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ABT To Unveil New Sleeping Beauty For 75th Anniversary


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Thanks ksk, Josette and Andre for your wonderful reports. I felt joy just reading them. ABT finally has a production it can be proud of. May is such a distant future, I am not sure how I'll survive the wait.

So Cabinet des fées characters that actually dance the variations are Cat & Puss, Florine & Blue Bird, Red Hood & Wolf, Cinderella & Prince Fortune, Ogre/Ogress and Hop-O-My-Thumb in addition to the Precious Stones. While Bluebeard & Ariana, Porcelain Princesses, Mandarin, Scheherazade, Shah & bros. are walk-through characters. Correct? This production has more act 3 variations and walk-thru characters than RB's, which many considered as the Western production the closest to the original one.

You're welcome! Cinderella and her prince also get their own dance, though they're dancing character steps (ie. not ballet steps). Bluebeard, 18th century Chinese stereotypes, and Persian stereotypes are just in the ensemble.

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Since Sleeping Beauty is for their 75th anniversary I'm really hoping they put this on DVD/ Bluray.

Let's hope PBS doesn't decide that Ric Burns' documentary is sufficient to mark the occasion. Remembering past accomplishments is important, but if ABT has finally started to snap out of its artistic torpor with this production, that's something worth celebrating.

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Just a note that the Sergeyev notation does specifically note that Aurora flirts with each of the suitors during the Rose Adagio - so it really is a dramatic scene and not just a technical feat. So Vishneva's kittenish winks and girlish exuberance while she acted up a storm are probably how she was coached. How that manner may look on a dancer who is approaching 40 is a matter of conjecture - I wasn't there. Vishneva now has a certain sophistication that doesn't lend itself to ingenue roles. I agree that most Auroras have that deer in the headlights "please don't let me fall off pointe...or on my butt" look of anxiety and/or terror during that scene. Also, re: La Scala and Zakharova in "Sleeping Beauty" - Zakharova already filmed "Beauty" in 2011 with David Hallberg at the Bolshoi - it is readily available on blu-ray and dvd. Would La Scala want to replicate the Bolshoi's casting and have two commercial documentations of Hallberg and Zakharova in the same ballet?

BTW: I saw both Zakharova and Vishneva dance Aurora with the Mariinsky in the 1890 reconstruction. Certainly Zakharova was doing 6 o'clock penchées and developpees back then...

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I have a distinct memory of reading an article, likely in Dance Magazine several decades ago when the magazine spotlighted The Sleeping Beauty (a Fonteyn headshot in profile was on the cover), and it stated that Tchaikovsky had Natalya Rostova from War in Peace in mind when writing the music for Aurora. Natalya Rostova was an impulsive, romantic, high-strung young girl at the outset of the novel and arguably could be called "giddy" if a pejorative term were substituted for "impulsive."

I saw Vishneva dance the role twice in the early 2000's with the Mariinski, and she was, memorably, the epitome of joy in the first act. I respect Vishneva's re-thinking her characterization and not presenting a well-behaved, docile, shy princess with lowered eyelids. Aurora could conceivably be excited and, yes, even giddy to be the center of attention of four handsome princes who are vying for her hand, and, at age 16, she could well be a bit of a coquette - like her charming mother is in this production. It is always a relief to see a characterization and not a dancing doll. I do hope that each of the other four Auroras this week will be uniquely true and alive in characterization. I regret that Sarah Lane is not dancing it here.

It's so interesting reading all the comments posted here and I'm looking forward to the reports from all of you when the production is in New York.

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The Sergeyev [stepanov] notation doesn't mention flirting, etc. There is a note to the effect that the "4th suitor is the best," referring, presumably, to the fact that Aurora does most of her partnered dancing with him. That said, the dance is indeed a pas d'action in which the 4 four suitors court Aurora, and in Ratmansky's staging, the suitors and Aurora interact to this end.

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I have a distinct memory of reading an article, likely in Dance Magazine several decades ago when the magazine spotlighted The Sleeping Beauty (a Fonteyn headshot in profile was on the cover), and it stated that Tchaikovsky had Natalya Rostova from War in Peace in mind when writing the music for Aurora. Natalya Rostova was an impulsive, romantic, high-strung young girl at the outset of the novel and arguably could be called "giddy" if a pejorative term were substituted for "impulsive."

That's interesting, because I have to admit that I've always been a little put off by "giddy" Auroras. I was strongly persuaded by Élisabeth Platel's argument that the Rose Adagio, like the variation that follows, is a reflection of her self-possession and poise. But I will try to be more open-minded about more exuberant interpretations in the future!

I've always been disappointed that Gary Avis doesn't have a chance to get chosen in the Royal Ballet DVD...

Presumably all of those suitors went off and found different princesses for themselves. Perhaps you can think of Federico Bonelli as Avis' great-grandson, so in a way, his line gets the prize in the end.

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Presumably all of those suitors went off and found different princesses for themselves. Perhaps you can think of Federico Bonelli as Avis' great-grandson, so in a way, his line gets the prize in the end.

Well, they had to: after everyone woke up, Bonelli got the girl.

In the Hynd production that PNB uses, one of them gets stabbed to death. Batkhurel Bold made wonderful sense of the scene. He had no problem dispelling the snakes and Carabosse's minions, but when he looked upstage at the castle, he turned his head simply from side to side to drink in the enormity of what was in front of him: it was much more than an enemy to fight. IWhen he encountered the dead suitor and carefully picked up the fallen man's sword, you could imagine that it had blood and guts on it: he didn't just flick it on his jacket like it was simply dusty, and the dead body was no big deal. The "What do I do now?" had a hint of "That's too easy, there must be a catch."

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In Nureyev's version the suitors go chasing after Carabosse and draw their swords, but she confuses them and they inadvertently run each other through, after which they kindly fall into the wings, where their remains will presumably decay out of sight. I don't know what happens to them in the Royal Ballet's version after they carry Aurora up the staircase, but I'm pretty sure they're not around when she comes to. I'd sort of assumed that the Lilac Fairy sent them back home to get on with their lives. It would seem very unfair to keep them around to watch another prince get the princess.

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Just a note that the Sergeyev [stepanov] notation doesn't mention flirting, etc. There is a note to the effect that the "4th suitor is the best," referring, presumably, to the fact that Aurora does most of her partnered dancing with him. That said, the dance is indeed a pas d'action in which the 4 four suitors court Aurora, and in Ratmansky's staging, the suitors and Aurora interact to this end.

That's cool and explains a lot! I always wondered why the fourth guy gets the most attention in the Rose Adagio.

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Just a note that the Sergeyev [stepanov] notation doesn't mention flirting, etc. There is a note to the effect that the "4th suitor is the best," referring, presumably, to the fact that Aurora does most of her partnered dancing with him. That said, the dance is indeed a pas d'action in which the 4 four suitors court Aurora, and in Ratmansky's staging, the suitors and Aurora interact to this end.

I probably read this in Roland John Wiley's "Tchaikovsky's Ballets" where the direction that Aurora flirts with each suitor may come from the detailed libretto by Petipa and Vsevolozhsky.

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I like an Aurora that reflects her age and situation in the first act -- she's excited about the party when she enters, fillial with her parents, and increasingly confident and expressive as the Rose Adagio continues until the end where she's practically triumphant -- it's in the music, and I think in character as well.

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Just to be certain that I'm not misrepresenting her point, Platel made a similar observation. She basically stated that the Rose Adage, with its transition from unaccompanied harp to full orchestra playing at something like fff, is where Aurora's transition from adolescence to womanhood is accomplished.

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Just to be certain that I'm not misrepresenting her point, Platel made a similar observation. She basically stated that the Rose Adage, with its transition from unaccompanied harp to full orchestra playing at something like fff, is where Aurora's transition from adolescence to womanhood is accomplished.

That's a wonderful observation, volcanohunter. I can't wait to watch for it in the spring season. One reason I love this forum is that I learn things that deepen my understanding of ballets I've seen many times in the past but with less insight.

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I have to confess, I'm unimpressed with what I've seen of the costumes. I've seen what there is to see of the original designs, and they really couldn't have made them exactly like that, either in terms of the fabrics or the designs. But I don't think they are all intelligent adaptations of them either. Find a picture of the original design for the Act 1 costume for Aurora, for instance, then put it next to the photo I saw of Vishneva in her entrance. I don't like either one, and I don't think the new one does anyone any favors. That's just that one in particular. Strangely enough also, I think the men were better served; I liked Gomes' hunting jacket a great deal, for instance. Just my opinion of course.

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