Monday, October 15, 2012

Lisa Macuja's 'Swan Song Series' continues with Giselle and Carmen

After portraying the fiery Kitri in “Don Quixote”, prima ballerina Lisa Macuja Elizalde continues the second year of her Swan Song Series with her last full-length performances of two contrasting ballet roles.

First, she dances as the willowy lead character in “Giselle” on October 19, 7:30 p.m., and October 21, 5:30 p.m., at the Aliw Theater, as partnered by David Makhateli, formerly of The Royal Ballet. Also featured are Ballet Manila and the Manila Symphony Orchestra with Alexander Vikulov of the Marinsky Theater as guest conductor.

Next, she portrays the sexy temptress in “Carmen” on October 26 and 27, 7:30 p.m., at the Star Theater, as partnered by Ballet Manila principal dancer Rudy De Dios.

Macuja-Elizalde danced her first full-length “Giselle” with the Kirov Ballet in 1986, a mere six weeks after she debuted as Kitri in “Don Quixote”, also with the famed Russian company.

“Giselle is one of the most dramatic ballets that a ballerina can be privileged enough to dance in, and also one of the most exhausting,” she says. “It's a story of love so strong that it causes a girl's madness and death. It also causes her to rise from the grave and save the man who wronged her. It demands the utmost energy and acting ability, because even when Giselle is dancing strenuously difficult parts, the ballerina must make it look like she's a spirit floating lightly on air.”

“Carmen”, meanwhile, is special to the ballerina as it uses the choreography of Eric V. Cruz, Ballet Manila's first artistic director.

“It is a poignant retelling of the immortal opera by George Bizet, about an ambitious and manipulative woman whose lust for life, love and luxury ends in bitter heartbreak and misfortune. Carmen charms her way into the heart of the corporal of the guards, Don Jose, then later forsakes him for a dashing matador.”

Presented by the Manila Broadcasting Company, Aliw Theater and Star Theater, Macuja-Elizalde's Swan Song Series is the ballerina's three-year retirement plan. She began the series last year with “Swan Lake” and “Romeo and Juliet”.

Macuja-Elizalde considers herself blessed to have been able to plan and schedule her farewell performances of her favorite ballets. “I’ve accepted the fact that I am dancing these roles for the last time in their entirety,” she admits. “I may dance the white adagio still, or even the Black Swan pas de deux, but as a full-length ballet--which are the most pleasurable to dance and the most artistically fulfilling because you develop your character onstage in the span of several acts--these are my last ones.”

The Lisa Macuja Swan Song Series 2012 is co-presented by Bank of Singapore, Freeway National Artist Collection Series, and Bellarocca Island Resort and Spa. Major sponsor of the series is Panlilio Jewellers.

The show is supported by Island Rose, Ralph’s Wines and Spirits, First United Travel, Ayala Land Premier, and Star City.

For tickets to the Swan Song Series, contact Ballet Manila at telephone numbers 5255967 or 4000292, or visit Or Ticketworld 8919999,

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