Adventure, life, and vigor; these are three things that the world premiere of Gerardo Francisco’s Ibong Adarna didn’t fall short on.
The highly acclaimed opener of Ballet Manila’s 22nd performance season, Flights of Fantasy, was not only a showcase of Filipino artistry and culture, but also a testament that from classical ballet to a refreshing retelling of the epic tale – they can do it all.
Enthusiastic cheer and roaring applause was heard all throughout Aliw Theater as the production’s first ever run came to an end. “Ibong Adarna was set for success. It’s something that we’ve never done before, which is why I think the audience received it so well. It’s fresh and proudly our own,” says Ballet Manila’s CEO and Artistic Director Lisa Macuja-Elizalde.
Gerardo Francisco’s first attempt at full-length choreography was a showcase of his deep knowledge of the ballerinas and danseurs’ strengths and his love for the craft and our culture. He shares, “I’m really overwhelmed with the response! This show was almost two years in the making, and I’m happy to finally see it come to life on stage and share it with everyone.”
Katherine Barkman and Abigail Oliveiro, who alternated as the Ibong Adarna, emanated magic and color in their portrayals – just like the elusive bird. “Gerardo knew exactly what he wanted with the Adarna, and as someone who didn’t grow up here, I had to put in the work to give the role and his vision justice,” says Abigail. There was also a sense of playfulness and fierceness in the scenes where the Ibong Adarna lured the princes to the Piedras Platas.
The three princes were key in creating an experience full of fantasy and grandeur, as the audience felt and responded to every emotion exuded by the danseurs. Mark Sumaylo effectively portrayed the eldest yet brash prince Pedro, and every jump and turn was done with strength and precision. Mark shared the role with Elpidio Magat.
Romeo Peralta took on the role of the seemingly heroic prince Diego, who bravely saved the Amazona from the monkeys, but somehow didn’t find the time to help the Old Hermit played by Bodjie Pascua of “Batibot” fame. This role was shared with Rudolph Capongcol.
Rudy de Dios was a dream as the kind prince Juan. There was a clear distinction between the three princes when it comes to their demeanor, and the danseur commanded the audience, as he floated across the stage with his enchanting and skillful jumps. Anselmo Dictado served as the alternate for this role.
Ibong Adarna is a bold production by Ballet Manila that has proven that they’re fearless in their creative pursuits and they’re not afraid to go out of the confines of their Vaganova style of dancing.
But for the second show for Flights of Fantasy, the company is going back to their roots.
Flights of Fantasy soared high with the phenomenal world premiere of Ibong Adarna, and there are no signs of it descending just yet. Staying true to Ballet Manila’s promise of having at least one classical ballet in its repertoire every season, Swan Lake is ready to wow again as the next show in the lineup. For this version, the company will feature the original Lev Ivanov choreography for the first act. The rest of the acts will be presented from the restaging and additional choreography of Russia People’s Artist Sergey Viklov and Tatiana Udalenkova. Lisa shares her thoughts about the production, “Swan Lake is the definition of classical ballet. It’s very close to my heart, and coming after the success of Ibong Adarna, I hope that just as many people will come watch it.”
Swan Lake is slated to premiere on October 7, 2017, 6:00PM. You can also catch it on the following dates: October 14 at 6:00 PM and October 8 and October 15 at 3:00 PM.
For more information about the shows, including ticket prices and schedules, you may visit www.balletmanila.com.ph or follow Ballet Manila on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Tickets are also available through all TicketWorld outlets. Please call 891-9999 or visit www.ticketworld.com.ph for more information. In addition, those who are planning to watch all the shows may take advantage of the company’s Season Subscription Programs, which offer up to 50% discount on ticket prices. For more information, you may visit www.ticketworld.com.ph/balletmanila/Online/ and click on ‘View Details’ under ‘Season Subscription Program’.