This Month in BM History: November 2004
At this time of the year, Ballet Manila presents kid-friendly fare that’s ideal as a pre-Christmas offering.
In 2004, it restaged Osias Barroso’s Pinocchio which, two years before in its premiere, had received such positive feedback – with 16 pre-sold performances! No surprise, considering that the tale of the wooden puppet Pinocchio had all the elements that would capture the fancy of young audiences.
“Fairy tales are the hardest stories to put into ballet form because so many children in our audiences know the story already,” Lisa Macuja-Elizalde writes in her director’s notes.
But the hurdles were overcome by a winning combination – Macuja-Elizalde’s libretto and Barroso’s choreography interpreted in a show interweaving dance, black theater, magical effects and a music mix that merrily rolled the story along.
Carved by Gepetto, Pinocchio is given life by the Blue Fairy. With his sidekick, Jiminy Cricket (performed by a literally green ballerina), he encounters an interesting cast of characters – the Fox, the Cat, Monstro the whale and the bad guy Stromboli.
Becoming a favorite with Ballet Manila audiences, Pinocchio was staged anew in 2007 and 2010. In 2015, the one-act show was expanded into a full-length ballet. For this expanded production, Alvin Santos danced as Pinocchio once more – thirteen years after he first took on the lead role!