Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Ang Ibon at ang Phantom

Severino Reyes’ Walang Sugat, a zarzuela staged by Tanghalang Pilipino directed by Carlos Siguion-Reyna ran on the same date and complex as Andrew Llloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera, a broadway musical this 26 August at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

Common between the two musical productions other than shared dates and venue are the themes: pursuit of a relationship and the wanting to be freed. In Walang Sugat, fulfillment of a relationship meant bond in marriage between Tenyong and Julia while in The Phantom it was the Phantom’s release of Christine for Raoul. Walang Sugat’s thesis is “O, makapangyarihang pag-ibig, hahamakin ang lahat, makamtan ka lamang!”

Both dramatized that it is the spirit that sets the heart free but the Phantom was more explicit is stating that music is the key to freedom in the Music of the Night “Let the dream begin, let your darker side give in to the power of the music that I write the power of the music of the night.”

Both were engaging in theme, language and production values varying only in scale and magnitude.

Love as a universal language has a wide appeal whether global or regional. There lies though one difference. In the Phantom, I was just one of the over 1,800 audience at the main theater while in Walang Sugat, I was seated at the center at the same level as the stage. In Walang Sugat, it was not relating to the 400 guests but to me as a native citizen. When the chorus described the nation in Constancio de Guzman’s music as “ibon man may laying lumipad, kulungin mo at umiiyak” and wanting to be freed “Pilipinas kong minumutya pugad ng luha at dalita aking adhika makita kang sakdal laya” the production was not merely an illusion but threading on a  reality.

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