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Sleeping Beauty

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Any reports on SB ? Everybody must be waiting for the "Super Saturday". :excl:

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Any reports on SB ? Everybody must be waiting for the "Super Saturday". :excl:

I'll bite. I have been to both performances Monday and Tuesday night. This has been due to guilt that I have been concentrating on certain Russian ladies and not giving the home team a chance. The home team includes, btw, the Kiev-born and trained Irina Dvorovenko.

The production is not offensive any more. Tony Walton's backdrops are rather ugly with sulfuric acid yellow skylines. Yes, there is a Disney effect to the castle sets but that isn't fatal. As we all know Holly Hynes has supplied several new and improved costumes - though I personally want the old Celtic Prince's costume with the purple plaid accented with purple maribou. I would be a smash in it in the Village Halloween parade. The text is pretty much total Petipa cum Sergeyev except for some extra jumping for Prince Desiré and his attendants and a little scene dansant for the guest fairy tale characters in Act III. This little interlude between Puss in Boots, White Cat, Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf and Cinderella and her Prince disappeared on Tuesday - they are still tinkering. The solo pas for these characters including the famous one for the two cats are gone. Only the Bluebirds are left. The Act III Silver, Gold and Diamond trio is reworked into a grand pas for the fairies with no male danseur. I think this works rather well but I am willing to be flamed by purists.

It isn't great but it doesn't get in the way of superb dancers which ABT supplied.

Gillian Murphy was a lovely Aurora on Monday. NYSusan compared her in an earlier appearance with Mary Lou Retton - perhaps some coaching with Irina Kolpakova has softened her bouncy athleticism. Gillian had very sharp footwork and secure balances. I am very much liking a softness in her arms and upper body epaulement with gives lyricism and depth to her virtuosity. Jose Manuel Carreno danced very well as her Prince - the role doesn't have a lot of sustained dancing so he could pace himself. In preparing for tours and finishing pirouettes one could see a look of intense concentration on his face willing his body to do what it once did effortlessly. But I could see no real gaffes and he was superb partner and romantic stage presence.

Veronika Part is one of nature's Lilac Fairies with her lush, expansive dancing. However, I noticed that she was rather carefully planting and preparing each step which made her dancing rather jerky and piecemeal. As Roslyn Sulcas mentioned in her NY Times review this lessened as the evening went on. BTW: the text for the Lilac Fairy solos changes in each version - this one had more pirouettes and classical virtuosity. In the Royal Ballet text and the Mariinsky 1890 version I saw Part dance over a decade ago, the Lilac Fairy has a much softer Romantic line with less demanding steps.

The fairies were excellent on Monday and Tuesday. Gemma Bond stood out on Tuesday for her Fairy of Charity (Miettes qui Tombent/Breadcrumb Fairy) with her sharp nuanced footwork and elegant style. I also liked Isabella Boylston on Monday. Kristi Boone was subtle and fiery as the Fairy of Temperment (Violante) on Tuesday night. I preferred Sarah Lane's Fairy of Joy (Canari qui Chante) on Tuesday to Yuriko Kajiya's - Kajiya would flicker her fingers one or twice and then stop. The secret to these hand flutters is that they are flutters of happiness and not spastic attacks - they should look effervescent.

Sarah Lane was also lovely as Princess Florine on Monday night with Daniil Simkin as her Bluebird - a role made for him. Simkin was superb but didn't obliterate memories of Herman Cornejo in the part. He seemed to lack a note of ardor or joy - the Bluebird in the Perrault story is an enchanted prince flying up to his imprisoned love who is locked in a tower. He is bringing a song of joy and hope to one who is trapped and lost. Charles Barker's conducting on Monday dragged in places and the horns just can't play in tune.

Tuesday night brought Irina Dvorovenko and Maxim Beloserkovsky. I have been skipping them for the past year or so though I don't hate them. Irina whenever I see her dances well but always seems to have one big goof. I have come to the conclusion that I am a bad luck charm for her and when I am there I jinx her. Her Aurora was extremely stylish and thoroughly coached by Kolpakova. Very precise use of the arms and the hands. It was a lesson to all American ballerinas to see how a little flick of the wrist or flutter of the hands could add old-world finesse to the end of a pirouette or turn. Of course, there is something of the practiced coquette about Irina with her heart-shaped face and wide smile. Something rather calculated about her dancing too. Her goof came in the first series of balances where she started to sway on the third and had to drop off pointe and regain her arabesque. She did very well in the more difficult final series with the promenades. Irina also had a cape that came undone in her final tableau but her attentive husband refastened it for her.

Max is back from the looks of what I saw last night. His jetés kept pace with his companions at the beginning of the hunt scene and he nailed his assemblé turns. He is a born danseur noble but also acted better with more commitment and detail than Carreno. He expressed more Romantic angst and longing and really seemed to be searching for something. Kevin - use Max more.

Maria Riccetto as the Tuesday night Lilac Fairy danced the steps better and with more precision and attack than Part on Monday. But the audience didn't seem to care. I really was impressed with her controlled abandon and technical security but she didn't have the phrasing and stage presence to sell it. A superbly danced solo would finish with tepid applause.

The Tuesday Bluebird couple were a gorgeous Stella Abrera and Blaine Hoven. Hoven redeemed himself - he has lost the dorky haircut and the bulky overdeveloped upper body musculature that was weighting his dancing and making him ungainly. He was light and crisp as the Bluebird with razor sharp sissonnés and clean high jumps. Stella looked so elegant like a combination of Margot Fonteyn and Marianna Tcherkassky. She had a little skid on a final jump but it didn't matter. David LaMarche conducted beautifully on Tuesday and the whole show gelled just a little better.

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I saw Monday afternoon's rehearsal. This is the second time I have seen this production--the first time was its premiere. At the time, my assessment was fairly favorable. I thought it would be a good crowd pleaser (unfortunately, we need those, too). However, after sitting through a three hour rehearsal the drawbacks were much in evidence. The stage looked cramped and the scenery does not have one ounce of elegance. ( I guess I think too much of the Kirov restoration which I was fortunate to see in 1999.) There were 3 ballerinas--Act 1 Part, Act 2 Dvorevenko (with Beloserkovsky), Act 2 Wilis (and Cory Stearns). Since there was no program I am pretty sure it was Abrera as the Lilac Fairy, although the woman behind me thought it was Riccetta. Carabosse, I think was Martine van Hamel. Dvorevenko is not one of my favorites, but in all fairness I have not seen too much of her. I see her mainly at rehearsals or on a mixed bill. I am still trying to figure out who I saw in Bluebird PDD---by a process of elimination I think I saw Phillips and Lane---I would love to be sure because she was one of the best Princess Florine's I have seen; she had the beautiful elegance of a classical ballerina---no cutesy little dancer here, which is way the role is usually performed far too often. Phillips has a lot of work cut out for him before this weekend's performance. But now for my joy in seeing Veronika Part coming down that cumbersome staircase. My favorite variation in all of ballet is Aurora's Act 1--which as you know, is danced after the Rose Adagio. It's lush slow movements were made for her---I don't know when I have seen a dancer more suited to this variation. And, yes, she survived the Rose Adagio--with only one quick grab of her suitor's hand. I will be seeing Cojocaru this weekend.

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I saw Monday afternoon's rehearsal. This is the second time I have seen this production--the first time was its premiere. At the time, my assessment was fairly favorable. I thought it would be a good crowd pleaser (unfortunately, we need those, too). However, after sitting through a three hour rehearsal the drawbacks were much in evidence. The stage looked cramped and the scenery does not have one ounce of elegance. ( I guess I think too much of the Kirov restoration which I was fortunate to see in 1999.) There were 3 ballerinas--Act 1 Part, Act 2 Dvorevenko (with Beloserkovsky), Act 2 Wilis (and Cory Stearns). Since there was no program I am pretty sure it was Abrera as the Lilac Fairy, although the woman behind me thought it was Riccetta. Carabosse, I think was Martine van Hamel. Dvorevenko is not one of my favorites, but in all fairness I have not seen too much of her. I see her mainly at rehearsals or on a mixed bill. I am still trying to figure out who I saw in Bluebird PDD---by a process of elimination I think I saw Phillips and Lane---I would love to be sure because she was one of the best Princess Florine's I have seen; she had the beautiful elegance of a classical ballerina---no cutesy little dancer here, which is way the role is usually performed far too often. Phillips has a lot of work cut out for him before this weekend's performance. But now for my joy in seeing Veronika Part coming down that cumbersome staircase. My favorite variation in all of ballet is Aurora's Act 1--which as you know, is danced after the Rose Adagio. It's lush slow movements were made for her---I don't know when I have seen a dancer more suited to this variation. And, yes, she survived the Rose Adagio--with only one quick grab of her suitor's hand. I will be seeing Cojocaru this weekend.

Boylston and Radetsky danced the Blue Bird Variation at Monday's rehearsal. I loved Sasha's head scarf. BlueBird the Pirate! By that time I was ready for a good chuckle. This ballet is still a big mess. Nothing can redeem it. Horrid,

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I saw the Wednesday night performance and must say that I hated this ridiculous production a lot less than I did before.

Part and Gomes were both absolutely exquisite, the epitome of style and finesse. The Act II was especially enchanting.

I left the theater in a state of high that not a lot of mind-altering substances can help to achieve :blink:

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My apologies to Phillips---it's hard to believe that Bluebird was Radetsky.

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I saw the Wednesday night performance and must say that I hated this ridiculous production a lot less than I did before.

Part and Gomes were both absolutely exquisite, the epitome of style and finesse. The Act II was especially enchanting.

I left the theater in a state of high that not a lot of mind-altering substances can help to achieve :blink:

I concur with Waelsung.

There are certainly things I dislike about the production, but all the changes have been for the better.

The costumes are generally improved. This does unfortunately, to my eyes, make the remaining cheesy ones stand out all the worse--the King and Queen especially (her costume isn't bad in its lines, but the fabric is just so gaudy!).

I am glad the fairy knights are gone from the vision. And especially that many variations were added back into the final act, I don't even mind them being given to the prologue fairies--it gives them something to do instead of introducing new characters and I thought it worked nicely.

Part and Gomes were fantastic. The vision sequence was especially exquisite, the only downside being loud children (argh).

Her Rose adagio, while not having the longest balances in history (Her balances got longer, longer and more secure as the night went on, with some truly jaw dropping ones later in the night), was secure and joyous, no nerves visible and her gracious acknowledgment of each suitor at each balance (both sets) was in character and lovely.

Abrera as Lilac--She danced well (a few, tiny bobbles but nothing significant) but I do not see her as having the authority this role demands. I did not for an instant believe she had the power to chase off or vanquish Nancy Raffa's Carabosse. She was sweet and lovely, but the role needs more I think, and I didn't see it.

While Bluebird and Florine received much applause and started out decently, they were kind of a mess starting from their solos. Radetsky got some good height but his lines were ugly and he looked like he was gutting his way through it. Boyleston started off her variation nicely (though I thought her arm positions were a bit careless, which matters in that variation) but then had a little difficulty and the coda was sloppy. I was left with the impression this could be a good role for her (she just had some difficulties, it was her debut in the role I believe?). I did not think it an attractive part for him however.

I would be interested in hearing other's opinions however, as from the roar of the crowd, I was not in the majority on this ;) I don't mean to sound harsh!

In any case, the night belonged to Part and Gomes, and they were fantastic. She may not be everyone's ideal of Aurora, but she developed the character through all the acts and was really a dream!!

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Aurora--I agree with everything you say about the Bluebird/Florine pdd; your description seems spot-on. Boyleston started out fine but got quite sloppy at points, and Radetsky seemed to be pushing himself hard without achieving the affect of joy and airiness that should characterize the part. I too left with the impression that Boyleston could perhaps grow into and develop this role, whereas Radetsky may simply be miscast as Bluebird. Also, I've rarely seen a male dancer that can make the flapping bird arms look natural and not silly (Cornejo being the exception), so I can't really fault Radetsky too much on that point. There was a lot of enthusiastic clapping and hooting in my section after this pdd, but I think people may simply have been excited to see a more flashy section of dancing (on the flip-side of coin, some really beautiful moments last night received very little applause).

I too feel that the production is much improved--the toned down costumes, added variations, etc.--but the sets and backdrops looked as drab as ever. They are crudely daubed and uninspired (think high school play). Why are there sunnyside-up eggs growing on the castle walls? I don't think sets need to be realistic, naturalistic, or highly detailed, but they should at least evoke some sort of atmosphere and these ones evoke very little at all. It's remarkable that in a city filled with artistic, creative people, we are given something so glaringly ugly and thoughtless. The most interesting scenery comes in the last act, which seems to evoke stagecraft of eighteenth-century French theatre (the frothy clouds and gilded rays of light, the trompe-l'oeil curtains, the simple mechanical door which opens and closes in the back to reveal the characters). I think this works very well with the stylized and courtly dancing in this act.

Despite problems with the production, I was fully captivated by Veronika. I saw her in the production premier a couple years ago, but last night she appeared so much more at ease, luxuriating in every beautiful phrase of Tchaikovsky's score. While her balances were not sustained for very long in the Rose Adagio, they were very secure (no wobbling or leaning from side to side), and her last two were held significantly longer, which produced a nice effect. As aurora notes, her balances in the third act were quite stunning. What was perhaps most touching was how overjoyed she looked to be dancing with each suitor, how much she seemed to be enjoying the scent of the roses as she collected them. She always seems to make these sorts of details look poignant--never stagey. Her leaps throughout the rest of the act were impressive as usual. She was truly in her element in the Vision scene and handled the tricky technical elements very well. What was perhaps most beautiful was the pose that she strikes several times throughout the act when she stand still, with one hand above her head and other hand below, framing her face.

I was surprised that the third act was perhaps the most impressive of all. I've never thought anyone could live up to the grandeur of the music for the pas de deux, but Marcelo and Veronika surely did. And they did so through the sheer beauty and dynamism of their gestures, expression, and self-assured dancing. Their partnering was perfect (none of those glitches that sometimes crop up), and they both seemed to be casting loving glances at one another throughout, which really helps in a ballet that is sometimes romantically unconvincing.

To see Veronika dancing with so much confidence and freedom, her face aglow, was truly a wonder to behold!

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I attended on last night too (Part/Gomes)

I am still on a high, this is one of the best nights for Veronika since she came to ABT.

One of the best all arounds Auroras i have ever seen, and Marcelo was just magnificent.

Rose Adagio was great, not the longest balances ever, but good enough to pass them successfully and secure.

The rest of Aurora variation in Act I was just a dream, this ballet really needs long lines, beauty and lyricism..... its made for her, Brava !

Vision Scene was Majestic, the music here is so beautiful, i enjoyed every single movement in details, her head, arms, shoulders, i ate it all !

it was like millimetric and mathematic perfection.

whoever coached her here, OMG, what a job !

Grand pdd, probably my favorite.

Fishing Dives were literally to be recorded, perfectly positioned, her endless legs pointing straight to the sky.

Marcelo was obviously responsible for this perfection as well !

Her variation will stay in my mind for ever, her foot work was sharp, clean and crystalline as I have never seen, and the upper body expression was literally to die for.

....and the Beauty, ...yes, the beauty, I am in Tony Mendez team now, She is the Sleeping Beauty !

No doubt when you look at the stage that her monster stage presence quickly tells you who is the Princess in the group :blink:

I also loved Abrera lilac Fairy, it was very very delicate, Abrera is really soft and lyric as well.

Only problem is that close to Part, she looses a lot in the stage presence department, but I still did love her performance.

Blue bird pdd was kind of dissapointing.

I loved Radestky Bird-Like movements, even when jumping, but the problem is that he doesnt have the fireworks needed to shine in this part as

for example, Cornejo and Simkim. Boylston was ok, she got messy a couple of times, but not that bad, clean foot work in general.... in the first pdd they danced together

they fell so much behind the music, that it ended up with him lifting her without music at all, very odd, def not pretty. She has talent but this was not my fav pair whatsoever.

The rest of the Fairies / Cast was good too (not my fav Caraqbosse, but it wasnt bad either).

The production has been fixed for the good, huge difference to the premiere.

Still some things may need to be changed, so, slowly, season by season, we are getting there.

i still hate the jumping competition at the begining of the vision Scene, so out of context to me, awaful !

and i am not a big fan of Carabosse being an allien coming from the sky (actually, hate it) and the customes of her troupe (how awful this cockroaches-like customes)

some other customes are ugly too, but again, the production overall looks much better and last night proved that when danced with delight and perfection is very much enjoyable !

Bravo Marcelo and Veronika, now i am cant wait for that gorgeous SL on Monday

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......The production has been fixed for the good, huge difference to the premiere. .....

So is Burger King gone for good?

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Okay, third "Beauty" in a row for me last night.

Some more critical notes on Part. She was very lovely. I was sitting in Dress Circle with good binoculars. Her balances in the Rose Adagio were good. One or two were short but usually she held the last one. However, about halfway through the adagio I saw a look of panic hit her face. It was the point where the final set of balances with the promenades were coming up and the music was getting more ecstatic. You could see Part freeze up. Then she got to the last set and though one balance was short and she grabbed the next prince's hand quickly she held the last one a very long time.

On the other hand, her Rose Adagio was in general more successful than Dvorovenko's on Tuesday but that freezing up and panic diminished the effect. Dvorovenko recovered completely after losing the balance and coming off pointe.

However, Part has finally figured out how to dance the solo with the violin obbligato that follows the Rose Adagio. She looked lost in this solo back in 2007 sketching the steps and unable to get in sync musically. But last night she was radiant and lush phrasing each step exactly on the beat. She figured out how to work the leg beats and hops with her long legs. Her leaps at the end of Act I were exuberant. Part's delirium after pricking her finger was the most dramatic of any of the ballerinas so far - the work of a natural tragedienne.

After the intermission, everything was smooth sailing and all was right with the world - the Vision Scene was a romantic dream come to life and the third act pas de deux was commanding and elegant. Part as the Act II vision was hauntingly melancholic and lost. Gomes had commitment, passion, technique and supportive partnering to burn as her Prince. Part seemed to calm down and expand in his capable arms.

Shout out to Maria Bystrova in the first Fairy variation - she is a real Petipa ballerina. Bigger roles please and soon, Myrta and Lilac Fairy and Gamzatti would fit her perfectly.

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What was perhaps most touching was how overjoyed she looked to be dancing with each suitor, how much she seemed to be enjoying the scent of the roses as she collected them. She always seems to make these sorts of details look poignant--never stagey.

Fondoffouettes' comment reminds me of one other thing I meant to comment on (well there may be more thing, but I found this very poignant)...

I am not sure if it is the choreography as it now stands (there are so many changes), or if this was Part's own touch, but I loved what she did with the roses. Often the second batch of roses are brought over to the side by Aurora and sort of flung at the feet of the royal couple. While this can read as a moment of youthful exuberance it also does not seem very in keeping with a Princess (thanks for the roses, I'll throw them on the floor now!). Part curtseyed deeply as she dropped them reverently. It was a different effect and much more moving I felt...also more in keeping with the character and the moment. It was beautiful.

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Often the second batch of roses are brought over to the side by Aurora and sort of flung at the feet of the royal couple. While this can read as a moment of youthful exuberance it also does not seem very in keeping with a Princess (thanks for the roses, I'll throw them on the floor now!)
Aurora, you have described the effect precisely! I've often seen it done that way. I'm glad that Part had a stronger sense of appropriate, respectful court etiquette. :blink:

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I saw Radetsky as the Bluebird two years ago, and I was very disappointed by his performance. Usually I love him, but the Bluebird is probably not the role for him. I am going to see Sleeping Beauty on Saturday (the matinee) and I am really excited about it. I saw Alina C. back in 2003 when she danced La Bayadere with Angel Corella and she was just perfect. I recently bought a dvd of her dancing Aurora with the Royal Ballet, and she's just wonderful in that performance. I will post more after I see Saturday's performance.

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I too attended Wed. night's Sleeping Beauty and I feel I have to separate my comments on the ABT production itself from the comments on the performers of this evening. I loved the performers and truly disliked the production.

I thought Veronika Part and Marcelo Gomes are in the top of their field

right now; both gave performances full of rare virtues and excellence.

At the same time, I feel that the three-act Sleeping Beauty of ABT is, in terms of costumes and sets, a grim state of affairs. And I say that having seen the 'shower curtains' and the 'feather boas' of the pristine production.

Veronika Part, in my view, got progressively more interesting in delineating the qualities of Aurora, topping the performance with a show of exuberance for life in the grand pas de deux with an unsurpassed style of purity and classicism.

Abrera, as others have already pointed out, showed poise and sweetness as the Lilac Fairy but lacked a sense of authority to battle and oppose the willfulness of Nancy Raffa's Carabosse.

The Bluebird pdd was well-applauded, as aurora has pointed out. While I have no complaints about the dancers, I do have complaints with the artistic direction which chooses to make the Bluebird as unmusical as that of the Mariinsky Theatre.

The fairies, doing service both in the Prologue and the 3rd act, were well-drilled;

none, to me, showed a spark of spontaneity or musical acuity that made them stand out. Which doesn't mean the sparks weren't really there.

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I'm curious---will Osipova's Aurora on Saturday be her first ever performance of the role? (I do not believe she has danced it at the Bolshoi---?) If so, does anybody know which ABT coach she is working with on this role?

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I'm curious---will Osipova's Aurora on Saturday be her first ever performance of the role? (I do not believe she has danced it at the Bolshoi---?) If so, does anybody know which ABT coach she is working with on this role?

According to the ABT web site, this will be her first time ever in the role:

http://www.abt.org/insideabt/news_display.asp?News_ID=309

According to the NY Times interview Friday morning, Kopalkova is coaching her:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/18/arts/dan...me&ref=arts

Also according to the ABT web site, July 10 will be her first time in R&J:

http://www.abt.org/insideabt/news_display.asp?News_ID=313

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I was at Performance I of Super Saturday. Alas, the only thing super about it, IMO, was the exquisite Alina Cojacaru.

She was luminous and lovely from the moment she appeared on the staircase. Alina has put a lot of thought into her interpretation of Aurora and she projects all the blessings bestowed on the Princess by her godmothers. I had tears streaming down my cheeks during the Rose Adagio. The sweet flirting with her suitors and genuine excitement at being moments away from her engagement, the loving bond with her parents and, of course, her dancing. She manages to make her almost knee touching her ear extension look like the most natural thing in the world -- not vulgar at all. Her balances went on and on. Next to Fonteyn and Kolpakova, it was the most gorgeous Rose Adagio I've ever seen. Alina also posesses beautiful phrasing which was on display in her main Act I solo.

Act II is my favorite portion of SB. The Pas de Trois with that gorgeous cello solo. Alina's presence was of one genuinely spirit-like -- rather like Giselle as a Willi. Again, her 180 extensions are natural, not stunt-like and tacked on, but an organic part of her seamlessly connecting steps.

The GPDD wasn't as special as expected. Carreno didn't look as sharp and energetic as he did as Basilio 2 weeks ago. His partnering was strong, with dramatic fishdives one after the other, and the chemistry was there. Carreno has been lucky this season, partnering Osipova's fireball of a Kitri and Alina in the space of 2 weeks. I'm happy for him even though as a dancer his sun is sadly setting.

The production itself is a mess. I agree with the comments about the Disneyesque look of everything, from the colors of the Fairies' costumes to the inexplicable "Creature from the Black Lagoon" shirts worn by the Fairies' cavaliers in the Prologue. And why was Aurora in a green streaked bridal tutu?

Also I was dumbfounded by the White Cat/Puss in Boots/Red Riding Hood/Wolf/Cinderella/Prince Charming ensemble. There were several awkward moments were the 6 of them just stood at the front of the stage looking at eachother with no choreography.

Sadly, I wasn't impressed by Abrera's Lilac Fairy. She was lyrical and pretty, but lacked the regal presence the Veronika Part brought to the role a few years ago. Joseph Phillips, unfortunately, doesn't have the lofty jumps or consistent leg beats for Bluebird.

Nonetheless, this afternoon belonged to Alina. She's a very special dancer and it was thrilling to see her perform live.

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I saw Cojocaru this afternoon. I have been watching ballet since the 1970's and have to say that Cojocaru's Aurora was on a different plane from anyone I have ever seen. I can't describe what I felt and thought about her performance. It reminded me that great art cannot be translated adequately - like that old quote - "talking about love is like dancing about architecture." I can't put into words what I saw, maybe others can.

Other things about the performance - The production has a lot of problems but has eliminated some of the most egregious. Still - The entrance of the fairies (being carried on), the lack of clarity of the fairies bestowing gifts, the garland dance/entrance of the suitors, that spider web thing, the way the fairies keep popping up, the elimination of the character variations in the wedding act etc. I also dislike that blue bird ppd, with a brief interlude from Lilac Fairy, leads into the wedding pas. I've noted with a lesser Aurora than Cojocaru this can turn into dueling pas de deux. Not a good production, but I'd sit through it all again, and again to see Cojocaru.

I had never seen Abrera in a significant role before. I loved her Lilac fairy. The moment she entered and did her small variation, I knew we were in good hands. Her main variation was beautiful. Her port de bras is so lovely, her line beautiful, and she brought a sweetness to her benevolence in the role. Principal dancer material IMO

Among the fairies Kajaya was a stand out, not only in her variation, but most particularly when dancing along side the other fairies. Her musicality, technique and line really stood out. Bystrova drove me crazy by being a little late with the music throughout her variation. A little like back singing.

Blue bird - Joseph Phillips was a disappointment. Maybe I have impossibly high standards (Bujones is my favorite memory of this role). Phillips has a high jump but he fell short. He only did maybe 4 entrechat at the end - ended early and I don't know why it couldn't have been better. Maria Riccetto did the as well as most. The most interesting woman in this pas in recent history, for me, has been across the plaza - Tiler Peck.

Carreno was fine. It seems to me that he is nearing the end of his career. Nothing was sloppy, his jumps and turns delivered, his partnering was terrific. No complaints. I wondered how much rehearsal time Carreno & Cojocaru had. The pulled off some pretty spectacular stuff.

Last comment - as a long time ballet goer, I've lost interest in certain ballets, and have avoided those ballets for years - I'd see Cojocaru in anything. Have her dance the phonebook - I'm there.

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I just came from back to back Sleeping Beauty's. I saw in the afternoon Alina Cojocaru/Jose Manuel Carreno/Stella Abrera, and in the evening Natalia Osipova/David Hallberg/Michele Wiles.

I think overall, the afternoon performance was stronger, mainly because of the incredibly radiant Aurora of Alina Cojocaru and the Lilac Fairy of Stella Abrera. Cojocaru is a pro at Aurora, and it shows -- the Rose Adagio had some shaking, but she soldiered on, and held her hands up triumphantly in 5th every time. This dancer's persona of girlish delicacy is blended with an incredibly strong technique. She can at times seem ethereal, and then thrill the audience with incredibly fast, snappy turns. Her airy jump, her delicate use of her arms, her ability to transition seamlessly between a sixteen year old girl, a fairy sprite, and finally a regal princess -- I just felt incredibly lucky to have seen it. The audience loved her too, judging by the rapturous ovations she got throughout the performance.

I'm so glad I saw Stella Abrera again -- what a lovely, lyrical dancer, and it's too bad her career seems to have gotten sidetracked by injuries. The afternoon fairy set of Gemma Bond, Simone Messmer, Maria Bystrova, Yuriko Kajiya and Luciana Paris in general was stronger than the evening fairy set. Jose Manuel Carreno gave a good, solid performance, but it was not as memorable as the performances of Cojocaru and Abrera.

In the evening, Natalia Osipova made her debut as Aurora. The house was sold out to the max. Alas, the performance was excellent, but I didn't feel that Osipova's Aurora was quite at the level of her Giselle and Kitri. And I wouldn't expect it to be -- this is after all her debut. But she was noticeably nervous. Her face during the Rose Adagio turned into a hard grimace, and she didn't hold her hands up in 5th in the first set of balances. She did in the final turns with the princes, but the effort showed, and she for once seemed workmanlike. She still had that incredible elevation and ability to hang in the air, but there was definitely a lot of caution in her performance. I think with time she will become a great Aurora, but she's not quite there yet. Her dancing perked up noticably when David Hallberg strode onstage. My friend noted that their partnership is a lot like Astaire and Rogers -- the classical purist with the whizbang phenom, and they have a great rapport. The fishdives in the Act 3 pdd were executed with a lovely snap.

Daniel Simkin predictably brought the house down as Bluebird but I find the choreography of the ABT to be very watered down during Act 3. It's funny how the NYCB can make a Sleeping Beauty that also is streamlined, yet somehow complete. The divertissements of Act 3 are given their due in the NYCB version.

Michele Wiles was a very disappointing Lilac Fairy. Somehow she gives the impression of dancing, but not moving. Everything is very careful, by the numbers, and she doesn't add much body to the Lilac Fairy's choreography. Her habit of holding her head and arms in this one stiff position doesn't help. I certainly hope she can find a way to make her performances right now more exciting.

I find the production at this point pretty unoffensive, but definitely one of the weaker productions among the major ballet companies of the world. The NYCB for instance has a much stronger production, and they're not even known for full-length evening classics. It's a strange phenomenon -- the ABT routinely has some of the best dancers of the world dancing in such weak productions.

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I attended this afternoon's performance of Sleeping Beauty. Earlier posters have eloquently described Alina Cojocaru's performance, and I would just like to add that I will always treasure her Aurora. Her near perfect balances, lush phrasing, and gossamer lightness were truly amazing. She embodied the ideal of classicism and the character as well: she lit up the stage of the Met. Let's hope it's not another seven years before we see her with ABT again.

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I'd also add that I waited at the stage door to see Alina and to have her sign my Giselle dvd. It was worth the wait. The sweet humility she projects onstage are absolutely not an act -- she was so kind and patient with every last girl who wanted to have her picture taken with Alina. She must have been tired but that didn't stop her from endlessly signing programs and posing for pictures.

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I am an Alina devotee. It was thrilling to see her today in Sleeping Beauty. She was absolutely radiant and true to her character in every movement and gesture. Underlying her artistry was an incredibly strong technique. Her turns especially were secure, powerful with gorgeous placement. Alina lovingly shaped space with her delicate epaulment, expressive pointe work and exquisitely lyrical torso.

Stella Abrera was delightful and Jose Carreno appropriately gallant. Martine van Hamel added a welcome jolt of mature authority. Sad to say though, IMO, the production was leaden rather than magical. The staging was cramped and suffocating. Most everyone else seemed to be performing underwater. There was no energy, life or joy. But, unfortunately, there did seem to be an abundance of mediocre dancing.

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I have to agree with canbelto. I thought that of the 3 roles Osipova has performed here, this was her weakest. She struggled during the Rose Adagio and,in general, her performance lacked the charm and lightness that I thought she would she would bring to it. David Hallberg, on the other hand was marvelous - a perfect prince; he was elegant, classical and technically superb. My favorite performances of the evening, however, were those of Daniil Simkin and Sarah Lane as the Bluebird couple. His elevation and her crispness were wonderful and the two of them did bring down the house.

I also agree about Michele Wiles being a very disappointing Lilac Fairly. I have never been a fan of her dancing and tonight I thought this was one of her worst performances. In all her years as a principal she has never lost the rigidity of her head and arms - there is no expressiveness at all. Even worse, I thought the attributes she formerly displayed in her lower body have deteriorated. Her jumps lacked elevation and strength and her extensions were low. She has little stage presence and projection and really no theatrical charisma. It seems a shame that she stays as a principal when there are so many other talented soloists (Lane, Riccetto and Kajiya, for example) waiting in the wings with small roles that don't adequately display their talents. ABT really needs some additional good principal ballerinas; maybe it's time for a little turnover, bringing up some of the younger dancers while they are still young, in their prime and can truly develop as artists.

Finally, I must say that this Disneyfied production of Sleeping Beauty is really lacking. So much of the ballet's original beautiful choreography has been either changed or entirely eliminated ( I especially miss the variations in the last act). It's a shame. Maybe some day ABT will return to the older version of the ballet.

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There isn't too much I can add about Cojocaru's stellar performance...but her variation in Act 3 particularly enchanted me. Her fine English influence to detail was much in evidence. The port de bras is so important in this variation....I don't know if it is a fact or not, but an old Russian ballet teacher once told me that Aurora was telling a story with her arms---about how she was once small but now is grown. Carreno was a most attentive and warm-hearted Prince--she was fortunate to have him as a partner.

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