Canceled rock opera ‘Rama, Hari’ supposed to close 50th BP season

(Note: I am posting this for posterity. A group of friends was scheduled to join today / March 14, 2020 National Artist for Dance Alice Reyes, the Ballet Philippines dancers, and featured singers during their rehearsals at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. Due to health concerns posed by Covid-19, several shows at the CCP, including Rama, Hari were canceled.)

Monica Gana as Sita with Ronelson Yadao as Rama / Photo by Jojo Mamangun

Five national artists come together for the upcoming re-staging of Ballet Philippines’ “Rama, Hari.”

The production is a collaboration among Ballet Philippines Founder and Artistic Director Alice Reyes (National Artist for Dance); Ryan Cayabyab (National Artist for Music); Bienvenido Lumbera (National Artist for Literature); the late Salvador Bernal (National Artist for Theater Design); and the late Rolando Tinio (National Artist for Theater and Literature).

Rama, Hari is based on the ancient Sanskrit epic that follows Rama from his marriage to Sita, their 14-year banishment, and their encounters with Ravana and Soorphanaka.

Rama, Hari is Ballet Philippine’s 5th and final production for its 50th Golden Season.

Ronelson Yadao as Rama / Photo by Jojo Mamangun

“This rock opera interpretation translates Rama, Hari into very human and contemporary terms,” Reyes said.

Inspired by the Ramayana, the production premiered in February 1980 for the company’s 10th season.

Jemima Reyes as Sita / Photo by Jojo Mamangun

The original cast consisted of Basil Valdez, Kuh Ledesma, and Leo Valdez as Rama, Sita, and Ravana, respectively. Adding movement to their incomparable vocal performances were Nonoy Froilan and Robert Medina, alternating the role of Rama; Effie Nañas and Ester Rimpos alternating Sita; and Mario Esperanza and Nonoy Froilan alternating as Ravana.

Denise Parungao as Soorphanaka / Photo by Jojo Mamangun

It was later staged the same year for BP’s 11th Season, again in 1983 for its 30th season, and in 2012 for its 43rd season. The 2012 staging featured Christian Bautista alternating with OJ Mariano as Rama, and Karylle alternating with Kalila Aguilos as Sita.

Rama, Hari was toured extensively around Asia since its premiere, and was received by audiences with glowing reviews.

Monica Gana as Sita / Photo by Jojo Mamangun

This year, a star-studded cast of musical theater stars performs together with Ballet Philippines’ company of dancers.

This year’s cast features Gian Magdangal alternating with David Ezra as Rama; Aicelle Santos alternating with Shiela Valderrama-Martinez as Sita; Poppert Bernadas alternating with Nar Cabico as Ravana; Jimmy Marquez alternating with Kakki Teodoro as Soorpanakha/ Kooni; Sweet Plantado-Tiongson alternating with Celine Fabie as Kaikeyi; Audie Gemora as King Dasaratha/ Lakshmana; and singer, dancer, and choreographer Brezhnev Larlar as Hanuman alternating the role with Ian Ocampo.

John Ababon as King Dasaratha / Photo by Jojo Mamangun

They will be joined by the Ryan Cayabyan Singers, the PWU Indayog Gong Ensemble, and the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Antonio Maria P. Cayabyab.

Rama, Hari runs on March 20 (8 pm), 21 (2 pm and 7 pm), 22 (2 pm), 27 (8 pm), 28 (2 pm and 7 pm), and 29 (2 pm).

Dan Dayo as Hanuman / Photo by Jojo Mamangun

Photos by Jojo Mamangun

#BP #Ramayana #RamaHari #AliceReyes #Rama #Sita #Ballet

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