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REVIEWS: The Sleeping Beauty


nysusan

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Friday, June 8 performance

I couldn't believe that the lights were up behind the "shower curtain". I could see people wandering about and stretching. There were several points in the prologue that just looked as if there were too many people on the stage--either that or they didn't know where they were supposed to be.

I HATE seeing a man as Carabosse. The performances are almostly always OOT, hammy and comical. I can't find any menace at all this type of a performance.

That's interesting because I found Kirkland so hammy and over the top that I was laughing out loud (quietly) :) in spots. She immediately brought to mind a man overplaying the role. While I'm not convinced that they belong in this production, I loved Carabosse's minion's costumes.

Dvorovenko and Beloserkovsky danced well. Wiles did not move me.

I was disappointed that they cut several of the variations in the last act. I was also disappointed in Saveliev. He didn't seem to have the stamina for the Bluebird. His jumps markedly lost elevation as his solo progressed, and it seemed to me that he dropped some of the beats towards the end.

I saw the June 8 performance and loved it. I should say, I disliked the sets and costumes but felt Miss Kirkland's coaching of the female roles, particularly the fairies in the Prologue, paid off beautifully. Jacquline Reyes is from our school in New Orleans so let me state that first - I have watched her grow up. She danced the Fairy of Charity and received applause in the middle of her variation which does not often happen. Much of the stinging and sarcastic criticism from the professional critics in my view has been extremely personal to Miss Kirkland and based on a lack of knowledge of classical ballet and this ballet in particular. There are not many good critics these days. People seem to derive a lot of enjoyment bashing the production team's concept of this Sleeping Beauty and with the exception of praising their particular favorites, ignoring the magnificent coaching, the quite interesting concepts, and the fabulous dancing of almost everybody in the company. (I do agree about Saveliev.) The orchestra sounded great. I am new to this forum, however, this is a ballet I know very well and I'd love to see it again. Plus, Gelsey is still wonderful to watch on stage.

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Hello Juliajane and welcome to Ballet Talk!

I hope you'll jump into more discussions. And now, I will put my foot in my mouth and speak as one of the professional critics who slammed the production.

I danced ballet professionally as well as choreographed. I never danced Beauty professionally but certainly learned the roles. My experience of Sleeping Beauty as a viewer includes versions of the ballet done by The Royal Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet, New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre (including earlier versions than this), the Mariinsky Ballet (new and old versions), National Ballet of Canada, Pennsylvania Ballet and others I can't remember offhand in two decades.

You have every right to disagree with those who disliked the production and think we're wrong. But please don't say that our dislike comes from lack of knowledge. As far as I'm concerned, it is in fact my knowledge of other, far better versions that makes me dislike this one so much.

Best regards -

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I would like to second Leigh's comments, especially as one of those who had some fairly unflattering things to say about the Sleeping Beauty. I have seen many performances, not least the monumental Kirov reconstruction, and especially in a ballet as important as this one (I don't think it is an exaggeration to say that without the Sleeping Beauty, there would be no 20th century ballet--just think, no Diaghilev, no Balanchine, no Pavlova, no Roya1 Ballet, no ABT, etc. etc.)--any new production will be judged by quite high standards, especially since the original choreography is not hard to reconstruct. I didin't see anything personal directed against Kirkland as a performer, just the results of her work. I tought the Fairy variations, especially, were disappointing. The first had none of the magnificently flowing phrasing that the Royal Ballet gives it, and some of the dancers actually clomped their feet. The second was the best, by far. The third, thought the flickering hands were lovely, didn't have the arabesques that seem to echo the undertones of the music, just some assorted hops. The Songbird fairy was far too prominent and played for easy laughs. Yan Chen, in the old ABT production, phrased it so much more elegantly. The fifth was too harsh. The Kirov version had the dancer curl her fingers, which was much lovlier. Petipa was inspired by a demonstration of electricity after all, not pile driving. And the geometry was all wrong, with musical highlights completely glossed over. You may disagree, but I don't think anyone I read was ignorant of the history of Sleeping Beauty.

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Hello Juliajane and welcome to Ballet Talk!

I hope you'll jump into more discussions. And now, I will put my foot in my mouth and speak as one of the professional critics who slammed the production.

I danced ballet professionally as well as choreographed. I never danced Beauty professionally but certainly learned the roles. My experience of Sleeping Beauty as a viewer includes versions of the ballet done by The Royal Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet, New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre (including earlier versions than this), the Mariinsky Ballet (new and old versions), National Ballet of Canada, Pennsylvania Ballet and others I can't remember offhand in two decades.

You have every right to disagree with those who disliked the production and think we're wrong. But please don't say that our dislike comes from lack of knowledge. As far as I'm concerned, it is in fact my knowledge of other, far better versions that makes me dislike this one so much.

Best regards -

Well, my respects to you, Mr Witchel. You certainly have an impressive resume and I did not intend to single you out personally as a critic. I would love to meet you some day. I do think the level of writing about classical ballet today is not high. I do know this particular ballet very well - I won't bore you with my resume - and I disagree with most of what's been written about the new ABT version and I do think much of it is people waiting breathlessly for Miss Kirkland and her husband to fall on their faces. I have watched the fairy variations being coached so many times and love what Miss Kirkland did with them. Perhaps we must agree to respectfully disagree. And perhaps I am not used to the vehemence of the users of this forum. I don't think labeling the King as "Burger King" and laughing at the performance is helpful. Rather a cheap joke. I've seen much worse. But that is only my opinion.

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I disagree with most of what's been written about the new ABT version and I do think much of it is people waiting breathlessly for Miss Kirkland and her husband to fall on their faces.

I don't think anyone, at least not on this forum, wanted to see Kirkland fail. If anything we were excessively optimistic about this production because of her involvement. The standards were set so high that the finishing product didn't come anywhere near meeting expectations, which would explain the negativity.

I have watched the fairy variations being coached so many times and love what Miss Kirkland did with them. Perhaps we must agree to respectfully disagree. And perhaps I am not used to the vehemence of the users of this forum. I don't think labeling the King as "Burger King" and laughing at the performance is helpful. Rather a cheap joke. I've seen much worse. But that is only my opinion.

Many of us, including myself, thought the fairy variations were well coached and give Kirkland the credit, but the choreography is questionable. I agree with Cargill about the geometry being very strange.

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The problem with this production seems to be that they fixed things that didn't need fixing, like the libretto and bits of the most important choreography, particularly in the variations. The Sleeping Beauty is not a polemic on narrative sources or connective steps. This production applies first principles to trifles.

I'm rather reminded of the fellow who went before a judge in order to change his name:

PETITIONER: Your Honor, I wanna change my name.

JUDGE: Well, what's your name, son?

PETITIONER: Simon Suckegg.

JUDGE: Yes, I can see why you'd want to change that! What do you want to change it to?

PETITIONER: GEORGE Suckegg.

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I did not see the performance but I agree that there is not one person here that went that did not want very much for it to be good and for Gelsey to succeed.

I saw her give an absolutely awful performance of Giselle for ABT at the Met just before she left the company and it was quite depressing; later, in 1986, I was absolutely thrilled to see how lovely her performance with the Royal Ballet was, in Sleeping Beauty.

I won't bore anyone with my background either. :FIREdevil:

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