Arts and Culture

Lisa Macuja holds farewell performances of 'Swan Lake'


MANILA, Philippines - Prima ballerina Lisa Macuja-Elizalde will dance her last full-length Swan Lake in a series of performances with Ballet Manila starting Oct. 7, Friday, 7:30 p.m., at Aliw Theater, CCP Complex, Pasay City. She is also featured in shows on Oct. 9, Sunday, 1 p.m.; and Oct. 15, Saturday, 5 p.m.

This production kicks off Macuja-Elizalde’s “Swan Song Series,” her farewell full-length performances of her signature roles, starting with Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, and also including Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, Kitri in Don Quixote and Giselle in the ballet of the same title. The entire series will unfold in the next two to three years.

“Not many ballerinas have the privilege of planning their own retirement, so I am blessed to be able to have this series,” enthuses Macuja-Elizalde.

In Swan Lake, Prince Siegfried meets and falls in love with Odette who is cursed to become a swan at night. But he is tricked by the evil Rothbart into falling for Odile, the Black Swan, whom he mistakes for Odette. Realizing his mistake, Siegfried asks for Odette’s forgiveness. The lovers then jump into the lake, break the spell on the other girls-turned-swans and vanquish the pair of Rothbart and Odile, before ascending to the heavens.

Dancing as Prince Siegfried is David Makatheli, principal dancer of The Royal Ballet in London, whom Macuja-Elizalde personally invited to be her partner for the production.

Rudy De Dios as Seigfried and Mylene Aggabao as Odile in Swan Lake

Other performances of Swan Lake, with Ballet Manila principal dancer Mylene Aggabao, company members from Korea, Ja Young Kang and Hana Oh, and soloists Zaira Cosio and Abigail Cruz alternating in the lead roles, are slated on: Oct. 8, Saturday, and Oct. 15, Saturday.

Macuja-Elizalde considers the dual role of Odette/Odile as one of the most challenging roles in ballet. Originally choreographed to feature two ballerinas, it later came to be danced by just one. “It’s a quite a superhuman feat and really demanding on your stamina as a performing athlete. It’s also difficult to transform into two completely different characters  the lyrical, vulnerable Odette and the seductive and cunning Odile.”

That Macuja-Elizalde is taking on the dual role for the very last time is a sentimental event for her. “The first full-length Swan Lake performance that I watched was the one that changed my life, when I saw Japanese ballerina Yoko Morishita dance as Odette and Odile. This performance was the tipping point for me as a teenager. I was truly inspired by Yoko’s White Swan and Black Swan. I thought that if this tiny Asian ballerina can dance this European classical ballet role so well  then maybe, just maybe, I will be able to dance Odette/Odile one day as well.”

Indeed, she has, many times over. In her career spanning 27 theater seasons, the ballerina has completed 122 performances of the White Swan and 72 of the Black Swan. She has also danced both parts in 20 full-length productions of Swan Lake, nine of those abroad.

Presented by the Manila Broadcasting Company in cooperation with Bellarocca and Freeway National Artists Series, Ballet Manila’s Swan Lake has for its major sponsors Ayala Land Premiere, Lifestyle Network and Bank of Singapore. The show is also supported by Island Rose, Star City and Ralph’s Wines and Spirits.        

Nazer Salgado as Seigfried and Mylene Aggabao as Odette in Ballet Manila’s Swan Lake

For inquiries about Swan Lake, call Ballet Manila at 400-0292 or 525-5967, visit www.balletmanila.com.ph or e-mail [email protected] Tickets are also available through Ticketworld at 891-9999 or through SM Tickets at 470-2222.









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