THE performance of Puccini's "Gianni Schicchi" on Saturday evening, March 23, was even more astonishing than the idea sounded when I first heard of it several weeks ago. Imagine an entire opera, albeit short, with the Manila Symphony Orchestra, being performed in the rough surroundings of a covered court in the heart of Tondo for an audience of mostly grade school students.

That actually happened. And it was every bit as incredible as it sounds and then some, not just for the quality of the performance in such a challenging venue but for the profound meaning it had in that place and for the audience for whom it was intended.

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