Lisa Macuja-Elizalde, Cecile Licad and Lea Salonga in ‘The Legends and the Classics’
Rosalinda L. Orosa (The Philippine Star) - October 7, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - As a dancer facing impending retirement, prima ballerina Lisa Macuja-Elizalde treasures each performance that she still gets to do these days. Throughout her Swan Song Series, now on its third and final year, she says goodbye to her favorite full-length roles and considers each role show precious.

Of special note is a show that she herself produced last year, where she performs with piano virtuoso Cecile Licad and Broadway star Lea Salonga. The Legends and the Classics was hailed as that rare gathering of icons, one that will probably not be repeated. But what was supposed to be a “one night only” affair expanded into two shows then because of public demand.

The good news is, this year, it will make a comeback asThe Legends and the Classics Encore, on Oct. 12 and 13 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, once again featuring the triumvirate in a remarkable showcase of music, song and dance.

Macuja-Elizalde considers it nothing short of a miracle that she will be able to do this encore at all. She says, “After more than 30 years of dancing professionally, the cartilage on my ankles had been worn too thin and I was advised by my doctor to retire — or risk permanent damage,” she relates. “However, the stubborn streak in me refused to heed his advice and I gave it one last shot. Actually, six shots on each ankle of medical concoctions that allowed me to heal and to withstand the pain; aside from these, regular visits to the acupuncturist worked wonders as well and gave my dancing a new — though rather limited — lease of life.”

Thus re-energized, she has set about putting the show together with gusto. While the repeat concerts will essentially retain the flavor of the original show, Macuja-Elizalde says that Licad’s decision to perform a completely different repertoire will be an added treat.

The concert will have the three artists dishing out several of their signature pieces –­­– Lea with her lovely serenade of unforgettable Broadway and movie themes; dramatic solos from Rachmaninoff on the ivory keys by Cecile; and Lisa’s breathtaking leaps and turns from ballet classics. But the highlight promises to be their combined performances.

The Legends and the Classics Encore will also feature the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Gerard Salonga, Ballet Manila and cellist Francisco Llorin. Roxanne Lapus directs.

Macuja-Elizalde credits lawyer Katrina Legarda for the original concept of bringing together the three performing artists in one show. That planned show never materialized but the idea stuck in the ballerina’s mind.

“I was determined to do it, plain and simple. As an artist, I sincerely wanted to perform alongside these two Filipino icons before I retire from the stage, which is not too far from now. So I made it my own personal mission to make it happen,” she relates.

Today, with a grateful heart, the ballerina gets to restage that dream concert.

Presented by the Manila Broadcasting Company and Ballet Manila, under the stage direction of Roxanne Lapus and music direction of Gerard Salonga, The Legends and the Classics Encore goes onstage on Oct. 12, Saturday, 8 p.m., and Oct. 13, Sunday, 5 p.m., at the Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (Main Theater) of the Cultural Center of the Philippines. Major sponsors are BPI Credit Cards, Sofitel Philippine Plaza, Bellarocca Island Resort & Spa, Mekeni, Uratex, Solaire Resort and Casino, and El Nido Resorts, supported by Island Rose. Steinway Gallery Singapore is the official piano sponsor. Tickets are available at all TicketWorld outlets. For details, check out or call 891-9999.

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