Meet the Cast of 2019 NOLI ME TANGERE, THE OPERA; Two Weeks Till Opening Night!
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 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 Lopez (Maria Clara); Ivan Nery and Nomher U. Nival (Juan Crisostomo Ibarra); Allison Cervantes, Kelly Peralejo, and Bernadette Mamauag (Sisa); Joseleo Logdat (Elias); Greg Abelardo de Leon (Pilosopo Tasyo); Nil's Flores and Ronaldo Villaruel Abarquez (Padre Damaso; Abarquez also plays Kapitan Tiago at certain performances); Miguel Espiritu (Kapitan Tiago); 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), Jose Mari Javato (Padre Salvi), Charina Althea Balmores (Sinang), Micah David J. Galang (Andeng), Krissan Manikan-Tan (Tiya Isabel), Timothy Racho (Alferez), Ruzzel Clemeno (Don Filipo), Tomas Virtucio (Albino/Linares), Lorenz Edward Sarrondo (Linares), Rare Jireh Yzel Columna (Victoria), and Renz Nathaniel Cruz (Manlilibing).
The large ensemble includes Lawrence Roxas, Roxanne Abuel, Neomi Giron, Eden Lorrice Dumlao, Sheila Gamo, Mavel Bautista, Cris Go, Krystl Buesa, Katrine Jamar Sunga, Angeli Benipayo, Elle Tuason, Erielle Fornes, Via Villasin, Marifel Motilla, Airo Saret, Kevin Chen, Michael Del Rosario, Charlene Ramos, and Otepp Billeza.
Co-directed by New York-based event stylist Jerry Sibal, who also does the set and costume design, 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.
Get the know the principal cast below!
Nerissa De Juan (Maria Clara)
Nerissa, soprano, started her musical training when she joined her church's choir at the age of nine. At age 15, she was taught basic vocal techniques by her choir's organist and then became a choir soloist at age 16. This led to her pursuit of a Bachelor's Degree in Music, Major in Voice under Prof. Ligaya B.G. Quinitio at the New Era University College of Music (2014-2017).
At age 19, She made her professional operatic debut as Maria Clara in Felipe Padilla De Leon's Noli Me Tangere, The Opera at the Cultural Center of The Philippines (CCP) in 2017.
At present, she is continuing her studies in Vocal Performance at the University of Santo Tomas Conservatory Of Music under Prof. Gloria Dizon Coronel. She is also a grantee of the OPPA (Original Pilipino Performing Arts) Foundation Scholarship Grant.
Nomher U. Nival (Crisostomo Ibarra)
Nomher, tenor, is a First Prize winner of the 2007 National Music Competition for Young Artists (NAMCYA), Male, Category A and the 2015 Jovita Fuentes Vocal Competition (Male Category). He was also the recipient of the Mr. and Mrs. Tommy Steyer Encouragement Award at the prestigious Marcello Giordani Foundation International Vocal Competition 2013 in Vero Beach, Florida.
He sang the role of Crisostomo Ibarra in Felipe Padilla De Leon's opera adaptation of Noli Me Tangere when it was staged at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) in 2017.
He also participated at the prestigious Pacific Music Festival (PMF) held in Sapporo, Japan, in 2012, where he worked with baritone Roberto Servile and soprano Marlis Petersen, and performed with the PMF orchestra under the baton of Metropolitan Opera conductor Fabio Luisi. In 2015, he returned to the PMF, where he worked with soprano Gabriella Tucci.
Bianca Lopez (Maria Clara)
Bianca holds a diploma in Creative and Performing Musical Arts, Major in Voice, from the University of the Philippines'College of Music under Prof. Cecilia Valeña. She was a member of the Philippine Madrigal Singers (Madz) for nine years starting in 2007, when they won the European Grand Prix in Arezzo, Italy, until August 2015. She has done numerous concerts with the Madz throughout Europe, North and South America, Asia, and the Philippines.
She played the title role in Antonin Dvorak's Rusalka at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) and at the Abelardo Hall of the UP College of Music in 2014. She also played Paz, the wife of Juan Luna, in Spoliarium, composed by National Artist Ryan Cayabyab, at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center in Manhattan, New York.
She is also part of the classical-pop crossover duo, The Nightingales, which toured the United States in 2018.
Ivan Nery (Crisostomo Ibarra)
Described as "an artist who possesses a beautiful voice that is smooth and clear and with a wide range of coloring plus unsullied musicality," tenor Ivan Nery has been slowly earning the reputation as one of the most promising young tenors and a major talent to look up to in the country today. (The Philippine Daily Inquirer)
He has been very active in the country's opera and classical scene in the past few years, portraying mostly lead roles: Crisostomo Ibarra in Felipe Padilla De Leon's Noli Me Tangere, The Opera, Ferrando in Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutte, and Juan Luna/Jose Rizal in Ryan Cayabyab's Spoliarium, where he made his international debut in Manhattan, New York. He recently joined the Singapore Lyric Opera's ASEAN vocal competition and made it to the finals.
He won the First Prize in the Jovita Fuentes Vocal Competition and was an Aliw Award nominee for Best Actor in a Musical (Noli Me Tangere, The Opera) and also a nominee for Best Classical Performer.
Allison Cervantes (Sisa)
Allison, a voice and piano teacher at Shine Note, is currently studying Creative and Performing Musical Arts at the University of the Philippines.
At age eight, she trained in basic singing at the Lea De Castro Music Studio & Artist Center and had her first voice recital at SM Bacoor. She has performed at Letter and Music (Net 25), "Concert at the Park," (Buwan ng Wika), "Paco Park Presents" (Philippine-German Month). She was also part of the ensemble in the 2017 staging of Noli Me Tangere, The Opera at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP).
She recently participated in the Iglesia Ni Cristo "Songs of Faith, Love and Hope" National Voice Competition and made it to the finals.
Kelly Peralejo (Sisa)
Kelly holds a Bachelor's Degree in Music, Voice Performance, and is under the tutelage of Prof. Ma. Cecilia Valeña. She was a Finalist at the 2017 NAMCYA (National Music Competitions for Young Artists) in the Senior Voice Category.
Alongside her singing, Kelly is a classically trained ballet dancer under the mentorship of her aunt, Desiree Peralejo, at the DBC-ISAS Conservatory. She has completed her Advanced 1 Examination in the Cecchetti Ballet syllabus, and Advanced Foundation in the RAD (Royal Academy of Dance) syllabus. She is also an internationally-accredited Associate Teacher for the Cecchetti Ballet syllabus under Cecchetti Ballet Australia.
Her previous credits include Anna 1 in Die Sieben Todsünden by Kurt Weill, Romilda in Xerxes E Romilda (Serse by Handel), Jenny in Three Sisters Who Are Not Sisters, and Papa Ge in Once On This Island, among others.
Bernadette Mamauag (Sisa)
Bernadette, an alumna of the Philippine Madrigal Singers (Madz), has been part of the competing group in Arezzo, Italy 2016 and the European Grand Prix in Tolosa, Spain 2017. She toured with the group across Asia, the United States, and Europe.
She finished her Bachelor of Music degree, Major in Voice Performance, at the University of Santo Tomas Conservatory of Music under Prof. Lemuel Dela Cruz and now under the voice coaching of Maestra Gloria Dizon Coronel.
Previous performances include the Foreign Princess in Antonín Dvo?ak's Rusalka and Maria in West Side Story. She was also part of Beethoven's Fidelio with Singapore Symphony Orchestra, Bizet's Carmen with Lyric Opera Production, and "Mad About Mozart" and "Love Sings" with Philippine Opera Company.
Noel Comia Jr. (Basilio)
Noel is a 14-year old, Grade 8 student of O.B. Montessori Center in Greenhills. He is a commercial model, theater/film actor, and a recording artist, managed by MCA Music Inc.
A multi-awarded actor, Noel received the Hall of Fame for Best Child Performer from the Aliw Awards Foundation 2018. In the same year, Noel was also named Best Actor In A Musical at the BroadwayWorld Regional Awards.
In film, Noel won the Balanghai trophy for Best Actor for Thop Nazareno's "Kiko Boksingero" at the Cinemalaya 2017. He is the youngest actor to win the said award in the history of Cinemalaya. On TV, he has appeared on ABS-CBN shows such as "Your Face Sounds Familiar," "The Voice Kids Season 3," "The Good Son," "MMK," "Ipaglaban Mo," "Team Yey," and "Umagang Kay Ganda."
Mari Yapjoco (Basilio)
In 2017, Mari played Basilio, which he reprises this year, at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) and J&S Productions' Noli Me Tangere, The Opera. He also played Crispin when the opera was staged at Resorts World Manila in 2014.
He made his professional theater debut as one of the royal children ("Naughty Orange Prince") in The King and I (2012-2013). His other theater credits include Horton, the Elephant in Seussical (2014), Jerome in South Pacific In Concert (2015), Young Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar (2015), Hansel in Hansel and Gretel (2016), Fred's Son in A Christmas Carol (2016), and Toby in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (2017-2018).
Santino Juan Santiago (Crispin)
Santino is a grade school student, on full scholarship, at Saint John The Baptist Catholic School in San Juan, Manila. He made his professional theater debut in Katips: Mga Batang Katipunero in 2016. He also played Crispin in Noli Me Tangere, The Opera at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) in 2017.
He is a commercial model and part of the cast of ABS-CBN's "Team Yehey Season 3" and "Umagang Kay Ganda."
Joseleo Logdat (Elias)
Joseleo finished his Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance at Elisabeth University of Music in Hiroshima, Japan where he was chosen as the Best Recitalist for the year 2014. He started singing in a choir in Boac, Marinduque under Rev. Fr. Edwin Sager who inspired him to pursue his music career.
His awards include the 2nd Prize (Opera Category) at the 14th Osaka International Music Competition and the Grand Prix Winner at the 6th Yokohama International Music Competition (2012) where he also won the First Prize in the Professional Voice Category. He is also an awardee of the 2013 Ani ng Dangal (Harvest of Honors) for Music.
His previous credits include Colline in Puccini's La Boheme, Figaro in Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro, Kapitan Tiyago in Noli Me Tangere, The Opera, Marco in Puccini's Gianni Schicchi, and Melchor in Menotti's Amahl And The Night Visitors.
Nil's Flores (Padre Damaso)
Nil's graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from the College of the Immaculate Conception (CIC) in Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija in 2008. He was a member of the CIC Chorale under its conductor, Philippine Madrigal Singers (Madz) alumnus Alfred Samonte, before he himself joined the Madz in 2010. He has since been touring the world, particularly Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and the United States as part of the world-renowned semi-circle.
With music becoming a huge part of his life, he is currently a BM Voice student at the College of Music in UP Diliman, under Prof. Cecilia Ongsiako-Valeña.
His previous opera credits include Horace Tabor in Douglas Moore's Ballad of Baby Doe and Tutor in Luigi Cherubini's Medea.
Ronaldo Villaruel Abarquez (Padre Damaso / Kapitan Tiago)
Ronaldo, who finished his Bachelor's Degree in Music at the University of Santo Tomas, performed as bass-baritone for the first professional choir in the Philippines, San Miguel Master Chorale, under National Artist Ryan Cayabyab.
Besides participating in various local and international concerts, he has been part of six recording projects of the San Miguel Foundation for the Performing Arts, which include the "Sacred Works of Ryan Cayabyab" (2003), "Great Filipino Music" (2004), "Pasko I" (2006), "Pasko II" (2006), "Great Original Filipino Music at the Movies" (2006), and "Dancing in the Rain" (2006).
He was the conductor and musical director of Kammerchor Manila.
Greg Abelardo de Leon (Pilosopo Tasyo)
Greg, a voice instructor at the University of the Philippines (UP) College of Music Extension Program, is currently pursuing his Master's Degree in Theater at UP, where he also received his Bachelor's Degree in Music, Major in Voice, in 2013.
His previous opera credits include Il Trovatore (Singapore Lyric Opera), Carmen (Singapore Lyric Opera), Gianni Schicchi (Singapore Lyric Opera), Il Pagliacci (Cultural Center of the Philippines), Noli Me Tangere, The Opera (Dulaang UP), La Traviata (Dae Jung Opera), Rigoletto (Dae Jung Opera), and La Boheme (MusicArtes Opera).
Miguel Espiritu (Kapitan Tiago)
Miguel Espiritu, tenor, studied Voice under the tutelage of famed soprano Camille Lopez-Molina at the UP College of Music and graduated Magna Cum Laude in 2018.
He has appeared as the Hunter in Rusalka (2014), Giuseppe in La Traviata (2017), and Don Lupito Herencia in Diwata ng Bayan (2017).
He has also participated in masterclasses by Nelly Miricioiu-Kirk, Susan Waters, Knut Schock, Alan Bennett, Andión Fernández, and Noel Velasco, and is a two-time semifinalist of the Jovita Fuentes Vocal Competition.
He currently performs with the Viva Voce Voice Lab.
"Noli Me Tangere, The Opera" plays the Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo at the CPP on May 8-10, 2019.
The opera is performed with English supertitles.
Ticket Outlets: J&S Productions Inc. 63947 168 1714, 63915 819 3459, or 632 998 2356, CCP Box Office 632 832 3704/06, or TicketWorld 632 891 9999, TicketWorld.com.ph.
Photos: Mark Francis Parallag