By Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

October 4, 2013

NEW YORK – With a 38-piece live orchestra and a cast of world renowned Filipino opera singers “Noli Me Tangere – The Opera,” is a must-see musical masterpiece that premiere’s it’s limited run in New York Friday.
Loida Nicolas Lewis, Chair of the “Noli Me Tangere” NYC production says that the Tagalog production is needed, praising composer Felipe De Leon, a Philippine National Artist.

Written by Philippine National Artist Felipe Padilla de Leon, Noli Me Tangere is Philippine National Hero Dr. Jose Rizal’s Epic novel that inspired the 1896 Philippine revolution against Spain.
It’s a 3-act opera sung in Tagalog that follows the life of Juan Crisostomo Ibarra – as he exposes the ills of the society, the oppression of the Spanish rule and the atrocities committed in the name of the Catholic Church at that time.

Ibarra is played by Grammy award winning tenor, Sal Malaki.

“Noli Me Tangere is an eye opener, not just for Filipinos, expats or whatever noh, but also for non-Filipinos who will be watching this opera dahil hindi naman talaga nila alam what was going on at that time,” said Malaki.

Antoni Mendezona, who plays Maria Clara says this is a story of love, betrayal and revenge between her lover Juan Crisostomo Ibarra and her father Padre Damaso. “It’s very sentimental for me to do this because, it’s who we are, Noli shaped the Philippines, its exactly who the Philippines is and it’s amazing that we’re doing it in New York, because this is a world stage, finally this is what that the Philippines needs,” Mendezona said.

Coloratura Maria Cristina Navarro plays the tragic character Sisa – mother of Crispin and Basilio – who is a victim of physical and sexual abuses by condescending friars, brutal civil guards and her cruel husband.

Noli Me Tangere is playing at the Kay Playhouse at the Hunter College in Manhattan until Sunday.

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