The University of the Philippines College of Music will bring to life Antonin Dvorak’s heart-rending lyric fairy tale opera, Rusalka on September 11 and 12, 7:30 PM at the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino in Pasay City, and on September 23 and 24, 6:30 PM at the Abelardo Hall Auditorium, University of the Philippines College of Music in Quezon City. This production is directed by Alegria Ferrer with set and lighting designs by Dan Silvestre and David Ohm. The production will also feature Grupo 20/21, a chamber orchestra conducted by Josefino Chino Toledo.

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.

Rusalka’s Philippine premiere 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. In homage to him as 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.

Tickets at P600 each for the CCP shows and P500 each for UP are now on sale, with discounts offered to currently enrolled students. Tickets are available at all TICKETWORLD outlets and online at For further details, please call UP College of Music at 926-0026 or 929-6963 or through UP trunkline at 981-8500 local 2639.

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