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FPF

Staastsballet Berlin Sleeping Beauty Oct. 3

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I can hardly believe it, but my local theater in a small town (Anacortes with 17,000 people) in the very NW corner of the USA is showing it, but not until November 24th.

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I will look out for your thoughts about the production. Duato redoes a lot of the choreography, but in the short video excerpts I have seen keeps the ballet just within throwing distance of the Petipa he revises. I found it a little disorienting (neither fish not fowl as far as tradition goes)  but seeing the entire production might make a big difference.

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I'm just back now from seeing this production--it's traditional in that the story is more or less as expected and in the costumes and sets, but things don't necessarily happen as you'd expect if you're used to a more Petipa-based production. And the choices Duato makes  are somewhat strange to me. The choreography retains the occasional motif from the more conventional versions, but is generally altered. Lots of arms and forward bending, swoopy lifts, etc. Also a lot of stage business. It was a fairly busy production. Overall, I felt that most of the changes were for the sake of change, rather than being improvements or particularly interesting. This showing is fairly streamlined, at just under 2 h and with no intermissions.

Prologue:  Catalabutte and even the King and Queen do some dancing.  The fairies variations contain some of their signature gestures, but the choreography is altered. For example, the finger variation includes some finger pointing but other aspects of the choreography were different. The canary didn't do the singing or fluttering gestures. In at least one normally solo variation, there was partnering by cavaliers. The dance for all of the fairies after their variations was cut. Carabosse is a drag queen and is so bad that she even attempts to kick the queen. The mime was cut/altered.  Initially, there is no confrontation between Carabosse and the Lilac Fairy. Carabosse curses, then runs off, then the Lilac Fairy comes on, Carabosse comes back and the Lilac Fairy seems to cower, and then Carabosse runs off again. Not sure what her creatures are supposed to be (bugs?). The lighting whenever she was on was very dark. 

Act 1: The garland dance and another corps dance started this off. For an example of what I meant by busy, one of the courtier couples briefly chase one another in the middle of the garland dance, which is performed by a different set of dancers. Then, we get Aurora's entrance and the Rose Adagio (no roses, choreography somewhat altered, but with the last sequence of balances retained). Then Carabosse in disguise with her giant needle, etc. All of the fairies come back and the briars grow over, etc.

Act 2:  Several of the dances for the hunt scene that are often cut are included before moving on to the vision scene/boat ride. The curse lifting includes Carabosse and minions asleep outside in thorns, the prince fighting the minions and Carabosse before Lilac gets rid of them. When the prince kisses and awakens Aurora, she is initially shocked/scared and shies away, but then seems to be OK with everything. 

Act 3: The variations for the fairy tale characters and for Aurora and Desiree are altered, although retaining some motifs. Puss in Boots wore what looked like a white bondage vest. Bluebird/Florine was missing the gestures where she seems to be listening/learning. Their individual variations were also cut. The Apotheosis has an enormous wedding veil brought out and attached to Aurora's tiara, and then presumably the wedding.

Final verdict: my least favorite production of Sleeping Beauty (I've seen the MacMillan, Martins, and Vinogradov, and the Vikharev reconstruction in person, plus a few others in cinema or recorded). It's not boring or ugly, and I don't regret seeing it (although I might if I had paid for an expensive in-person ticket), but it doesn't improve on the classic. The dancers are fine, but think I'd rather see them in something else. 

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Thanks for the detailed description @FPF -- this account coheres with my more superficial impressions based on video. (Still kind of great that you got to see the broadcast.)

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Yes, I am glad that I saw it--I like to see different productions and compare/contrast what they do. I'm still surprised  that my local artsy movie theater (Landmark Spectrum in Albany) was the only one in NYS showing it. I think I might have actually liked it more if it had deviated more from Petipa. For example, the parts of the NYCB Sleeping Beauty that are Balanchine (Garland Dance) or Martins (e.g., Jewels vs. Precious Stones, Little Red Riding Hood) have completely different choreography using the same music and scenario, but because they are so different, I find that I think more about the choreography/performance than about why it isn't what might be expected.

 

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