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‘Noli Me Tangere: The Opera’: Truly world class

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J&S Production’s “Noli Me Tangere: The Opera,” staged for a limited run at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) recently, was something we can all be proud of as being truly Filipino and world class.

Clockwise: Jose Luis Mari Yapjoco as Basilio, Irene Quiso-Ednave as Sisa and Ronan Ferrer as Ibarra (Photos by Aldwin Ku) /mb.com.ph

Clockwise: Jose Luis Mari Yapjoco as Basilio, Irene Quiso-Ednave as Sisa and Ronan Ferrer as Ibarra (Photos by Aldwin Ku)

It was clear from the first few scenes that the scenic and costume designer Jerry Sibal went all out in bringing back audiences to Spanish era Philippines. The traditional clothes worn by the cast was impressive for its authenticity, complemented by the superb stage design.

Most Filipinos are familiar with the story but it’s good the production projected English subtitles on the upper part of the proscenium arch, making it all easy for foreigners in the audience.

With a total of 16 scenes, the fast and smooth transitions were admirable. The 52-piece symphony orchestra, led by Maestro Hermie Ranera of University of Santo Tomas Conservatory of Music, helped a lot in conveying the mood given every scene. Among the most breathtaking ones were the meeting of Ibarra (Ronan Ferrer) and Maria Clara (Aretha Angcao). The giant LED screen showcased visually outstanding scenery that looked lifelike.

The same effect was put to good use when someone dug out the corpse of Ibarra’s father. Note it was also used to depict a storm to astonishing effect.

Jose Luis Mari Yapjoco was quite the revelation as Basilio, with his sweet voice capturing the essence of the character created by José Rizal.

Then again, it should be said Irene Quiso-Ednave was quite electrifying as Sisa, particularly during the scene when her character’s children went missing. Singing “Awit Ng Gabi Ni Sisa” with her high-pitched voiced, she beautifully sounded both strange and frightening prompting some people in the audience to tears.

The same reaction was given to Jose Luis when he sang “Gising Na O Inang Ko” with his adorable voice.

After the show, the cast received a standing ovation from the audience. Bravo!

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