World premiere of Filipino opera “Diwata ng Bayan”

A latest addition to the Philippine art music literature, Diwata ng Bayan will have its world premiere at the Tanghalan Nicanor Abelardo (Main Theater) of the Cultural Center of the Philippines on February 9, 2017 at 8:00 PM. It is free and open to the public. The music is composed by Carmela Sinco, granddaughter of former UP President Vicente G. Sinco, with the libretto by Ed Maranan, Prof. Dr. Ramon Acoymo as stage and co-music director, the incumbent chair of the UP College of Music Department of Voice, Music Theater, and Dance and Associate Professor Rodbey Ambat, conductor. The opera is set at the end of the 19th century, during the transition from Spanish to American colonial rule, depicting the romantic story of Matias Ylagan and Mayumi Lualhati whose passion for each other goes hand in hand with their patriotism for Inang Bayan. The work draws inspiration from the story of Andres Bonifacio and Gregoria de Jesus of the Katipunan, and the “seditious” dramas of Aurelio V. Tolentino, whose 150th anniversary is being celebrated this year.

The creative work is informed by archival research. It deals in particular on the effects of government policies to the day-to-day life of ordinary Filipinos. Set to the early years of 1900s when the American colonial government legitimated its rule over the inhabitants of the islands, as seen in the anti-sedition law, the law defining the grassroots resistance as “banditry,” which led to social division in Philippine society, and the issue of sovereignty over lands as these continued to be converted to cash crops agriculture, owing to the demand of world market economy.

While the opera is fictional, it is set against a backdrop of historical time when culture change was inevitable in the Philippines due to the rise of a new powerholding class.

Diwata ng Bayan is supported by the Emerging Interdisciplinary Research Program of the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Free tickets are available upon request. Please contact Berns or Lolit at 0919-567-0465 or 981-8500 Local 2639.