Ballet Philippines to revive ‘Rama Hari’

Posted at 03/07/12 8:20 PM

MANILA, Philippines – After more than 20 years, Ryan Cayabyab’s legendary pop-opera ballet masterpiece “Rama Hari” is headed for the stage once again.

Dance company Ballet Philippines announced that it is reviving “Rama Hari” in November at the Main Theater of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP).

“Rama Hari,” which is based on popular Asian epic “Ramayana,” was created by Cayabyab, choreographer and Ballet Philippines founding artistic director Alice Reyes and National Artist for Literature Bienvendo Lumbrera. The costumes were designed by the late National Artist for Theater Design Salvador Bernal.

It made its premiere in 1980 with Basil Valdez as Rama, Leo Valdez as Ravana and then-upcoming pop star Kuh Ledesma as Sita. Ledesma’s solo, “Magbalik Ka Na Mahal,” went on to become one of Cayabyab’s most-loved songs.

In 1999, parts of “Rama Hari” were also used in the theatrical extravaganza “Rama at Sita,” which featured an all-star cast that included Ariel Rivera, Lani Misalucha, Raymong Lauchengco and Jaya, as well as new ones.

But what made "Rama Hari" such a unique theatrical experience is that each of the lead characters are played by a singer and a dancer, a complete fusion of pop and ballet.

For the revival of “Rama Hari,” Ballet Philippines has announced auditions for singers, including those who will play Rama and Ravana, on March 22 and 23 at the CCP.

Ballet Philippines also said Cayabyab will be the show’s musical director for the revival, which will also feature the Manila Symphony Orchestra.

The revival of “Rama Hari” will run from November 30 to December 9.