Damaso, the archenemy of the Ibarras, is out to hinder Crisostomo’s plans. “Noli Me Tangere” depicts the abuses suffered by the native Indios at the hands of Spanish tyrants. The opera paints a clear picture of the so-called “social cancer” that illustrates the rotten system of governance, the illicit way of the church, and the unfavorable trade of the privileged class.
The artistic and design team for this much-awaited production also includes Raul Sunico, artistic director; Albert Figueras, co-costume designer; Joseph Matheu, lighting designer; Ronan Ferrer, vocal coach and choirmaster; Dingdong Fiel, pianist and assistant musical director; Marty Tabio and Glendel Dacumos, technical directors, and Jojo Casim, project director.
“Expect a brand-new production of the ‘Noli Opera.’ We will be using LED walls instead of mapping projections alongside physical set pieces, which create a more ‘cinematic’ look and feel,” says Sibal. “Although it’s very expensive to mount this opera, ambitious even, we’d like this new production to be more affordable to students* (*tickets at 50 percent off!) and the art enthusiasts.
“Together with my partner, Edwin Josue, this is our advocacy project. We’re committed to promoting our arts and language, our culture and heritage, especially this beautiful work of our National Artists Felipe P. De Leon and Guillermo Tolentino.”
“Noli Me Tangere, The Opera unfolds as an elegant affair.” – Washington Post
“Jerry Sibal creates the attractive costumes and sets.” – New York Times
“It’s a Gift to Filipinos.” – Philippine Daily Inquirer
“This production is going for grand, not only in design but also in scale.” -BWW Opera
Major sponsor and media partners include LumoXChange, Ilustrado Restaurant, Philippine Women’s University, RiteMed, People’s Journal, People’s Tonight, Women’s Journal. PTV, Chinoy TV, WhenInManila.com, SkedSearch, Fab Manila. 98.7 DZFE, Wazzup Pilipinas, and Mark Francis Parallag Photography.
Performances: March 8 (Fri.-Gala), 8 p.m., March 9 (Sat.-Matinee), 2 p.m., and March 10 (Sun.-Matinee), 2 p.m.
Ticket Prices: Gala: Orchestra Center – P3,500, Orchestra Side/Parterre – P2,800, Balcony 1 Center-P1,500, Balcony 1 Center – P1,500, Balcony I Side – P1,200, and Balcony II Center & Side – P1,000
Matinee: Orchestra Center – P2,800, Orchestra Side/Parterre – P2,300, Balcony I Center – P1,400, Balcony I Side – P1,200, and Balcony II Center & Side – P900
50% off for students, 20% discount for senior citizens, PWD, government and military personnel
Ticket Outlets: J&S Productions Inc. 0947 168 1714, 0915 819 3459, or 02 998 2356, CCP Box Office 02 832 3704/06, or TicketWorld 02 891 9999, https://ticketworld.com.ph/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/nolioperamanila