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ABT Sleeping Beauty


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Overall I liked the production and the choreography very much —I was mighty pleased that the design team kept the sequins and spangles to a minimum — but I loathed loathed loathed the puppet heads and animal masks — so you're not alone on that score. I was glad that Cinderella and Prince Fortune got to dance, but if it had been my show, I would have cut the walk-on fairy tale cameos. (For the record: Ogre and Ogress, Bluebeard and Ariana, Porcelain Princesses, Mandarin, Scheherezade, Shah and his Brother.) I might have kept Hop-o'-my-Thumb sans the puppet head to give the kids at the JKO school some more performing opportunities, but as it stands it's relatively charmless. Frankly, I prefer the Puss-in-Boots and Red Riding Hood material that Martins crafted for his version of SB. But I'll keep Ratmansky's Precious Stones, thank you very much.

I prefer a glamorous Carabosse myself, but a more obviously and conventionally scary one may be preferable for the kids in the audience.

And here is a fascinating aspect of this production. We're all talking about Martins' Puss-in-Boots, Ratmansky's Precious Stones, deValois's this and Ashton's that -- in the end, isn't this supposed to be Petipa's ballet? So what does it mean when we're frustrated with the source material?

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Yet another spectacular evening at the ballet tonight, as Sarah Lane hit a grand slam home run with an amazing performance as Aurora. I didn’t think she could ever top her performance three years ago in the old Sleeping Beauty, but she has, and in spectacular fashion. She gave what appears to have been a flawless performance, with perfect balances everywhere, vastly improved acting, and a complete assurance and control which have not always been present in her dancing over the past couple of seasons. Every movement was clearly articulated, her port de bras finished with lovely little flourishes, her footwork precise and scintillating. Her Rose Adagio was great. I’ve seen her hold her balances longer in the past, but tonight, though briefer, she held them solidly, with no wobbling, no falling off point. And this time, finally, Aurora had four great big strong suitors to lend her support (Hammoudi, Forster, Zhurbin and Hoven – yay Blaine Hoven!) What a difference! I saw Stella Abrera’s wonderful performance Thursday night, but her Rose Adagio was not as secure as Lane’s. In the Act II vision scene, Abrera was much more assured than she had been in Act I, but I found her performance rather too circumspect. Lane’s vision scene was filled with longing; you could almost hear Aurora calling out to the Prince to come and find her. Lane also handled her descent from the seashell perfectly. In the Act III grand pas, Lane and Cornejo were wonderful. No, once again they did not do the fish dives, but the grand pas was executed perfectly, so if they felt it was better to perform the original arabesques and get it right, why not?

As we left the theater, I heard many people commenting on Lane’s performance (“incredible,” “awesome”). If this one doesn’t do it for Lane, then I don’t know what will. If she is not given an R&J next season, then the AD has a heart made of cold, hard ice. She may be small, but she is a formidable talent. The audience deserves to see her in leading roles, and she deserves a promotion.

I was surprised to hear from several people at the Met that the show was sold out, but then I remembered that Misty Copeland was dancing Princess Florine, so it made sense. Both Copeland and Jeffrey Cirio as the Bluebird were very good together, but unfortunately I’d seen Skyler Brandt and Gabe Stone Shayer on Thursday, and I thought were better in the roles. Shayer in particular has more experience as the Bluebird, and he really has the character nailed. I was also very pleased to see Cassandra Trenary tonight as the Fairy of Song/Canary, giving the best performance of that role that I’ve seen.

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Obviously since I'm nowhere near NY (for yet another year, hopefully the last) I wasn't there tonight. But, I was chatting with my aunt who did attend and has been a major ABT supporter for decades. She commented pretty much what was already stated, that this was one of Lane's best performances in a long time. And that led us to talk about something I found interesting.

As we all know, promotions were announced today, and judging by Sarah's instagram I can tell she is sad/disappointed. Anyway, my aunt told me all about how she felt Sarah's nervous energy last year during SB, about how it seemed like she was trying a little too hard to be technically on point (no pun intended), which ultimately ended up in not her greatest performances. Well, perhaps knowing that tonight's performance would have no effect on next season's contract, could it be that she was able to relax and let go and just dance for the love of it? I'm not saying she only tries hard just to get promoted, but perhaps all the anxiety she felt last year was too much (remember that 3 ladies retired last year, including Xiomara, so there was a legit possibility that Lane could be promoted). Perhaps having found out before tonight's performance allowed her to just let it go and dance with her soul rather than her brain?

I definitely understand her anxiety. She's in her 30's, she's clearly NOT the AD's favorite, and there are those up and coming youngsters, some of whom are prominently featured on ABT's social media sites, who are willing to take her spot any day. I selfishly hope she'll stick around, because if she's ever cast as Juliet in MacMillan's version, I don't care WHERE in the world I am at that moment. You bet I'll be at the MET with my binoculars and lots of Kleenex tissues.

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As for those little fiddlers in the Rose Adagio.....geez! Also costumes that totally clash with everything else on stage and all that busy, busy stuff they do is just a mess. The four Princes have sleeves, hats, wigs that detract from the beauty of "Beauty". It's just all too much. There is much to like in this "Beauty", but one has to wade through a lot of dross to get to the wonderful parts.

The fiddlers are there in the original notation, and actually, Aurora leaning on them makes sense if you look at her arabesque penchee position. It would make sense she's actually greeting people at her party. Don't know why you object to them.

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The fiddlers are there in the original notation, and actually, Aurora leaning on them makes sense if you look at her arabesque penchee position. It would make sense she's actually greeting people at her party. Don't know why you object to them.

Yes, yes. I know they are there in the original notation, but I've seen other productions where the same penchee position is taken down the line, but at times it's been on the shoulders of her "girl" friends, who are playing mandolins. At other times, I've even seen the four male suitors do the kneeling bit. I think what I'm objecting to is the ugliness and out of color scheme of their costumes and that they just add so many more people to that stage. Their costumes plus the really trashy costumes of the Garland Waltz folks just makes the entire stage look out of sorts. And there are 16! (yes) adult supers who are all dolled up in those period long dresses and wigs and hats also on stage. (BTW. Can't anyone teach those supers how to walk like Dukes and Duchesses? Some look like they just came up out of the subway on a hot day). So, in the end, I'm not objecting to Aurora "greeting people" at her party. I just wish that perhaps a few less people had been on the invite list. There's so much going on here; I merely wanted a bit more clarity and focus. It's why, for me, the Vision scene is such a stand out. One can actually see what's going on. As someone commented to me recently, that after all the frills and ruffles of this season, they were looking forward to a "black and white" of Balanchine. Amen!

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And here is a fascinating aspect of this production. We're all talking about Martins' Puss-in-Boots, Ratmansky's Precious Stones, deValois's this and Ashton's that -- in the end, isn't this supposed to be Petipa's ballet? So what does it mean when we're frustrated with the source material?

All source material is equal, but some source material is more equal than others. :wink:

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Personally I think it might be part of the point of this Sleeping Beauty to fill the stage because photographs of 19th century performances do look really crowded. Of course, those are still photographs so maybe they just wanted the whole cast on stage for photos.

Also, my experience with Ratmansky is that he does like to keep things on the busy side. In his "new" ballets there are moments when the corps is doing two different things and soloists are also on stage doing different things than the corps...so very busy stage.

So my interpretation is that the original is already busy and Ratmansky tends toward busy, so......

I have to say I was won over. Loved seeing 4 performances in a row because I kept seeing things I missed. I think Sleeping Beauty is about complexity (forgiving people even evil people), and it is the opposite of black and white (evil needs punishing/people pay consequences). It is a multi-layered work and even the multiple layers of taffeta and masks put physical layers as sort of a metaphor.

To each his own....

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For me, the Ratmansky SB is the type of large scale spectacle that is perfect for the gigantic Met Opera stage. I hope they keep this production for a long, long time.

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Personally I think it might be part of the point of this Sleeping Beauty to fill the stage because photographs of 19th century performances do look really crowded. Of course, those are still photographs so maybe they just wanted the whole cast on stage for photos.

Also, my experience with Ratmansky is that he does like to keep things on the busy side. In his "new" ballets there are moments when the corps is doing two different things and soloists are also on stage doing different things than the corps...so very busy stage.

So my interpretation is that the original is already busy and Ratmansky tends toward busy, so......

I have to say I was won over. Loved seeing 4 performances in a row because I kept seeing things I missed. I think Sleeping Beauty is about complexity (forgiving people even evil people), and it is the opposite of black and white (evil needs punishing/people pay consequences). It is a multi-layered work and even the multiple layers of taffeta and masks put physical layers as sort of a metaphor.

To each his own....

For me, the Ratmansky SB is the type of large scale spectacle that is perfect for the gigantic Met Opera stage. I hope they keep this production for a long, long time.

Agree and agree!

Sad I missed this week of SB, but I'm happy to have seen 3 performances in DC. If it's back next year, I hope to see Trenary and Abrera. I'm sad I missed them.

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One of the MOST GLAMOROUS to dance Carabosse was Merrill Ashley at City Ballet. Oh my! She was enough to want to go over to the "dark side".

I was there for her debut in the role, and the whole audience was like OMG!!!!! because we'd never see her like that before. She was so deliciously wicked and looked to be having the time of her life.

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Also, my experience with Ratmansky is that he does like to keep things on the busy side. In his "new" ballets there are moments when the corps is doing two different things and soloists are also on stage doing different things than the corps...so very busy stage.

So my interpretation is that the original is already busy and Ratmansky tends toward busy, so......

I think this may be, in part, related to his time in Denmark, working with the Bournonville repertory -- that's a world that packed full of detail.

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For me, the Ratmansky SB is the type of large scale spectacle that is perfect for the gigantic Met Opera stage. I hope they keep this production for a long, long time.

Well, they kind of have to do it almost every year just to amortize it's huge cost, etc. It must really cost a lot of money just to maintain the costumes. It would be the third year in a row if it's brought back again next year. Same with "R&J". However, in "Beauty's" case, it does offer quite a few slots in which to see many dancers. And that's all to the good. And besides, they do "Swan Lake" every year. It's all good. It's just not my favorite of favorite ballets to see repeatedly.

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So, in the end, I'm not objecting to Aurora "greeting people" at her party. I just wish that perhaps a few less people had been on the invite list.

But wasn't that the original problem -- Carabosse didn't get invited to the party, and so all kinds of hullabaloo ensues? The gods only know what might have happened if they'd kept shrinking the guest list!

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But wasn't that the original problem -- Carabosse didn't get invited to the party, and so all kinds of hullabaloo ensues? The gods only know what might have happened if they'd kept shrinking the guest list!

More room on the stage to dance???

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I think the fact that NYCB is doing SB for two weeks in February might cut into the ABT box office take if it revives SB again next spring. Although they are completely different in every way, to the general non-balletomane public, it's basically the same ballet no matter what company or production it is.

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My impression of Sleeping Beauty with Boylston/Gorak - Saturday matinee

Boylston - Oh so stunning with those gorgeous feet and her rock solid balances! She was exquisite. As always, Gorak was a lovely partner. I have loved watching his rise and hope he makes principal before long. However he really needs to work on his solos as his jumps were barely off the ground. Barbee was the King. Boylston presented him with a flower at the end of the performance which was a lovely gesture. I went crazy screaming Bravo and the lady in front of me turned around, and nodded in agreement that Victor will be missed. We had a feast of marvelous corps and soloists which included the exquisite Courtney Lavine as one of the fairies. Kevin needs to start using her more often. She has such beautiful limbs and musicality. It was a joy to watch her.

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