Sal Malaki (left) and Antoni Mendezona star in "Noli Me Tangere-Opera." Photo: Handout
MANILA – An opera based on the 1887 novel by national hero Jose Rizal is set to be staged in New York in October.
“Noli Me Tangere-Opera” by National Artists Felipe de Leon and Guillermo Tolentino will have a limited run at The Kaye Playhouse in Hunter College from October 4 to 6.
Filipino-American conductor Michael Dadap encouraged New York audiences to catch the show, which he described as a “rare musical experience.”
“This operatic masterpiece by de Leon and Guillermo has great sense of nationalism; the lyrics are in Tagalog [supertitles in English will be provided], which make it even more powerful for the Filipino-Americans in the audience,” he said.
Finished by de Leon and Guillermo in 1957, “Noli Me Tangere-Opera” is considered the country’s first full-length opera. The first Filipino opera is the one-act “Sandugong Panaginip,” which was written in 1902.
New York-based businesswoman Loida Nicolas Lewis, the production’s chairperson, brought “Noli Me Tangere-Opera” to New York after watching it in Chicago last year.
“The music of de Leon is world-class in that vein of Puccini and Verdi. However, de Leon’s kundiman strain throughout the piece is very strong,” Lewis said. “Filipinos should be proud. This is our own. Ang galing natin.”
“Noli Me Tangere-Opera” stars world-renowned Filipino opera singers Sal Malaki (Juan Crisostomo Ibarra), Antoni Mendezona (Maria Clara), Andrew Fernando (Padre Damaso), Robert Perla Gomez (Elias), Maria Christina Navarro (Sisa) and Kirby Asunto (Basilio).
Tickets to the show are priced at $60 to $150 each. For more information, visit nolimetangereoperanyc.org.