Full Philippine Premiere of Dvorak’s Rusalka at Cultural Center of the Philippines and UP College of Music

The University of the Philippines College of Music will bring to life Antonin Dvorak’s heart-rending lyric fairy tale opera Rusalka on 11 and 12 September, 7:30pm at the Cultural Center of the Philippines Little Theater, Pasay City, and on 23 and 24 September, 6:30pm at the Abelardo Hall Auditorium, Quezon City. The show is directed by Alegria Ferrer with chamber orchestra to be conducted by Josefino Toledo and with sets and lighting design by Dan Silvestre and David Ohm, respectively.

In the cast are brilliant young Filipino sopranos Fame Flores and Bianca Camille Lopez, who will alternate in characterizing the difficult main role of a water sprite (serena) named Rusalka who aspires to love a human being but, in the process, was rejected and who, therefore, learnt the hazards of loving a fleshly creature that a human being is.

A full premiere of the work in the Philippines, UP’s Rusalka will be adapted to a Filipino setting, particularly to the time of Isabelo de los Reyes (1864-1938), whose contribution to knowledge of Philippine folklore is pioneering. An ilustrado intellectual of late 19th to early 20th centuries, de los Reyes documented narratives of living Philippine folk beliefs and practices of his time in order to build an archive of Philippine culture so as to understand the uniqueness of Philippine society in relation to universal truth and science.

The love that Rusalka learns in dealing with a human being in this fairy tale opera, though originating far from the Philippines, is one such truth and Isabelo de los Reyes would have easily understood its universal message. As a homage to him being a cosmopolitan Filipino nationalist who is celebrating his 150th birth centenary this year, UP College of Music juxtaposes, without translating, the original music of this opera that will be sung in English with characters whose names are familiar to Filipinos such as the spirits of the environment like diwata, hukluban, serena, nuno ng lawa, etc.

Tickets at 600 pesos each for the CCP shows and at 500 pesos each for UP are now on sale, with discounts to senior citizens and currently enrolled students. For further details, please call UP College of Music at 926.0026 or 9296963 or through UP trunkline at 981-8500 local 2639. One may also visit http://www.facebook.com/UPCollegeofmusic or twitter.com/UPCMu2014

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