I finally found some time to post my thoughts on the National’s ‘refurbished’ Sleeping Beauty. I attended Opening Night and missed a Sunday performance which I had purchased a ticket for. I was pleased with the performance. The costumes looked as Andre Rieu would say:
The acoustics of the Four Seasons were also
I truly felt like I had heard the glorious Tchaikovsky score for the very first time. As far as I’m concerned Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky is the true star of Sleeping Beauty.
As for my impression of the physical beauty of the 4 Seasons, the structure is very bland from the outside and could use a little sprucing up from the inside. The ceiling is screaming for a fresco of some sort.
Nureyev’s version overflows with far too many exclamation marks and look at me variations!!! There is no flow to the ballet. All the posing and pauses for applause, reduces the ballet to an athletic event like gymnastics. Also, there is far too much mime. I much prefer the Royal Ballet’s staging produced by Anthony Dowell. I made the mistake of viewing my DVD of this version staring Viviana Durante before seeing the National’s Sleeping Beauty and it really exposes the flaws with Nureyev’s version. It’s a little tighter and provides more dancing for the Lilac Fairy.
Linda Maybarduk was terrific in her return to the National as the Queen. There’s a delightful bit of theatrical magic as she appears to zoom around the stage without actually moving. Despite the wonderful performances by all the older character artists, I would prefer to see Sleeping Beauty redone to showcase dancing rather than mime.
Greta Hodgkinson was a technical monster but too often her performance came off like perfect execution of steps with little silent acting. The same could be said of Guillaume Côté. I enjoyed the show but for someone who has seen this version many, many times it doesn’t hold the same magical power it did for me when I saw it for the very first time. At least, I finally heard the music the way it should be heard for the very first time. Kudos to the NBoC orchestra and most of all, a big Bravo to Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky!
Sadly my Muse could not inspire me to post my usual thousand plus word review.