Friday, 3 March 2017

The Sleeping Beauty in Huddersfield

Standard YouTube Licence

The Royal Ballet, The Sleeping Beauty, The Royal Opera House, screened to cinemas, 28 Feb 2017 ay 19:30

It was great to see Dame Monica Mason and Dame Beryl Grey on the big screen last Tuesday. I saw Dame Monica on stage often when she was a principal of the Royal Ballet.  She is one of my favourite ballerinas. Nowadays I see her often at meetings of the London Ballet Circle. I have also met Dame Beryl but I have only seen films of her dancing.

Dame Beryl was in the Sadler's Wells Ballet's first performance at Covent Garden on 20 Feb 1946 which I referred to in The Sleeping Beauty - a Review and why the Ballet is important on 20 Sept 2013. Aurora's awakening has been likened to the country's recovery from war and also to the reopening of the Royal Opera House as a theatre. The restaging if The Sleeping Beauty this season commemorates that reopening.

There have been a few changes to the ballet since 1946. Additional choreography has been contributed by Sir Frederick Ashton. Sir Anthony Dowell and Christopher Wheeldon.  Dame Monica had produced the show with Christopher Newton. Oliver Messel's designs were supplemented by Peter Farmer's. The biggest change of all is that the Royal Ballet has grown considerably in size and international reputation.

The title role was danced by Marianela Nuñez. Her suitors in the rose adage included two of my favourites, Gary Avis and Thomas Whitehead. The other two, whom I also enjoyed. were Valeri Hristov and Johannes Stepanek. One of the advantages of watching the ballet on the big screen is that it is easier to appreciate the difficulties of this scene. Aurora's prince was Vadim Muntagirov, also greatly admired for his virtuosity.  Claire Calbert was a delightful lilac fairy. Alexander Campbell was a fine bluebird. Kristen McNally was a splendid Carabosse and richly deserved her flowers at the curtain call.

The HDTV transmissions from the Royal Opera House have improved though they are still mot perfect. It was a right to partner Darcy Bussell with an experienced presenter but I bristled when he called Dame Beryl by her first name and teased Darcy Bussell over her tracing the dancers' steps. The Royal Opera House's productions really need a presenter like the Bolshoi's Katerina Novikova.

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