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29\12\04 POB Sleeping Beauty

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POB Sleeping Beauty 29-12-04

Marie-Agnes Gillot was scheduled to dance Aurora, but indisposition replaced her with Agnes Letestu.

Ms Letestu proved to be one of the most convincing Auroras that I feel privileged to have seen.

The Rose Adagio was a glorious display of technical proficiency in the service of the pas d'action. Ms Letestu is an artist who convinces the viewer there is a story unfolding --in this case, the debut into adulthood of a young girl. In the Rose Adagio , while dancing with and for her suitors, she shows modesty and charm and a totally beguiling demeanor, which serves as a model of directness and honesty. It's rare to see the R A so elegantly brought to life.

Her partner, guest artist Roberto Bollé, made a solid showing as Desiré, esp. in the long, meditative solo which Nureyev introduced in the second act. As a partner for Letestu, they were well matched. Save for a minor partnering flub in the Vision scene, their double work looked flawlessly smooth. One wonders how much rehearsal time they had to prepare for the performance. (I did read they have danced together in the past, in Don Q).

The POB maintains the 1997 production of Sleeping Beauty with Nureyev's choreography (1987), decor by Ezio Frigirio and costumes by Franca Squarciapino.

It is very grand (white wigs for all in the third act) and very decorative and seemingly ruled by the dictum 'more is more'.

The six fairy variations of the Prologue were very well performed. (The second as a duet). A standout was Aurora Corderlier in red tutu in the sixth variation (Violente in other versions). She was also the Silver Fairy in the third act --equally impressive.

The soloists in the third act were altogether superb. In the 'precious stones' pas de cinq, Cordelier as Silver had a male Gold partner, Julien Meyzindi, who performed a complex variation with Nureyev's stamp all over it. The 'stones' were Hallé,

Boulet, and Hecquet in brilliant colored tutus.

The White Cat and Puss in Boots duo was so well danced by Mathilde Froustey and Sebastien Bertand, that it was easy to look at it and enjoy as pure dance, apart from its pantomimic values.

Emmanuel Thibault danced the Bluebird with aplomb and lots of batterie, not often seen in other productions. Melanie Hurel was an ebbulient Florine, who listened for her partner with her whole being.

Nureyev's choreography for the Bluebird pdd follows Soviet versions; the flicked wrists sequence after the shoulder lift makes the final pose late and unmusical.

Nureyev for some reason eliminated the apotheosis, a musical loss, if nothing else.

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Thank you for this, Chaipuris. I always enjoy reading about what you've seen on your travels!

I've only seen the POB Nureyev Sleeping Beauty on video (it was televised), and I agree that it's "more is more" -- I think deliberately so, that it's deliberately Baroque. It makes the case that "Sleeping Beauty" is the last great court ballet. Which is why the omission of the Apotheosis is so odd -- I agree. It would be so wonderful to see Louis XIV/Apollo descend on that stage! I have a very vague memory of reading in an interview that Nureyev felt the Apotheosis demanded a fountain, and that few stages in the world could provide one. I have a vaguer memory that that's why he staged it in Milan -- because there was a fountain. But I've never read any detailed accounts of the La Scala production.

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