MANILA, Philippines -- Dance company Ballet Philippines announced that pop balladeer and actor Christian Bautista and singer Karylle will top-bill its revival of the pop-opera ballet masterpiece “Rama Hari” in November at the Main Theater of the Cultural Center of the Philippines.
“Rama Hari,” which is based on popular Asian epic “Ramayana,” was created by composer Ryan Cayabyab, choreographer and Ballet Philippines founding artistic director Alice Reyes and National Artist for Literature Bienvendo Lumbrera. The costumes were designed by the late National Artist for Theater Design Salvador Bernal.
It made its premiere in 1980 with Basil Valdez as Rama, Leo Valdez as Ravana and then-upcoming pop star Kuh Ledesma as Sita. Ledesma’s solo, “Magbalik Ka Na Mahal,” went on to become one of Cayabyab’s most-loved songs.
Ballet Philippines said Bautista will play Rama in the revival, with Karylle as Sita. The two performers have worked together in several concerts and in the pan-Asian TV series “The Kitchen Musical.”
Veteran theater actor Robert Seña will play the evil demon Ravana, alternating with Christian Rey Marbella.
Theater regular OJ Mariano will alternate as Rama, while theater and film actress Kalila Aguilos will alternate as Sita.
Also in the cast are Noel Rayos, Brezhnev Larlar, Lani Ligot and Amparo Sietereales.
In 1999, parts of “Rama Hari” were also used in the theatrical extravaganza “Rama at Sita,” which featured an all-star cast that included Ariel Rivera, Lani Misalucha, Raymong Lauchengco and Jaya.
What made "Rama Hari" such a unique theatrical experience is that each of the lead characters are played by a singer and a dancer, a complete fusion of pop and ballet.
For the revival of “Rama Hari,” Ballet Philippines said the Manila Symphony Orchestra plays live in every performance, with Cayabyab as the show’s musical director for the revival, which will also feature the Manila Symphony Orchestra.
The revival of “Rama Hari” will run from November 30 to December 9.