Miguel Castro and Susana Downes recording songs from NOLI ME TANGERE. Logo design by Angela dela Cruz

As current Philippines politics features more and more in the headlines, a new musical explores past injustices in the archipelago. In the tradition of truly romantic musicals like South Pacific and Les Miserables comes NOLI ME TANGERE (Touch Me Not).

NOLI ME TANGERE is a traditional book musical but tells a story which is completely fresh to a Western audience in Australia. It is part romance, part political protest, but also becomes an escape story when Ibarra must go on the run with a revolutionary.

A man returns to his homeland after years away. What has become of his beloved, and why has his father died in mysterious circumstances?

Instead of taking revenge when he learns of a terrible injustice, he commits himself to changing the world through reason, not violence.

Can a dream like this come true?

NOLI ME TANGERE – The Musical is a story of love – a man and woman’s love for each other, for their country, and for an idea of freedom.  The show also touches on other serious issues such as child abuse.

It concerns Crisostomo Ibarra, a man who returns from Europe to the Philippines in the late 1880s and wishes to educate his people out of the slavery of ignorance under Spanish rule. Ibarra finds himself in bitter conflict with the priest who denied his father Christian burial and who is doing everything in his power to stop the romance between Ibarra and Ibarra’s beloved, the angelic Maria Clara de Los Santos. At the same time, two children go missing from the local church.

The music I’ve composed seeks to capture the beauty and the violence of the Filipino landscape, which has everything from volcanoes to the most gorgeous scenery,” composer and lyricist Allan McFadden said.

Amongst the 22 numbers written for the score, he composed the song, Sweet Sweet Land, which was recently released on iTunes and you can also see a video trailer on YouTube.

McFadden Music will present NOLI ME TANGERE [Facebook]  at Parramatta Riverside Theatres, March 29 – April 6.

Cast: Miguel Castro, Susana Downes, Marcus Rivera, Lena Cruz, Christopher Hamilton, David Hooley, Sean Perez, Brian Lorenz, Kim Beltran, Susan Ling Young, Ballina Gee, Devina Maurice, Pam Picart, Ian Warwick, Ruben Pasion, Chris Booth, Joel and Jonathon Supnet, Oliver Trus, Lilibeth Munar, Elle Evangelista, Ernest Hojilla.

Book and Lyrics Peter Fleming
Music and Lyrics Allan McFadden
Choreography Novy Bereber
Directed by Aarne Neeme AM