Swan Lake is considered as one of the most difficult ballets to perform, but for prima ballerina Lisa Macuja-Elizalde, it was what inspired her to pursue a life-long career in dance. Now, it will be like a homecoming as Ballet Manila, the company that Macuja-Elizalde co-founded, will be staging a performance of the classic this October!
Swan Lake tells the story of Odette, a beautiful young princess who is turned into a white swan by an evil sorcerer’s curse. The only way to break the spell is for a virgin to fall in love with her and promise eternal fidelity. Siegfried, a young prince who needs to find a bride, meets her and falls in love, but the sorcerer has other plans, using the black swan.
The ballet has been described as difficult because the ballerina has to play both the roles of Odette (the White Swan) and Odile (The Black Swan). The roles have different movements, with Odette showing a soft, pliant, and lyrical vulnerability and Odile requiring fiery technique and speed.
The story has been adapted several times around the world, but Ballet Manila’s rendition will feature the original Lev Ivanov choreography for the “white acts” or the first act, followed by choreography by Russia People’s Artist Sergey Vikulov and Tatiana Udalenkova for acts two to four.
Macuja-Elizalde and Udalenkova have known each other for years. According to Macuja-Elizalde, “With my best interest at heart, Tatiana warned me never to dance it, because in her expert opinion, I could never be a Swan Queen given my short stature, my particular strengths in dancing, specific style, and stage presence. When she watched my Swan Lake many years later after graduation, she cried and declared that never has she been so happy to be proven wrong.”
Since then, Macuja-Elizalde has performed the role of the White Swan in 122 performances and the role of the Black Swan in 72 performances. She has performed both roles in 20 productions. Ballet Manila’s production will feature Katherine Barkman, Abigail Oliveiro, and Joan Sia, while resident guest artist Joseph Phillips, Elpidio Magat, Romeo Peralta, Rudy de Dios, and Mark Sumaylo will be alternating the role of Prince Siegfried.
Swan Lake will also feature Peter Tchaikovsky’s original score, to be played by the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Russian conductor, Maestro Alexander Vikulov of the Mariinsky Theater.
This post is in partnership with Ballet Manila. Ballet Manila’s Swan Lake will be staged on October 7 and October 14 at 6:00 PM and October 8 and October 15 at 3:00 PM at the Aliw Theater. For tickets, visit www.balletmanila.com.ph or follow Ballet Manila on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Tickets are also available through all Ticketworld outlets. Please call 8919999 or visit www.ticketworld.com.ph.
*All photos courtesy of Ballet Manila