Rama, Hari, the acclaimed Filipino rock opera ballet, returns to the stage this September, with performances at the Metropolitan Theater on 15 to 16 September and at the Samsung Performing Arts Theater on 22 to 23 September.

The production holds the prestige of being the only collaboration that features the masterful works of five National Artists: Alice Reyes for direction and choreography, Ryan Cayabyab for music, Salvador Bernal for production Design, and Bienvenido Lumbera for lyrics and libretto with English translations by Rolando Tinio.

Presented by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts in partnership with the Metropolitan Theater and the Cultural Center of the Philippines, with the generous support of Birch Tree Adult Boost, the production features artists from CCP’s Professional Artist Support Program and Alice Reyes Dance Philippines.

Inspired by the ancient Sanskrit epic Ramayana, the ballet tells of the adventures of Rama, prince and incarnation of the god Vishnu, who comes down to earth to save the world from Ravana, the most powerful of demons, and in time falls in love with Sita, daughter of the king of Mithila, Janaka, and eventually marries her. The evil Ravana attempts to tear the two apart, only to find himself defeated.

In the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, a new musical genre was born, referred to as OPM, or Original Pilipino Music. Rama, Hari has the distinction of being the first OPM music and dance theater masterpiece.

Rama, Hari was last restaged in 2012 and won 14 Philstage Gawad Buhay Awards. It was intended to be restaged once more in 2020 but was canceled due to the pandemic lockdown.

The 2023 cast features Arman Ferrer in the lead role of Rama, with Vien King alternating. They will perform alongside dancers Ronelson Yadao and Ejay Arisola.

Karylle Tatlonghari, Shiela Valderrama-Martinez and Nica Tupas alternate in the role of Rama’s beloved wife Sita, with dance counterparts, Monica Gana and Katrene San Miguel.

Rak of Aegis Star Poppert Bernadas takes on the role of the demon King Ravana, alternating with Los Angeles-based musical theater actor Matthew San Jose (making his Manila debut) and Jonel Mojica. Dancing the role are Richardson Yadao and Tim Cabrera.

Theater icon Audie Gemora takes on the role of King Dasaratha. Also joining the cast are Katrine Sunga and Maron Rozelle Mabana in the dual role of King Dasaratha’s Third Wife, Kaikeyi, and the Golden Doe, while Miah Canton and Raflesia Bravo take on the dual role of Kaikeyi’s evil adviser Kooni and Ravana’s demon sister Soorpanakha.

Paw Castillo and Jon Abella do double duty as Monkey Army General Hanuman, and Rama’s brother Lakshmana.

Certain performances of Rama, Hari will have live music performed by The Orchestra of the Filipino Youth.