Reviews of the Bolshoi Ballet in "The Sleeping Beauty."
What do we see? Gold, gleaming gold, eye-blistering baroque gold, twirling round ivory barley-sugar twist columns that each, I’m told, required its own shipping container from Russia, all designed by the master of lavish majesty, Ezio Frigerio, who brought more restrained fabulousness to Rudolf Nureyev’s productions for Paris Opera Ballet and English National Ballet, and who designed Nureyev’s grave in Paris. Evidently tens of millions of rubles have been spent on this production, and it doesn't intend to hide it.
As Moscow's Bolshoi Ballet continues its London season, the company is glorying in the golden age of Russian ballet with this Petipa classic, tweaked over the years but never straying too far in spirit from its 19th-century roots. It's one of the enduring greats, but does it really deserve its revered status?
It’s dazzling, but flat: it doesn’t frame the great battle between good and evil taking place within its confines, but instead reduces it to story book prettiness where nothing really important is at stake.
This undermines the great emotional impact of Tchaikovsky’s music, which the Bolshoi Orchestra take at a speed that indicates they are desperate to catch the last bus.
Grigorovich’s staging flattens the traditional text, fiddling with the gorgeous geometry of Petipa’s fairy dances. Ditching the detail, Grigorovich also makes some staggeringly unmusical cuts to Tchaikovsky’s score. Conductor Pavel Sorokin takes the score very fast: the dances need more room to breathe.