Noel Azcona (left) and Rachelle Gerodias performing “Don Basilio! Giusto cielo!” from Gioachino Rossini’s Ill Barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville). Photo Josa Camille A. BassigCLASSIC Italian opera Cavalleria Rusticana was the highlight performance of the 65-year-old Conservatory of Music in a two-part show titled Opera Gala at the Medicine Auditorium last January 26 as part of the Quadricentennial week.

Selected scenes from various renowned musical plays such as The Barber of Seville, La Gioconda, and Norma were also performed on the second part of the play.

“The event was a milestone for the Conservatory,” said opera conductor and music professor Herminigildo Ranera. “Usually, these types of production are only done by professionals. Our students are very fortunate to be given this opportunity to perform in a major production.”

Pietro Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana (Rustic Chivalry) is a love story of Turiddu, who finds out, upon returning from military service,that his wealthy fiancée Lola has married Alfio, a wealthy horseman. Out of vengeance, he seduces a young woman named Santuzza. The story then tells an interweaving tale of forbidden love and treachery between the four.

The second part was kicked-off by a well-orchestrated rendition of the prelude of Georges Bizet’s Carmen.

Notable performances included Léo Delibes’ “Flower Duet” from the opera Lakmé, which exhibited a fantastic synergy of the voices of student sopranos Kim Sung Hye and Cynthia Sy.

Giacomo Puccini’s “Un bel di Vedremo” from Madame Butterfly was also noted for its pizzazz as it was performed as a song-and-dance routine by professor Thea Perez-Prosia.

Other songs presented in the second act were Emmerich Kalman’s “Heia in Den Bergen” from Die Csardasfurstin (The Gypsy Princess), Vincenzo Bellini’s “Casta Diva” from Norma, and Vicente Martin y Soler’s “Pace Caro Mio Sposo” from Una Cosa Rara (A Rare Thing), among others.

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Gioachino Rossini’s “Don Basilio! Giusto cielo!” from Ill barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville) was the closing performance. The comedic skit was perfomed by soprano Rachelle Gerodias, Lemuel dela Cruz (tenor), Jun Francis Jaranilla (bass), Noel Azcona (baritone), and Christoval Tan (baritone).

Ranera said that rehearsal were the most difficult parts in preparing for the opera.

“We had to learn all the songs in the opera, and we started doing practice just a few days after New Year,” he said.

Ranera said that there are already plans for the Conservatory of Music for another musical in celebration of the Quadricentennial year.

“We will be making a musical on the life story of [UST founder] Fr. Miguel de Benavides, O.P., which will be held at the Cultural Center of the Philippines,” he said. John Ernest F. Jose

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