Sumptuous telling of timeless tale

Sleeping Beauty

Moscow Ballet – La Classique

Belgrade Theatre

****

SLEEPING Beauty is a sumptuous feast for all the senses. It is traditionally set with amazing costumes, and more. The set is magnificent, the dancing unbelievable and the music, albeit pre-recorded, out of this world.

Each half of the programme includes some great vignettes from the principal dancers – with the Lilac Fairy (Mayya Zaripova) and Princess Aurora (Ekaterina Shalyapina) featuring strongly.

Princess Aurora was such an amazing dancer and so watchable – in fact I found I couldn’t NOT watch her – and that I would have wished some of her solos again. Her support from Prince Florimund (Sergey Kuptsov) – such a difficult role – was wonderful and really moving.

The story had some subtle differences from the norm but was told really clearly and so was completely both understandable and believable.

Princess Aurora is born to the king and queen after a long period of waiting and is loved and protected as much as possible. The fairies at the christening give her all the charm she needs but the uninvited bad fairy’s curse could lead to her death. She will prick her finger at 16 and die.

The Lilac fairy has hung back to give her gift and ameliorates matters by reducing the death sentence to a sleep of a hundred years. All needles are banished but, on Aurora’s birthday, an old woman appears with a bunch of flowers and a needle secreted within.

Aurora’s sleep passes and the Lilac Fairy alerts the exceptionally handsome prince that the century of sleep is coming to a close and he wakes her with a kiss. She wakes the rest of the court and the jollifications of a great wedding feast get underway.

The production is not without humour, the second half included some well-known pantomime characters including Bluebird and Florine, Puss in Boots and White Cat, and Little Red Riding Hood which were delightful.

It is always a delight to see children enjoying a show and I’m suspecting that some budding ballet stars were there to watch and learn from some of the best in the world.

There’s no other way to say this – this was a completely wonderful evening, glorious in so many ways and strictly gorgeous!

The same company is bringing Swan Lake and Giselle to the Belgrade and other venues 13-15 March 2014.

Nov 2013. 

Jane Howard 

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