Legazpi City -- The new production of Daragang Magayon, Albay’s mythical epic, which will be shown in ballet form at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CPP) Main Theater February 8, is setting records in Philippine art history.
Daragang Magayon: An Istorya ni Mayon, lands on record as the first full length ballet of a provincial epic; the love story of Daragang Magayon is the love story of Mayon volcano and the people of Albay.
It is also the first of its kind to be set to Rondalla, specially composed and arranged by conductor and composer Ramon Pagayon Santos, known for his contributions to the development of ethnic music in the country.
As an epic, it goes down on record as the first collaboration of three respected, contemporary artists; its poetry is penned by National Artist Virgilio Almario, its music by Santos, and the new scenes and drama come from multi-awarded writer and researcher Abdon Balde Jr. Balde is Albay’s Poet Laureate.
The production also comes as the first multi-media backed up ballet interpretation in the country, choreographed by Gerald Mercado and wife Katrina Santos-Mercado with the eDance Theater, in filmography by Chuck Escasa and animation by Niko Salazar, the set designed by Leo Abaya and costume by Carlo Pagunaling.
As a drama, Daragang Magayon is first to integrate the love story legend of Mayon volcano’s origin and the pre-Hispanic mythology of the Bicol region with two community bonding - the rites of Haliya, a protest against incoming threats, and Atang, the offering for good harvest.
The epic is produced by the Albay provincial government, led by Gov. Joey Salceda, the presentation forms part of a revitalized tourism development program that would offer guests an opportunity to take a fresher look into the province’s mesmerizing mythical past, its magic and mystery.
Salceda’s new and strong tourism programs had brought the three major Filipino artists; Almario, Santos and Balde together to lead a pool of film-makers, writers, poets, musicians, stage performers, animators and dancers to create the undying legend of Albay, the “Daragang Magayon,” with scenes, colors and fresh outlook.
Salceda said it is by e-Dance Theater’s commitment to creating dances and movements that is uniquely Filipino, both in techniques and aesthetics, and by the genius of Mercado, plus Santos’ original score making use of ethnic Filipino instruments, “that Daragang Magayon will strike viewers as an original presentation.
The governor said they expect the presentation to go beyond the CPP stage after the February 8 presentation.