Ballet Manila returns to FEU Auditorium in La Traviata performance 

FEU Advocate
November 05, 2023 05:46

Filipino-grown dance company Ballet Manila graced their first out-of-home theater and post-pandemic opera ballet production, La Traviata, presented by Far Eastern University (FEU) Center for the  Arts (FCA) last October 26 at the FEU Auditorium.

Ballet Manila Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Lisa Macuja-Elizalde accompanied the opera, originally composed by Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi, with a ballet.

“It’s really so fitting that we now perform La Traviata for you here in the FEU Auditorium which is already so historic…This is part of our 24th season and we really are very very happy today to return to the Far Eastern Auditorium for this performance,” she said.

The director shared that she found inspiration to create her own La Traviata stage as she fell in love watching a live performance while studying in the Russian Ballet Academy.

“I remember coming back from the performance crying and just very moved by the opera and I knew that I wanted to do it. I wanted to make it into a ballet,” the choreographer narrated.

Macuja-Elizalde first selected and arranged the arias or solo songs before completing the choreography in about three weeks. 

During pre-production, the Filipina prima ballerina shared that one of the challenges she encountered while choreographing is condensing three hours worth of music into the ballet.

”I really had to carefully choose the arias the dancers will perform to as well as…how to tell a story in the shortest time possible,” she added.

The performance featured the classical artistry of the Philippine-based international artist, detailed by the synchrony, provoked emotions, and symbolisms exhibited in each act. 

“As a choreographer, I like to use a lot of symbolism in the form of props,” Macuja-Elizalde expressed.

Principal dancers Abigail Oliveiro and Mark Sumaylo played the roles of Violetta Valéry and Alfredo Germont, while Anna Migallos and Nohmer Nival sang their parts, respectively.

Meanwhile, Roby Malubay starred as the voice for Giorgio Germont.

The main characters shared their practice routines, ranging from early rehearsals, lifting, pilates, building partnership, and deep coaching.

Additionally, the artists wanted to inspire the FEU Community by mentioning their journey and ways in learning how to accept rejection.

Furthermore, Macuja-Elizalde stressed that it takes a commitment to pursue opera and ballet.

"Talent without artwork will not work hard for you," she quoted.

The tutelage encouraged to seek the best mentorship to be able to teach the needed skills in the art.

In addition, the world-known artist emphasized training and practice as the precedent of success.

"It’s not easy and it will need hours and hours of practice and sacrifice. You have to give something up in order to achieve what you want to achieve," the silver medal laureate recipient stated.

La Traviata is about Violetta and Alfredo's tragic love story conflicted by Giogrio, the father of Alfredo, who persuaded Violetta to leave his son. 

The ballet opera depicts love, sacrifice, societal expectations, and the consequences of personal choices through a synergy of arias, pas de deux or dance for two, and word-class vocals.

-Mark Vincent A. Durano

(Photo by Raph Bautista/FEU Advocate)