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 Post subject: The new RB Sleeping Beauty
PostPosted: Sun Mar 09, 2003 7:47 pm 
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Location: Staines UK
I enjoyed this new Beauty enormously, and most importantly I am sure it has staying power! The sets are very beautiful, and the tableaux magnificent. There were, I think, quite a lot of technical problems last night, especially in the Prologue, which for me is the least satisfactory setting

One might consider the production as Makarovas' revenge on the Kirovs replacement of their Sergeyev version, which she so loved. It is very much a Kirov Beauty, and I have a nagging feeling that we should really have an "English" Beauty. The Prologue in particular is a long way from the traditional RB version. Having said that I feel she has done a wonderful job, and it is so good to see things like the full dances in the hunting scene, and the enchanting Cinderella divertissement.

Makarova has abandoned all of the extra Ashton and Macmillan choreography, which is probably right for her concept. It would have been nice to have at least one concession that this is after all a Royal Ballet Beauty. I would propose the exquisite Ashton solo for Aurora in the Vision Scene. The version we now have (not sure whose it is)is not nearly as good.

The company was on splendid form. Bussell was radiant in Act I, and especially glorious in the solo and coda after the Rose Adagio. She looked rather tense in the other acts, and surprised us all by missing the last act coda, where she was replaced by Nunez. She did appear for the curtain calls, and I hope wasn't injured. Bolle was magnificent. Nunez was a charming and benevolent Lilac; her "surprise" coda in Act III was amazingly assured (Lauren Cuthbertson replaced her on the lift). Yanowsky was a deliciously wicked Carabosse. Kobborg and Cojocaru danced one of the best Bluebirds I have ever seen. Of the many soloists,Morera was outstanding in three roles - Temperament fairy, Act II farandole, and especially as Cinderella.

<small>[ 12 March 2003, 02:42 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: The new RB Sleeping Beauty
PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2003 3:33 am 
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Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
Article from The FT.

Quote:
The Royal Ballet has shown us four productions of The Sleeping Beauty since 1946. The first, with handsome Oliver Messel designs, re-opened Covent Garden after its war-time service as a dance-hall ("No jitterbugging" read the notice on the proscenium arch). The staging made it clear that the Sadler's Wells (now Royal) Ballet was a true national ensemble. In 1939 the company had mounted a first and rather optimistic presentation of this most demanding of the 19th-century "classics" which Ninette de Valois knew as essential foundations for her troupe. The merit of this early version resided in the honesty of its text, produced by Nikolay Sergueyev, a former réisseur to the Imperial Ballet in St Petersburg.


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and a review from The Telegraph.

Quote:
Huge hopes, therefore, were riding on Saturday's opening, which was dogged by the kind of ill-fortune that often attends such high-profile events. Elaborate gauzes failed to work from the opening moments - and the conclusion was marred when Darcey Bussell, dancing with a foot injury throughout, had to be replaced in the coda to the final pas de deux.

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And The Independent.

Quote:
Any new production of The Sleeping Beauty is an event of high drama – because of the scale, the cost (more than £500,000 this time) and the huge expectations. The work is not only the greatest of the Tchaikovsky ballets but arguably the greatest, most difficult ballet of all.

So for the opening of Natalia Makarova's Royal Ballet production Darcey Bussell was brave to go ahead as Aurora despite a troublesome foot. She then added an extra dose of high drama by asking for Marianela Nuñez to replace her in Aurora's closing coda.

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And the Guardian.

Quote:
But cash has bought a startlingly different looking Beauty from the 1994 version the company dumped last year. In place of the crowded, cerebral designs of Maria Bjornson, Luisa Spinatelli's gauzy light fills the sets, and delicately sumptuous costumes waft the ballet with exquisite sympathy. Aside from a couple of Disneyish lapses (such as the fire spewing dragon on Carabosse's chariot) these luminous designs take tasteful and pretty to a higher dimension. Even more importantly they provide a spacious showcase for the choreographic vision of producer Natalia Makarova.

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<small>[ 10 March 2003, 04:52 AM: Message edited by: Joanne ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: The new RB Sleeping Beauty
PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2003 7:09 am 
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I would just like to point out that Clement Crisp is in error when he writes "The Royal Ballet has shown us four productions of The Sleeping Beauty since 1946" There have in fact been five. Makarova's production will make it six.


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 Post subject: Re: The new RB Sleeping Beauty
PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2003 12:53 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Bussell seeks foot treatment
From the BBC website


Darcey Bussell has a muscular injury in her foot
Doctors are examining ballet star Darcey Bussell's foot after she injured it during the première of the Royal Ballet's The Sleeping Beauty.
The principal ballerina was replaced for the last two minutes of Saturday's performance.

The problem was "something muscular" in her foot, and that they were hopeful that she could return for her next performance on Saturday, a Royal Ballet spokesman told BBC News Online.

"She did take the curtain call, and we will find out as soon as we can exactly what is wrong," the spokesman added.

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 Post subject: Re: The new RB Sleeping Beauty
PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2003 1:12 pm 
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The following Associated Press item appeared in the Canadian Press on March 10, 2003:

http://www.canada.com/search/story.aspx?id=fef07ee2-a2e2-45f0-8fe9-1ed8392915a5


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 Post subject: Re: The new RB Sleeping Beauty
PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2003 1:43 am 
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Sleeping Beauty
By Judith Mackrell for The Guardian


Watching Alina Cojocaru's debut in Natalia Makarova's Sleeping Beauty on Monday, it felt as though the production had been crafted as her showcase. With her 5ft 2in frame and Russian schooling, Cojocaru is a 21st-century sister to the equally tiny ex-Kirov Makarova. Physically and spiritually she is this Beauty's prototype ballerina.

The catalogue of small perfections and large triumphs that make up Cojocaru's Aurora won't surprise those who have watched and wondered at her career. She both concentrates and reflects a brighter light than anyone else. It is partly the detail with which her extraordinarily mobile upper body articulates and decorates each move; it is partly her split-second responsiveness to the music, scintillating at speed, sustaining long, slow melodies.

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Sleeping Beauty
By Judith Mackrell for The Guardian


A lot of money has been lavished on this new production, but £700,000 is still no guarantee of a trouble-free premiere. On Saturday, noisy gremlins interfered with the stage machinery and Darcey Bussell, heroically fighting a foot injury, had to let her Lilac Fairy dance the last steps of the final pas de deux.

But cash has bought a startlingly different looking Beauty from the 1994 version the company dumped last year. In place of the crowded, cerebral designs of Maria Bjornson, Luisa Spinatelli's gauzy light fills the sets, and delicately sumptuous costumes waft the ballet with exquisite sympathy.

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An evening that is more beast than beauty
By Clement Crisp for The Financial Times


On Saturday night the Royal Ballet gave the first public performance of Natalya Makarova's new staging of The Sleeping Beauty. But, as we have come to recognise with an all-too-frequent sense of dismay, ballet first nights are often no more than final dress rehearsals. So it proved - again - with what is meant to be a splendid display-piece, endowed with magical, gauzy scenery and opulent costuming by Luisa Spinatelli. I find it hard to understand how an expensively refurbished opera house, blessed (we suppose) with the most modern stage technology, cannot cope with elaborate design and subtle lighting changes. I find it equally bizarre that the greatest of ballet-scores must be hustled along, trimmed of incident, played with its prologue and first act stuck crassly together, in order to avoid overtime. Were this to be done to operatic scores of comparable magnificence - Verdi or Wagner, perhaps - I can see administrative heads on spikes in Floral Street.

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Sleeping Beauty
By Debra Craine for The Times


NATALIA MAKAROVA’S new Sleeping Beauty may not be a dream of a production, but it does offer the Royal Ballet’s leading ladies one dream of a role. On Monday it was Alina Cojocaru’s turn as Aurora and she presented us with an evening of exquisite pleasures and melting beauty. We expect great things from this young Romanian, and she doesn’t disappoint.

The first thing you notice about Cojocaru is how at home she is with the production’s rococo aesthetic. A combination of her Russian-influenced training and Makarova’s strict coaching has produced stylistic bliss, eloquent head and arms flavouring the choreography with fragrant, delicate spice.

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<small>[ 12 March 2003, 03:18 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: The new RB Sleeping Beauty
PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2003 1:52 am 
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Sleeping Beauty
By Debra Craine for The Times


THIS was the big night. The unveiling of a new staging of the most important ballet — The Sleeping Beauty — in the Covent Garden repertoire, and a huge amount of time and money was at stake. Would Natalia Makarova’s production restore Beauty’s fortunes at the Royal Ballet

This being an opening night, however, things just had to go wrong. One of the hanging painted gauzes got stuck on Saturday night, another failed to materialise; the dry ice machine had a coughing fit and the leading ballerina limped off with a sore foot. But even without these mishaps, the production has its problems.

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 Post subject: Re: The new RB Sleeping Beauty
PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2003 2:36 am 
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Wow! Darcey Bussell's injury gets coverage in the Chinese press:

Hurt 'Sleeping Beauty' star gets physio treatment
From The New China Daily


Star ballerina Darcey Bussell underwent medical treatment Monday after a foot injury forced her to abandon her performance in the Royal Ballet's new production of "The Sleeping Beauty."

Bussell, who as Britain's best-known dancer enjoys near-celebrity status, had to withdraw in the last moments of Saturday's performance at London's Royal Opera House because she was in so much pain she could barely walk.

Marianela Nunez, who was appearing as the Lilac Fairy, had been waiting in the wings, and was drafted in to dance Bussell's part as Princess Aurora. Many members of the audience were unaware of the switch.

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 Post subject: Re: The new RB Sleeping Beauty
PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2003 1:56 am 
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The Sleeping Beauty
By Lucy Wallis for The Stage


The climax to this season's trilogy of Tchaikovsky ballets at the Royal Opera House is a new production by Natalia Makarova of The Sleeping Beauty.

Incorporating stunning designs by Luisa Spinatelli, the performance, based on Marius Petipa's original choreography of 1890, breathes new life into the fairytale.

Darcey Bussell dances the title role of Princess Aurora with grace, spirit and control. It is almost as if the legend of the sleepy princess was created specifically with her in mind.

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 Post subject: Re: The new RB Sleeping Beauty
PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2003 12:44 pm 
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More reviews of the new "Sleeping Beauty". Given that the performances will sell out automatically, one does wonder why the press night id the first night, especially as tradiitonally the Royal Ballet struggles to get as much stage time as the Royal Opera, as the latter book several years ahead.

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For all our sakes, cull the Cupids
Not even the dancers can redeem a new Sleeping Beauty. By Jann Parry for The Observer

As Aurora and her Prince paraded their wedding outfits in the Royal Ballet's new Sleeping Beauty (Darcey Bussell and Roberto Bolle disconcertingly like Barbie and Ken), I pondered the company's changes of fashion.

The Sleeping Beauty has been its signature ballet ever since the company first occupied the Royal Opera House in 1946. Ninette de Valois's production, based on an early Maryinsky account of the 1890 original, remained its Urtext over the years. Until, that is, Ross Stretton commissioned Natalia Makarova to remount it.

De Valois's last version was described by my predecessor, Alexander Bland, as being 'as English as a Savile Row dinner jacket - unostentatious, old-fashioned, but made to last'.

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A rude awakening
Technical glitches, a fussy staging: the Royal Ballet’s new Sleeping Beauty depended on fancy footwork to restore the magic, says David Dougill in The Sunday Times.


The Sleeping Beauty, as just premiered at Covent Garden, is the single big-scale, completely new and inevitably costly production for the Royal Ballet this season. It replaces the company’s previous staging of 1994, which was widely reckoned a disaster, and had, I’m glad to say, a much shorter life than intended. Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty is the grandest of all ballets, and historically a signature classic of this company, so many hopes were riding on this new production by the Russian dancer Natalia Makarova and the Italian designer Luisa Spinatelli. The question is: does it work?

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 Post subject: Re: The new RB Sleeping Beauty
PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2003 7:16 am 
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An intriguing concept from The Guardian, who have long done somethong similar for films:

Review of reviews - A dancing beauty in a sleepy production
By Matthew Bell for The Guardian

It wasn't the most auspicious opening week for Natalia Makarova's production of The Sleeping Beauty at the Royal Opera House. First, Darcey Bussell had to pull-out mid-performance with an injured foot, and then the reviews came in.

After enduring the production, said the London Evening Standard, "one knows how the survivors of the Titanic felt. Safe in their boats, they watched, despairing as their comrades went under." The Observer took issue with the Kirov-style choreography, the use of children in the cast - "irredeemably kitsch, they infantilise the ballet" - the insubstantial designs and the inept handling of the ballet's dramatic moments.

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The Sleeping Beauty
By Jenny Gilbert for The Independent on Sunday

Few ballet productions can have laboured under such a weight of negative expectation. At a cost of £700,000, the best part of the Royal Ballet's annual budget, its new Sleeping Beauty replaces a previous version that cost barely any less and was junked after only six years.

Long-in-the-tooth critics continue to insist no British production can ever match the first in 1946 (an unlikely feat of memory), and the Kirov Ballet has just sewn up the historical angle with a much-admired reconstruction of the 1890 original. Add to this the uncontested belief that Sleeping Beauty is the greatest of all 19th-century ballets, the pinnacle of a classical style largely lost to today's dancers, and you begin to see how a producer finds herself in no-win territory.

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 Post subject: Re: The new RB Sleeping Beauty
PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2003 6:48 pm 
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Ballet Boy Wakes Sleeping Beauty
by Paul Webb for Theatre Now

The Royal Opera House saw another triumph on Monday night when Ivan Putrov - consistently rated the rising young star of the British ballet scene - played the role of The Prince in Tchaikovsky's epic ballet The Sleeping Beauty.

The three-hour piece is a classic, which has been given a make-over by Natalia Makarova, the distinguished Russian ballerina.

The European nature of ballet (despite the very British twist given it by the Royal Ballet and other major companies like English National Ballet) was emphasised not just by the Russian composer and director, but the Ukranian male lead (Putrov) and by the setting of the action in a very French (Louis XIV) court. Sleeping Beauty herself - Jaimie Tapper - is Canadian!

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 Post subject: Re: The new RB Sleeping Beauty
PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2003 6:35 am 
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Who is the fairest of them all?
By John Percival for The Independent

There have been six casts so far in Natalia Makarova's new Sleeping Beauty at Covent Garden; how do they measure up? Quite a few people found Alina Cojocaru the best Aurora; I can't agree. Yes, the way she used her arms was ravishing, but her feet aren't so lovely, her leg extensions were exaggerated, and for me she concentrated more on display than on meaning. Perhaps she has been working too hard.

My chief admiration goes to Tamara Rojo; her Aurora has a wonderfully serene grace and also brings out all the nuances of style and feeling in the character's three contrasted scenes. She even gives the solos really musical smoothness in spite of the curlicues Makarova has added. This is the ballerina quality the ballet needs.

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 Post subject: Re: The new RB Sleeping Beauty
PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2003 8:13 pm 
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Rojo was also the best Aurora for me, a radiant and authoritative performance. Interestingly, none of the Auroras at my performances managed particularly good balances in the Rose Adagio.

There have been some very encouraging debuts, especially Lauren Cuthbertson as a most serene and technically confident Lilac Fairy.


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 Post subject: Re: The new RB Sleeping Beauty
PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2003 3:22 am 
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This article was buried deep within the DT site and was unearthed by Brendan McCarthy of ballet.co:

Sleeping Beauty
By Frank Johnson for The Daily Telegraph

The Royal Ballet has just mounted a new production of The Sleeping Beauty. The music is still what Tchaikovsky wrote. But a ballet like this had two creators. The other was the choreographer - the composer of the dances that go with the music. In this case, it was the great Marius Petipa.

For some 60 years, for various complicated reasons, the Royal Ballet's Sleeping Beauty choreography was closer to that of the 1890 St Petersburg original than the version that survived in Leningrad/St Petersburg. It was also much better.

Scroll down for the Sleeping Beauty section

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