Pop stars Christian Bautista and Karylle Tatlonghari in Ballet Philippines‘s “Rama Hari” | Photo by Raymond Saldana, Raymund Isaac

MANILA, PHILIPPINES |  Pop star Christian Bautista (The Kitchen Musical, West Side Story) will portray Rama Hari. Karylle Tatlonghari, also a pop star, will play Sita.

Ballet Philippines (BP), a resident dance company of the Cultural Center of the Philippines, will put on a reprise of the ballet musical Rama Hari for its year-end revival, which runs at the CCP main theater from Friday, November 30 until Sunday, December 9.

Rama Hari is considered a masterwork of choreographer and BP founder Alice Reyes, National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera (libretto), maestro Ryan Cayabyab (music) and National Artist for Theater Design Salvador Bernal (set and costume design). The show is a ballet-opera adaptation of the Indian epic, The Ramayana.

Cayabyab conducts the Manila Symphony Orchestra for this production.

Bautista and Karylle will be joined by Robert Seña as the evil demon Ravana, as well as other luminaries: OJ Mariano (alternating as Rama), Kalila Aguilos (alternating as Sita), and Christian Rey Marbella (alternating as Ravana). Also in the cast are Noel Rayos, Brezhnev Larlar, Lani Ligot and Amparo Sietereales. The Manila Symphony Orchestra plays live in every performance.

Rama Hari follows the adventures of Rama (Bautista), an Indian prince who moves heaven and earth to rescue his wife Sita (Tatlonghari), who was abducted by the evil king Ravana (Robert Seña).

Rama Hari was first performed by BP in the early ‘80s. It was a famous production starring Kuh Ledesma, Basil Valdez and Leo Valdez, who are today some of the most famous names in Philippine entertainment.

Founded in 1969 by Alice Reyes with the support of Eddie Elejar and the Cultural Center of the Philippines, Ballet Philippines is widely recognized today as a cornerstone of the Filipino cultural identity. It is Southeast Asia’s longest running dance company with an audience that represents a cross-section of Manila’s residents and visitors from around the country and around the world.

Ballet Philippines’ diverse, eclectic repertory is unparalleled in Asia. From full-length classical ballets and internationally recognized masterworks 
to indigenous works of Filipino folklore and social issues, the company weaves a colorful tapestry of the Philippines’ rich and diverse cultural heritage. As the Philippines’ most seasoned dance company, Ballet Philippines has produced the most number of acclaimed original works. In addition to Rama Hari, BP classics include Encantada and Peter Pan. It has also mounted classics such as Giselle, Swan Lake, The Nutcracker and Don Quixote.

In a country that still struggles with widespread poverty and thus places less emphasis on the arts, Ballet Philippines has been steadfast in its mission to professionalize dance in the Philippines: Dancers are paid a full salary the whole year with complete benefits.
The company is proud to be the staging ground for the successful careers of Filipino dance luminaries such as choreographers Denisa Reyes, Agnes Locsin, and dancer/choreographer Edna Vida, as well as principal dancers such as Nonoy Froilan, Cecile Sicangco, Manuel Molina, Lisa Macuja, Rey Dizon, Brando Miranda, Augustus Damian III, Toni Lopez-Gonzalez and most recently, Candice Adea, who won a silver medal in the prestigious USA International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi.

Pop stars Christian Bautista and Karylle Tatlonghari in Ballet Philippines’s “Rama Hari” | Photo by Raymond Saldana, Raymund Isaac