Filipino Rock Opera Ballet 'Rama, Hari' Returns This February 2024

Due to overwhelming audience demand, the critically-acclaimed “Rama, Hari” will be returning to the stage this February 2024 after its successful run in 2023. 

Filipino rock opera ballet Rama, Hari received glowing reviews when it made a grand return with Alice Reyes Dance Philippines (ARDP) last September 2023. Even when the curtains fell, audiences couldn’t get enough of it, heading to social media to clamor for more. 

Audience members couldn’t get enough of last year’s production of “Rama, Hari”
Audience members couldn’t get enough of last year’s production of “Rama, Hari”

With the overwhelming demand, ARDP artistic director Ronelson Yadao and executive producer Aaron Veloso asked the show’s director and choreographer, Alice Reyes, for her blessings to do a repeat. Joining them were the skilled dancers of ARDP, as well as other performers, singers, and musicians behind the show, who enthusiastically agreed with the idea. 

The official poster for this year's staging of "Rama, Hari"
The official poster for this year’s staging of “Rama, Hari”

So Rama, Hari will be making a grand comeback once more, ready to enthrall audiences both new and old. The show will begin with an all-star opening gala on February 16, 2024, followed by shows on February 17 to 18, then February 24 to 25. 

READ ALSO: Return Of The King: Acclaimed Filipino Rock Opera Ballet “Rama, Hari” Makes Its Epic Comeback

"Rama, Hari" returns this February to captivate audiences once more
“Rama, Hari” returns this February to captivate audiences once more

A Timeless Tale

Rama, Hari is the brainchild of five National Artists, with direction and choreography by Alice Reyes, music by Ryan Cayabyab, lyrics and libretto by Bienvenido Lumbera, production design by Salvador Bernal, and English translations by Rolando Tinio. It’s also the very first Original Filipino Music (OPM) and dance theater work in the country’s history. 

L-R: Karylle Tatlonghari as Sita and Arman Ferrer as Rama
L-R: Karylle Tatlonghari as Sita and Arman Ferrer as Rama

Its story is an adaptation of the Sanskrit epic, Ramayana, which chronicles the journey of Prince Rama (a reincarnation of the god Vishnu) as he fights to save his love, Princess Sita, from the clutches of the demon king Ravana. Of course, like any good adaptation, the five National Artists added distinct touches that would transform the work into something that Filipino audiences could resonate with. 

Alice Reyes as Sita in "Rama, Hari"
Alice Reyes as Sita in “Rama, Hari”

“Since my first introduction to this Ramayana epic in College, as a history student, I was always drawn towards the universality of its teachings and the richness of its lore,” wrote Reyes in her 1980 choreographer’s notes. 

"Rama, Hari" brings a distinctly Filipino touch to the Sanskrit epic "Ramayana"
“Rama, Hari” brings a distinctly Filipino touch to the Sanskrit epic “Ramayana”

“Being aware of the position of sanctity, and importance and vitality that this epic occupies in the oriental cultures, my instinct, nevertheless, was to interpret it in the rock opera ballet medium, with the idea of translating it into very human and contemporary terms,” she added. “I felt this would be a good way of introducing this classic to our Filipino audiences, most of whom may not be as familiar with the story as their Asian brothers.”

What Makes an Epic Show

The chemistry between Rama, Hari’s performers is what truly made the story come to life in last year’s staging. The tight bonds they formed during 2023’s months-long rehearsals and performance has resulted in a seamless, almost effortless rehearsal process for 2024’s run. 

“Over time, the trust and camaraderie between cast members have really brought out the vibrant colors of Mithila [the birthplace of leading lady Princess Sita]. It’s just so beautiful to see,” shares ARDP artistic director Nelson Yadao. 

As with last year’s staging, this run of Rama, Hari will feature a live orchestra performance from Orchestra of the Filipino Youth, conducted by none other than Cayabyab. 

Reprising Roles

Critically-acclaimed cast members from last year’s staging will also be reprising their roles (with much enthusiasm). This includes the two beautiful Sitas, Karylle Tatlonghari and Shiela Valderrama-Martinez, who received the 2023 Aliw Award for Best Dance Production on behalf of the company. Meanwhile, Arman Ferrer and Vien King return as the dashing Ramas, and Rak of Aegis’ Poppert Bernadas and Jonel Mojica once again take on the role of the menacing Ravana, with Audie Gemora as King Dasaratha.

Likewise, the show continues to feature the artists of ARDP and the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Professional Artist Support Program. Dance trainees from Guang Ming College, Philippine High School for the Arts, University of Makati, and other independent performers will also take part in the production. 

However, this year’s production also brings in new talents, including one of 2023’s most sought-after stage actors, Marynor Madamesila, who will take the role of Kaikeyi/Gintong Usa, alternating with Ang Huling El Bimbo’s Katrine Sunga. 

The schedule for this year's staging for "Rama, Hari"
The schedule for this year’s staging for “Rama, Hari”

Don’t miss “Rama, Hari” on Feb. 16-18, 23-25 at the Samsung Performing Arts Theater. You can purchase tickets through or by contacting Alice Reyes Dance Philippines via email at [email protected] and via mobile number (0967) 153-6173.

Photos courtesy of Alice Reyes Dance Philippines. 

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