Ballet Manila soars higher with Ibong Adarna’s premiere
Last August 26, Ballet Manila opened its 22nd performance season with the breathtaking premier of Ibong Adarna and it all took us on a surreal trip back to high school PH Lit! Here are our favorite moments from the show:
1. Gia Macuja as the singing Ibong Adarna
Returning to the Philippine stage for the first time in years, critically acclaimed stage actress Gia Macuja-Atchinson enchanted the crowd with her powerful soprano chops as the singing mythical bird. Gia is internationally known for roles in Miss Saigon and the Lion King.
2. Bodjie Pascua as “Ermitanyo”
An entire generation grew up listening to his stories as Batibot’s Kuya Bodjie. This time, Ibong Adarna proves that he can also weave his magic onstage. He portrayed the character of the hermit who narrated the story. He also played a key role on the show’s turn of events.
3. Stellar choreography
Soaring higher from his roles as principal dancer and resident choreographer of Ballet Manila, Gerardo Francisco Jr spread his wings to come up with Ibong Adarna as his first full-length choreographic work. The show’s choreography left the audience at awe with dynamic group moves, powerful high lifts, and clean turns. The standing ovation was well-deserved!
4. Costumes, stage design
We also loved how the stage and costumes took us to a new Berbanya. Most of the costumes had the thematic brown, gold, and green, but each design was customized to make each character distinct from each other. The stage design also veered away from the usual “medieval western kingdom” theme and boasted a setup mostly made of bamboos with a slight tribal feel.
5. Diwa De Leon’s musical compositions
We were also amazed at how Diwa De Leon gives the show’s musical scoring a whimsical twist by using Filipino instruments like Kulintang and Bungkaka to name a few, accompanied by a symphonic orchestra.