sleeping beauty head

Sleeping Beauty

Malvern Theatres

****

THE Russian State Ballet of Siberia are touring the UK with five ballets, four of them by the incomparable Tchaikovsky, and last night they presented The Sleeping Beauty. 

Over the next few days they are performing the other three: Swan Lake, The Snow Maiden and The Nutcracker.

The Sleeping Beauty tells the story of Princess Aurora. At her court presentation as a baby born to King Florestan and his Queen, she is celebrated by all the nobles and indeed the good fairies of the realm, but the festivities are interrupted by the Evil Fairy, Carabosse

Carabosse pronounces a curse over the baby that as a young woman she will prick her finger and die. When the Princess turns sixteen the evil spell is realised, but the good Lilac Fairy pronounces that she is not dead but asleep. She waves her wand and the whole kingdom falls into a deep sleep.

One hundred years later, Prince Désiré arrives with a hunting party and is given a vision of the sleeping Princess by the Lilac Fairy. When his kiss restores her to life the whole kingdom is renewed and all ends . . .  happily ever after!

The Russian State Ballet present a sumptuous production. Visually the scene is grandiose, the colours very beautiful and the costumes are designed with great variety and are well-coordinated.

The opening scenes are presented in pastel shades of blue and pink. In the second act the colours are brighter and bolder, but no expense has been spared in the costume department.

The choreography is very classical and majors on symmetry and balance. The two lead roles, the Prince and Princess, each have three dancers who dance the parts in different performances. 

Here Yuri Kudriavtsev and Ekaterina Bulgutova danced with tremendous poise, elegance, grace and precision.  Towards the end, lots of fairy tale characters from Charles Perrault’s stories come to celebrate the wedding: Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf, Princess Florine and Bluebird, the White Cat and Puss-in-Boots, Cinderella and the Prince. Some provided humour as well as romance in their dances.

The show was performed with great classical precision and neatness. What lifted the whole production to the highest level was the glorious music by Tchaikovsky with its variety and dramatic energy. The orchestra were excellent, the range of instrumentation enriched by the harp, the trombones and bassoons with their delightful sounds.

For a formal and traditionally presented interpretation of the classical Tchaikovsky ballets, the Russian State Ballet of Siberia provide a fine and polished example, but there is a certain stiffness and formality that means they do not quite stir the heart to the heights.

Tim Crow

The Sleeping Beauty can be seen at Wolverhampton Grand on 21 March

09-02-16 

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