In the Latin Bible, Jesus Christ said to Mary after His resurrection, “Noli Me tangere…” (John 20:17). Inspired by these words, Dr. Jose Rizal penned a novel about the resurrection of the Filipino people, whose time had come to arise and forge a new destiny without the oppressive grip of Spain and her abusive padres.
This novel by our National Hero was crafted into a beautiful opera by National Artists Felipe P. De Leon and Guillermo Tolentino, circa 1957. A generation passed until this opera was staged in a foreign land, where philanthropists Loida Nicolas Lewis, Jerry Sibal and Edwin Josue heard the stirring music and lyrics in the mother tongue. The foreigners who listened to and watched the opera with them could not fully understand what the story meant—but for the Filipinos in the audience, the story was not lost, and the Motherland’s anguish was clear: Come to me, my sons, do not let me die.