Kuwento ni Basyang: Original, fascinating /'Liberace' shifts gears


Ballet Manila’s artistic director and principal ballerina Lisa Macuja Elizalde, in her earnest search for fresh material, discovered tales by Severino Reyes in a book published by Anvil. The many tales were reduced to Tatlong Kuwento ni Lola Basyang: Ang Prinsipe ng mga Ibon choreographed by Osias Barroso, Ang Kapatid ng Tatlong Marya choreographed by Lisa in collaboration with O. Barroso, E. Mandap and G. Francisco, and Ang Mahiwagang Biyulin choreographed by Tony Fabella.

Into the fairytales, the choreographers infused creative fantasy.

Before each number, Lola Basyang, charmingly portrayed by Luz Fernandez, summarized the tale to her grandchildren and their Ate Lisa who in turn introduced it to the audience by dancing with élan and eclat. Lisa’s impeccable virtuosity and finely nuanced artistry proclaimed her, at 40 or thereabouts, still the country’s top ballerina.

For their part, the soloists and the corps de ballet demonstrated the highest technical and miming skills; further, in the huge cast, even the littlest dancers moved with singular discipline and rhythmic precision.

In Prinsipe ng mga Ibon, Yanti Marduli was princesa; Rudy de Dios, prinsipe; Marvin Medina, hari.

In Ang Kapatid ng Tatlong Marya, Pedro was Alvin Santos; Teong, Harold Salgado; Goya, Eileen Lopez; Batang Pedro, Jayrald Magat; snake, Sarah Abigail Cruz.

Treatment of the tales was primarily balletic. Fabulous and awesome sets, Chinese-influenced in Ang Prinsipe and nature-inspired in Ang Kapatid, as well as the ravishingly elegant costumes, were wholly in keeping with the fairy-tale character of the spectacle. For instance, in Ang Prinsipe ng mga Ibon, the princess, falling in love with the Prince of the Birds against her father’s vigorous protestations, turns into a bird and flies away with her prince to the kingdom of the birds to the astonishment of the youngsters in the Aliw Theater.

Ang Kapatid ng mga Tatlong Marya had Pedro searching for his sisters he had not seen since childhood. Snakes, sharks and weird tree creatures transformed the stage into an eerie world of make-believe.

Ang Prinsipe opened with Abelardo’s Mutya ng Pasig followed by works of other composers that turned the combination into a medley. The music of Ang Kapatid, being by one composer, Joey Ayala, was unified as was Ryan Cayabyab’s composition for Ang Mahiwagang Biyulin.

This third ballet, a contemporary one, was clearly etched and delineated, both by the dancing and by the most eloquent miming of Gerardo Francisco as the violinist Rodrigo, and by Marcus Tolentino, Rodrigo’s miserly employer Ahab. Lisa and the little girls turned the pages of a huge book to announce each “chapter” of an enchanting story that included soldiers, villagers — and even calendars! — all dancing to the incredible music of the violin. Fabella’s choreographic concept made for imaginatively amusing, hilarious entertainment.

Over-all direction of  Tatlong Kuwento was by Roxanne Lapus.

Ballet Manila’s incursion into native themes, distinctively original and fascinating, attracted a predominantly young audience — Lisa’s precise target in her wonderful mission of widening ballet’s appeal.

Pianist Angelo Ortiz, 24, touted as the new Liberace, and two-time world champion in Hollywood’s 2006 Performing Arts Contest, gave a concert at the RCBC auditorium, with the audience expecting “fireworks”. But Ortiz shifted gears playing light, delightfully entertaining Christmas carols with his Banda 31. The De Novo Singers — three tenors and a soprano — marvelously interpreted Nativity songs and light classics.

Ortiz ended with his own challenging composition “New Beginnings” in true virtuoso style, thus “redeeming” his reputation as the new Liberace.

Instituto Cervantes director Jose Rodriguez welcomed the audience headed by Spanish Ambassador Luis and Soledad Arias.

To readers: Please send all announcements, letters, press releases, etc. to my Makati residence. I do not go to the STAR offices. — r.l.o

vuukle comment










  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with