Ballet Philippines begins the year with an epic production of Romeo and Juliet. Shakespeare’s classic romance tale will take audiences on an emotional rollercoaster where hearts flutter one minute, and shatter the next.
Music by Sergei Prokofiev and choreography Ballet Philippines artistic director and National Artist for Dance Alice Reyes offer audiences a captivating feast for the senses.
FATE AND THE CHOREOGRAPHY OF ROMEO AND JULIET
Romeo and Juliet, which premiered in 1981. It was the first choreographic undertaking of Reyes. The challenge was not only that she had to
choreograph a full-length ballet but that it had to be done within a month’s time.
“For more than a year we had been arranging for a guest choreographer to come and restage the ballet,” Reyes recalls. “As it sometimes happens, things did not pull together quite as expected.” Fate had its reasons for this sudden change in plans as it saw the birth of another iconic piece added to the company’s unparalleled repertoire. Today, Alice Reyes’ Romeo and Juliet
is a performance that ballet enthusiasts look forward to experiencing. Having been last performed on stage in its entirety in 1988, it is one of the most anticipated shows of the season.
VERONA’S GRANDEUR AS IMAGINED BY SALVADOR BERNAL
It seemed only fitting to match the grandeur of the performance with sets and costumes that would transport one to scenic Verona in Italy. National Artist Salvador Bernal was up to the task, creating what Reyes describes as “the best in the Ballet Philippines repertoire… He gave us the sunniest piazza in all of Venice… a most entrancing bedroom for sweet Juliet, elegant and splendidly rich halls for the lords and their ladies to dance in, and what has to be the most impressive cavernous vault for Juliet and her Romeo.” Large-scale proportions were followed by Bernal, specifically intended to emphasize the dominant feeling of helplessness that overpowered the lead roles. The set features an 18-foot-high platform, wide grand staircases, arches and magnificent candelabra in the ballroom.
These sets became a favorite of National Artist for Architecture Leandro Locsin who himself was a staunch supporter of Ballet Philippines. Through a generous grant from LV Locsin Partners, the company was able to rebuild Bernal’s beloved Verona for this season’s performance of Romeo and Juliet.
JOSEPH GATTI: FROM DON QUIXOTE TO ROMEO
Adding to the excitement of this show is the return of a ballet great, Joseph Gatti. It was during the 48th season when he last joined Ballet Philippines as guest artist in Don Quixote. This year, he is back to essay the lead role of Romeo opposite Denise Parungao for select performances. It comes as little surprise that Gatti would once again sign on for performance with Ballet
Philippines. In a previous interview he commented, “This is one of the best companies I have guested for. Their encouragement and their hunger for dance has been an inspiration for me as well.” While he is in Manila for Romeo and Juliet, there are on-going talks within the company for Gatti to hold workshops at the Ballet Philippines Workshops. Details for these are yet to be finalized.
Also essaying the iconic roles of the star-crossed lovers are Ronelson Yadao and Victor Maguad as Romeo and Monica Gana and Jemima Reyes as Juliet.
Romeo and Juliet runs from February 15 to 24 at the CCP Main Theater.
Show schedules are Feb. 15 at 8 p.m. (with live orchestra), Feb. 16 at 2 p.m., Feb. 16 at 7 p.m. (with live orchestra), Feb. 17 at 2 p.m., Feb. 23 at 7 p.m., and Feb. 24 at 2 p.m.
Tickets are available on Ticketworld (02 891 99 99), CCP Box Office, or Ballet Philippines Box Office (02 551 10 03) or online at www.ticketworld.com.ph. www.ballet.ph