Tuesday, May 13, 2008



A Filipino Opera

music by Reynaldo T. Paguio

libretto by Fides Cuyugan Asensio

MAYO BISPERAS NG LIWANAG was inspired by "May Day Eve," a short story written by Nick Joaquin, the Philippine National Artist for Literature. `

Mayo ... Bisperas Ng Liwanag' is also an opera of love and hate, sorcery and patriotism. Its main character, Agueda, begins as a rich spoiled girl, well-educated in European literature on revolutions and the Age of Enlightenment.

At a party, she hears the predictions by Anastacia, a fortune teller, that the country will have unrelenting oppression by foreign rulers. Only Agueda responds to Ansastacia's exhortations to give aid to a country in deep distress, by asking her how she might help the country find the light.

They are interrupted, however, the party mood returns and Agueda asks Ansastacia instead who will be her future spouse. Ansastacia promises to tell Agueda this with the May Day mirror ritual.

After being warned by Anastacia that, instead of seeing her future husband reflected in the mirror, she might see the devil, Agueda, nevertheless, decides to participate in the May Day mirror ritual.

A man named Badong has stealthily crept up behind her. When she opens her eyes, she sees him peering over her shoulder. Theirs is to be a stormy relationship.

Agueda and Badong marry, but they cannot stop the prophecy of Anastacia. Agueda's romantic love for Badong yields to her love for the country, and she joins the peasant revolt in the countryside.

Tragically, Agueda meets death, but not before seeing the light that eluded her in life, the light that dispels some of the darkness in the lives of the oppressed.

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