By Angelita Felixberto
Washington D.C. : For the first time, Jose Rizal’s famous novel “Noli Me Tangere” will be staged at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. as an OPERA on 8-9 August 2014. The opera will be presented at the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, by the Mid-Atlantic Foundation for Asian Artists (MAFFAA) in coooperation with its major sponsor, the Migrant Heritage Commission (MHC). After the Washington DC showing, Noli Me Tangere The Opera is slotted for twenty one shows from September 11 through 28, 2014 at the Resort World Manila, Manila, Philippines. The Noli Me Tangere The Opera first premiered in Chicago in 2012, through the KGB Productions. From Chicago it was then brought to New York by the Foundation for Filipino Artists, Inc. (FFAI) chaired by Loida Nicolas-Lewis, as part of the 25th anniversary celebration of Filipino-American History Month.
Inspired A Revolution
The “Noli Me Tangere” published in 1887, indirectly inspired a revolution, as the novel exposed the inequities of the Spanish Catholic priests and the ruling government. The work also paved the way for a national consciousness, national identity and brought to a pedestal, the personification of the ideal Filipina woman as someone who has unwavering loyalty to her spouse. “Noli Me Tangere” was noted for having lampooned, caricatured and exposed the various social ills during the colonial history of the Philippines. “Noli Me Tangere,” in Latin, means “Touch Me Not” and it refers to John 20:17 in the Bible as Mary Magdalene tried to touch the newly risen Jesus and he replied “ Touch me not, for I am not yet ascended to my Father. “ The novel is followed by a sequel, “El Filibusterismo.”
The novel “Noli Me Tangere” had been translated into several languages at the start of the 20th century, and had been adapted for literature, theater, television and film throughout the last almost hundred years. The opera is set against the intriguing backdrop of 1890 Spanish colonial Philippines with period costumes and sets. The opera features more than 100 production cast and crew with mostly of Asian heritage background.
Working Behind the Scenes
The producers, the Mid-Atlantic Foundation for Asian Artists, Inc. (MAFFAA) is a not-for-profit performing and visual arts organization based in Maryland which aims to propagate, perform and present the rich and culturally diverse artistic works associated with the Philippines and Asia. It also functions to remedy the under representation in the performing, visual, and other arts, of individuals and groups with strong identity, and, or, interest in Asian culture and artistic heritage. MAFFAA is a 501©3 tax exempt organization, founded by Dr. Ed and Lorna Imperial-Seidel with Matthew Aninzo as a Board Member and Patrick Realiza as the PR Director. Jerry Sibal and Edwin Josue are the Executive Producers.
H..E. Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. Loida Nicolas-Lewis, Esq. are the Honorary Chairs for the event
The Migrant Heritage Commission (MHC), the major sponsor, is a Washington DC-based non-profit , service-oriented 501 c(3) tax exempt non-governmental organization(NGO) that protects and promotes the cultural identity of Filipino immigrants in the US. It also addresses the growing concerns of migrant communities. The three MHC Executive Directors are Arnedo Valera, Esq. , Grace Valera-Jaramillo and Jesse Gatchalian. Proceeds for the August 9 show will be for the “Rebuilding Lives, Building the Future” project of MHC for the Typhoon Haiyan victims in the Philippines.
A press conference will be co-hosted by the Embassy of the Philippines and the Migrant Heritage Commission (MHC) on July 16, 2014 at the Philippine Embassy from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The artists, producers and sponsors will be there to meet the press and guests. The Noli Me Tangere production at the Kennedy Center is a historic moment and cultural pride for the Philippines for it will be the first time that an OPERA of its kind will be presented in the U.S. capital at the most prestigious venue for the performing arts in the U.S.
The August 8th showing of Noli Me Tangere is a private, by invitation only event. The August 9, 2014 performance is open to the public with tickets sold at $60, $80 and $100.. For tickets and other information, please call (202) 247-0117/703-675-6334 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For media relations, please contact Angelita Felixberto of The Catalyst Omnimedia at (774) 214-8039.