Ballet Philippines has just announced that Carmina Burana, the iconic ballet choreographed by Artistic Director and National Artist for Dance Alice Reyes, will open their 49th season at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. Reyes’ version is one of the company’s most endeared and iconic pieces. Highlighting the emotion and passion of Carl Orff’s scenic cantata (which is based on 24 medieval poems of the same name), the show is expected to be one of the most anticipated cultural events of the year.
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Alice Reyes is the founder of Ballet Philippines. Her background includes dance training in ballet, folk dancing and jazz, before venturing into the world of modern dance. After receiving a grant from the John D. Rockefeller III Fund, she underwent extensive training under the Hanya Holm scholarship at Colorado College. She furthered her studies at Sarah Lawrence College, where she received a Master of Arts in Dance. Upon returning home in 1969, she staged her first modern dance concert at the CCP. Since then, Reyes has staged numerous acclaimed works that ranged from Cinderella and Romeo and Juliet to Amada and Rama Hari. She has one of the most respected careers in the local performing arts scene, and has played an integral role in bringing Philippine culture into the world’s stage. Named a National Artist for Dance by President Benigno S. Aquino III in 2014, Reyes continues her legacy through Ballet Philippines’ awaited 49th season.
The upcoming Carmina Burana truly showcases the genius of Alice Reyes. Under the baton of maestro Gerald Salonga, the ABS CBN Philharmonic Orchestra has come on board to play a haunting rendition of the Carl Orff masterpiece. The powerful vocal stylings of the Madrigal Singers transports one to the world of medieval Europe, giving audiences the thrill of experiencing the deep emotion of yesteryear’s lost poets. The combination of the live orchestra, choral singers, National Artist Salvador Bernal’s majestic production design, and Reyes’ choreography will be a feast for the senses.
When last staged in 2003, Carmina Burana received rave reviews from fans and critics alike. “I danced it some 30 years ago when the ballet premiered in Manila in 1974. For the first time in my life, I saw the piece in its entirety. It was exhilarating to sit in the audience and mentally dance the movements embedded in the crevices of my whole being,” shared ballet iconic Edna Vida-Froilan to the Philippine Star.
Walter Ang, a contributing journalist at the Philippine Daily Inquirer, sang praises about the performance as well. “As the curtains went up, a breathtaking and awesome sight greeted the audience. Rows of choral singers in black robes and yamuikes flanked the stage as guest conductor Eugene Castillo raised his baton. The stage revealed towering rock formations with the ballet dancers in formation, veiled in smoke emerging from a central cauldron… When the music began as the singers hit the first note and the dancers executed their first gesture, you could actually hear gasps from the audiences. I was absolutely enthralled. It was a powerful moment that showed how such enduring yet fleeting beauty could be created within the confines of a stage.”
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In addition to the performance of Carmina Burana, the program this season will also include highlights of the history of Ballet Philippines. Expect a spirited rendition of Brando Miranda’s Vivaldi Concerto, which first premiered in 1983. Norman Walter’s Season of Flight, will also take flight center stage. The company describes the performance as “a tale of human relationships—its dynamics, idiosyncrasies and complexities—through graceful avian movement and migratory patterns.” First debuting in 1972, it is the first of five pieces by Norman Walker for the company. Lastly, up-and-coming choreographer Ronelson Yadao returns to the Ballet Philippine stage, and will premiere new pieces to add the company’s impressive repertoire. “What I am trying to do is to present to our new audiences some of our iconic pieces that have not been done for so long… reflecting the company’s tapestry of dance gems,” shared Alice Reyes in a statement.
The 49th season of Ballet Philippines will premiere at Cultural Center of Philippines on September 2018. For more information visit https://ballet.ph/seasons/season-49