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Alexandra

Which Auroras have you seen?

22 posts in this topic

Which ballerinas have you seen dance Aurora?

Which ballerina(s) define the role for you?

(Include what makes a great Aurora for you. What do you look for in an Aurora?)

[ November 06, 2001: Message edited by: alexandra ]

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Julie Kent was a fine Aurora for ABT as was Amanda McKerrow -- whose girlishness, even as a mature dancer, made this a particularly fine bit of casting. (I was struck, Alexandra, to find you saying on another thread how mature she was even as a teenager -- because she is also paradoxically so very insouciante and girlish even as a principal).

In the Kirov production, I saw Vishneva. On the whole I think it was the most electric, exciting performance of Aurora that I've seen, but that may not be the most valid criterion. Of course Diana Vishneva is worlds apart from either Kent or McKerrow in what she aims for and in her qualities as a Ballerina. But particularly in the Vision scene, flitting in and out of the massed corps, constantly evading the prince, she was quite unforgetable.

At NYCB I've seen Margaret Tracy, Wendy Whelan and Jennifer Ringer in this role over the years (and even Yvonne Borree once, in a very tense performance). One matinee performance by Tracy stands out as about the best thing I ever saw her do. On the other hand, I don't like Whelan in this role - but I've noticed that opinions of her are generally very polarized -- either you love her or you hate her in any particular role, there is seldom any middle ground.

I've also seen video of Fonteyn (I assume it was a Royal Ballet [british] production). She defines the role, I would say -- but I can't really measure a video against a live performance with any confidence and the image of her Aurora is rather abstract for me -- perfect but cold and unreal (because I didn't really see it).

[ November 07, 2001: Message edited by: Michael1 ]

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Another hard question, Alexandra!

The first year I saw the Royal Ballet, I saw Fonteyn and Beriosova. The NEXT tour, in 1963, - THE production - they had 7 ballerinas performing the role: Fonteyn, Beriosova, Nerina, Sibley, Park, Page and Linden. I adored Beriosova - her Aurora was girlish, totally thrilled to be at a "grownup" party (Act I), a beautifully-danced and remote "vision" (Act II), and a woman in love (Act III). The ONLY Aurora who ever came close was Kolpakova. Since then, I've seen everyone who ever did the role up to 1982 - and then whoever did it in NYC on tour.

I guess I saw all the "old" Kirov ballerinas perform the role: Kolpakova, Kurgapkina, Sizova, Komleva, etc. I know someone here is going to say - "well, in that case you MUST have seen ..., and no doubt I did. I saw Vishneva do the "revival" production. My problem is that however beautifully she danced, it didn't quite fit in with the spirit of a revival - nor with the costumes (excessively high extensions causing the costume to flop over her head).

I've seen Makarova in several productions with different companies - she was charming but very mannered.

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Fonteyn - The Magic of Dance series (anyone else remember this)

Lucia Lacarra - SFBallet

Joanna Berman

Vanessa Zahorian

Tina LeBlanc

Darci Kistler

I think that's it. Fonteyn was my favorite.

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Yes, LMTech, 'The Magic of Dance'! What a wonderful series that was. The color film footage of Fonteyn dancing the Rose Adagio was absolutely sublime. She captured, more that an other ballerina I've seen, the glowing, blissful essence of Aurora.

I've yet to see SB performed live, but Irina Kopalkova's Aurora was lovely, especially in the violin solo portion of her Act III solo. Her supple arm and hand movements were exquisite.

Cynthia Gregory's Aurora had a huge impact on me because it was my introduction to ballet. Looking back, she may have not been ideally cast as a 16-year-old princess, but what she lacked as an ingenue she more than made up for in regal presence and remarkable virtuosity.

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Originally posted by Melissa:

regal presence and remarkable virtuosity.


I couldn't have said it any better: that's my recipe for a perfect Aurora.

I've seen, on tape.

Veronica Tennant, who comes very close to my ideal. Too bad they cut her variation in Act 1.

Irina Kolpakove: very delicate, but the tape I saw was shot when she was way past her prime, and her virtuosity was waning.

Nina Semizorova

Larissa Lezhnina

Nina Ananiashvili: I saw act 3 adagio only, on one of those Russian compilation tapes. I'd love to see her do the whole ballet. Live.

The only time I saw Beauty live, Lucia Lacarra did Aurora. Don't get me started. rolleyes.gif

[ November 07, 2001: Message edited by: BalletNut ]

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The live performance I remember most was Gelsey Kirkland at the Met. It was a very unfinished performance, I imagine she had not been dancing the role long. She looked charming in the Messel designs for Act I and was a spontaneous, young princess. Her performance was marred by trying, mostly unsuccessfully, for triples on her pirouettes. I think that over time she could have been one of the great Auroras.

I must have seen Fonteyn on video but not in the full length ballet.

The perfect Aurora for me was Sizova. The production on the video I saw was an unusual one, lots of dancing on pointe by Carbosse (danced by a woman). Sizova's style was perfect and she is utterly believable in all three acts. I would have loved to see her in a live performance.

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As with productions, there is a gap between the number of Auroras I've seen and the ones that stick in my mind. I recall Fonteyn, Beriosova, Annette Page, Ayupova, Maya Dumchenko and Darcey Bussell. Of these Fonteyn and Darcey Bussell were by far the most memorable. Fonteyn had such sweetness and radiance, and there were moments of sheer joy in her performances that made me cry with happiness however often I saw them. Darcey Bussell isn't the world's greatest actress, but the qualities needed for Aurora are her natural qualities, sunny innocence and radiance. Both she and Fonteyn did superb Rose Adagios!

I don't really count performances on video, but I did think Kolpakova had great style in spite of her age - she must have been 50-ish in the video I saw.

[ November 08, 2001: Message edited by: Helena ]

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I was lucky enough to see Fonteyn, very much at the end of her career, and to be obvious, she does define Aurora for me--no acting, but being. Darci Kistler in the few performances she did in the NYCB production had that same quality, she just glowed. Judith Fugate was another of my favorites in that production, it was so beautifully danced, and she caught the different character of each act so well. I also saw Ayupova when the Kirov brought the production to NY, and she was so lovely in the role. It is so difficult, besides the technical challenges, the dancer, for me at least, must have perfect proportions, and no exaggerations, and be so convincing that there is no hint of acting. There has to be an inner glow, but no grinning (either actual or metaphorical).

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The first Aurora I ever saw was Antoinette Sibley in 1964 and the most recent was Diana Vishneva whom I saw this summer. In between I must have seen a large number, I’ve remembered 17 names in all and a further 7 that I’ve seen on video.

The finest was Fonteyn, far and away the best both technically and dramatically. At the Royal Ballet both Jennifer Penny and Lesley Collier danced the Rose Adagio with time stopping balances and Ludmilla Semenyaka came closest to portraying a radiant young princess among the Russians.

I’ve always maintained that this ballet is the ultimate technical challenge for the ballerina, either she can dance it or she can’t. It frightens many of them too. In the first act there is only the tiniest solo before she has to launch into the Rose Adagio, not enough time to dispel first night nerves. And the pressure really mounts up. I was told by one dancer, after her first performance in the role, that in the awakening scene she was so exhausted that as she lay on the bed she found to her horror that she was actually falling asleep. A sleeping beauty in more ways than one!

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Agnes Oaks (English National Ballet)

Leticia Muller (Birmngham Royal Ballet)

Miyako Yoshida

Darcy Bussell

Diana Vishniva

Mayo Dumchenco

Larissa Lezhnina

Altynia Asylmuratova

Yoshida danced with great precision but little emotion.

Bussell is almost the perfect Aurora.

Muller - the most delicious.

The Kirov are all of a high standard, but the most outstanding of all was Asylmuratova. I was so overcome with emotion that not only did I weep during the performance but was unable to speak for over a hour after the performance.

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I have to agree with Colwill on Asylmuratova. When I hear 'Aurora' she is the dancer that comes to my mind. I saw her performance way back in the summer of 1989 when the Kirov visited Washington, DC and she will always be my definitive princess in that ballet. She was all youth, joy, radiance, and marvelous dancing and that sealed her in my heart forever. Instead of being moved to tears, though, I felt like I could fly afterward!

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What a nice topic. I must say I really love Viviana Durante of the Royal Ballet as Aurora. I absolutely loved the way she came down the stairs to her waiting guests at the birthday party, looking a bit uncertain and shy but unable to control her excitement. The King and Queen were so much taller than her, too, so the effect of her seeking approval from them every so often was heightened by her going on pointe to be kissed on the forehead. It accentuated Aurora's youth.

As the "vision" conjured up by the Lilac Fairy, Viviana's Aurora was delicate and more mature. By the time the wedding came around, she was just glorious. And boy did Zoltan Solymosi as the Prince swoop her up in lifts with ease! He's huge compared to her! biggrin.gif

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As Aurora I have seen :

Margaret Tracey- very sunny,bright,and warm,okay in her acting and mime,not so secure in her technique(in her Rose Adagio she visibly fell back in her first balances in attitude and a bit insecure in the Grand PDD)

Viviana Durante- overall her portrayal was excellent,one of the very best Auroras I have seen.If I had to choose my ideal Aurora it would be very like her.

Lorna Feijoo- wonderful in her technique,with dazzling pirouttes and secure balances,high extensions and impressive foot and pointe work,daring in her PDD.But that was it, her performance impressed only because of her technique.

Nina Ananiashvili- very good but I do not think this role is suited to her type,she's better in soubrette and Romantic-era roles.Aurora is too regal and classical for her.

Irina Kolpakova- one of my favorite Aurora,she dances this role with perfect adherence to the Kirov tradition.

Paloma Herrera- she did not have the refined technique or the regal presennce and acting skills to really inhabit this role.

[ February 25, 2002: Message edited by: Lovebird ]

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I'm extremely new to this art form. I started working for Ballet Internationale last summer (2003), and had only seen 2 live performances prior to that...yes, The Nutcracker! So, take these comments for what they're worth.

A few months ago my Artistic Director, Eldar Aliev, showed me the video from the early 80's with Irina Kolpakova as Aurora. (I believe she was 52 at the time.) The reason for watching was to prepare for a new staging of "The Sleeping Beauty" that we were premiering in April. When I saw Irina dance, I was in awe. Her movements reminded me of silk blowing in a breeze. I know she was "past her prime", and I have a very limited background, but it's still hard to imagine anyone moving more beautifully. (Of course, I'm a little biased since she and her husband Vlad Seminov work here! Even in her 70s, she still floats around with incredible grace, and a smile on her face! Watcher her teach the role of Aurora to a new generation of dancers was a treat...)

This is my first post, and I want to thank everyone who participates. It's been very educational for me.

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Welcome, MarketingGuy! I've seen the same video, and I was in awe. She's so pure -- and was considered the great Soviet Aurora of her day, some would say THE greatest. (For me, she and Fonteyn were both the greatest.)

I envy you, watching her walk the halls on a regular basis!

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On video, Viviana Durante (in a performance that helped add fuel to my love for ballet fire), Fonteyn, Kolpakova

In person, Paloma Herrera, who basically treated her role as Kitri but in a pink tutu instead of red.

And from the back of the stage and the wings, the principals in the company i dance with, we just finished a SB run of shows

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On film:

Cynthia Gregory -- which sparked my passion for ballet.

Fonteyn -- black & white and color films of Rose Adagio.

No Aurora, in my opinion, has ever been so magical as Fonteyn's. She owns the role.

Kolpakova -- Radiant and pure

Durante -- Nothing special

In live performance:

Susan Jaffe in Act III -- terrific technically but ho-hum otherwise.

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On film:

Cynthia Gregory -- which sparked my passion for ballet.

Fonteyn -- black & white and color films of Rose Adagio.

No Aurora, in my opinion, has ever been so magical as Fonteyn's. She owns the role.

Kolpakova -- Radiant and pure

Durante -- Nothing special

In live performance:

Susan Jaffe in Act III -- terrific technically but ho-hum otherwise.

Live: Lesley Collier, Marguerite Porter, Asylmuratova, Vishneva

Tape (*= Full performance): Margot Fonteyn, Merle Park*, Veronica Tennant*, Gabriella Komleva, Cynthia Gregory*, Carla Fracci, L. Lezhnina*, L. Semenyaka*,

Nina. Semizorova*, Irina Kolpakova* , Viv Durante*.

I agree with you regarding Viv's performance. The scenery and costumes didn't help either - (anyone remember the 1994 Covent Garden production :) )?

For me, Kolpakova was the best. It looked like she kept a perfect turnout for 3 hrs and 30 minutes. As a result you could see the pattern in every enchainment. Radiant, pure, and I'll add crystal clear. Extraordinary ballerina.

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I have seen 3 videos: with Kolpakova, Asylmuratova and Lezhnina. I would probably say that Kolpakova and Lezhnina were wonderful. They created the mood perfectly. On tape, Asylmuratova didn't look like the perfect Aurora; it seems that her acting was a little too deep for this role. However, performances are different so it may very well be just this one that isn't so successful.

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One Sunday matinee many years ago I was lucky enough to see Annette Page and her husband Ronald Hynd in Beauty. They were someting special. One bit that has stayed in my mind ever since was a moment during the Vision Scene where Hynd tried to grasp Aurora but she magically, it seemed, eluded him almost as though she was not real. It was at the moment that the true meaning of "Vision" became apparent. I had never seen such a moment before or after. (And Fontyn was always one of my favorite Beauties, if not THE.) Until that performance I was never sure if Aurora was really there or it was just a vision of her. That clinched it for me

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