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Royal Ballet Sleeping Beauty: Durante/Solymosi

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I currently own three SB's: Sizova's, Kolpakova's and now my latest purchase...Durante's.

I must say I'm fascinated with this production. I know about the general consensus on the disliking of the costume/sets design, but I confess I found them fabulous. Never have I experienced a true sense of "fairy tale" as much as here. The opulence of the whole thing could be a bit overwhelming, true , but it is done tastefully. I watched the DVD with my friend, the one I've been introducing to ballet, and at some point he told me how well explained he felt the story in terms of mime. This is true. The mime sequences were beautiful and more extended than many other stagings, included the Russians. One of the best ones was right after the Panorama, when Lilac and Desiree-(Florimund)-get to Aurora's chamber. It was funny, because Desire looks a little confused, and he mimes that "I know I should do something, but I can't remember..." to Lilac, to which she smiles and mimes back something like..."Ah, silly boy...you've got to KISS HER!", to which Desiree them mimes "Oh, God...yes, that's true...the kiss!"...very cute.

Lilac's role is also spiced up a bit. One of my favorite passages is right when Desiree gets to Aurora's dormant palace, gets grabbed by Carabosse's minions and then collapses on the floor. Lilac then gets there and saves the day, sweeping away the evil forces. When Desiree wakes up, all he has to do is the kissing, for which brave Lilac has taken care of the dirty work. I liked that, the sense of ownership of Lilac during the entire course of the ballet. Desiree doesn't look here as the super-hero of the Soviet productions, a la Soloviev.

The Queen. Oh my...(and I know Patrick will agree with me if he reads this). Elizabeth McGorian is absolutely MARVELOUS! She takes the character to a whole different level, with such intensity that at times she really threatens to take the spotlight out of Durante-(a tough cookie herself). I mean...what a beautiful woman, and what a superb, smart design of the role. She's all about the real suffering of a mother when seeing her child in danger. When Aurora collapses unconscious after hurting herself with the spindle, McGorian gets into a painful, desperate dance, which she does with so much anguish and suffering that I really got goosebumps while watching. I kept thinking..."OMG...poor woman...!" After watching so many cartoonish, unconvincing, manequin-look-like Mom-Queens, McGorian was THE REAL DEAL. Also, she truly acted as if she could be part of a real Royal Family, looking very comfortable in her baroque dress, capes and wigs. Another sequence where McGorian shines is at the beginning of the Spell part, when she steps forward to plead to the King, asking him to have mercy on the lives of the old women who just got caught with spindles, or in the other part when she make desperate efforts to convince Carabosse not to cast her horrible spell over her daughter. Watching her kneeling and begging, leaving all her regal pride behind gave her character some human accents I hadn't seen in other productions.

And then, there is Viviana Durante. Youthful and grand, shy and flirtatious, confident and vulnerable...all at once. Durante is the perfect example of a ballerina who even lacking perfect lines still manages to take your eyes off the absences to focus on the good stuff. Having less than perfect physique-(long face/head, longer torso than lower limbs, short segment from her knees down)-she delivers a powerful performance, with flawless technique and strong characterization. Her Rose Adagio was sublime. She knew when to glance at the audience, when to acknowledge her suitors and when to just indulge in her own self. When she danced her wedding PDD solo, it was one of the most sensual dances I've ever seen. Brava Durante!

Anthony Dowell's Carabosse was also a master class in mime and acting skills and the wedding act divertissements were delightful-(loved particularly the usually diminished Red Riding Hood/Wolf, as well as the playful cats).

I didn't quite get Zoltan Solymosi's Desiree-(at times too much infatuated with himself)-but he was great while partnering Durante. Benazyr Hussein's Lilac was very elegant. Loved her mime scenes, but not as much her dancing.

The Precious Stones Pas was a little confusing...who was that male character...?

For me, even loving Sizova's version, this is THE Sleeping Beauty . :clapping:

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I agree that this is overall a great video of Sleeping Beauty. I love the "no fuss" way Durante does her Rose Adagio. Like it doesn't scare her at all, and I love seeing that confidence. The only other Aurora I've seen who radiated such confidence with the balances was Margot Fonteyn, who from beginning to start seemed to know she would rock the balances. Durante and Fonteyn both even end the Rose Adagio with a final firm staccato snap of the arms, like "ok you may applaud now."

christian if you enjoyed Durante in this you might get the video of Mayerling with Mukhamedov and her. Very different role but she's definitely a dancer whose career was shorter than I expected.

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christian if you enjoyed Durante in this you might get the video of Mayerling with Mukhamedov and her. Very different role but she's definitely a dancer whose career was shorter than I expected.

Thanks canbelto for the tip. I will get to it, when I'm done with my very latest purchases...the Soviet Cinderellas. I just searched a bit online about Durante, and was surprised to learn about her whole drama with the RB, and also to learn that she had guested with ABT right after her departure...

Any memories from Miss Durante during that time...?

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I've been getting every S.B. on Netflix for a few months now, and this week I saw that fabulous Durante/Solymosi/Dowell version. I loved all three of them, and yes, the mother as well. The sets were fascinating. I had seen photos of it when the production was done originally, and didn't understand them... now I do. I've also seen the more recent Royal production with Cojucaro (help if I've misspelled her name1), who I thought was divine as well. I really liked that Carabosse as well.

Tonight I watched the S.B. with Bujones (beautiful) and the ballet co. of Santiago, Chile. It was a shame. Slow tempi, abbreviated choreography, slow, unfinished footwork, even some cutting of music (and the addition of a section of "Nuts"). Bujones, rest his soul, was the only good thing in the production.

I'm eventually going to make a little chart for myself of all the S.B.'s I'm seeing. I'm trying to make up for lost time... Martins' S.B. at NYCB was my first, and I realized what I'd been missing.

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