GO: American Ballet Theatre’s “The Sleeping Beauty”

So remember when I was complaining about New York City Ballet artistic director Peter Martins’ “The Sleeping Beauty”–how he didn’t make an adequate distinction between the eternal world of the fairies and the temporal world of the court? And how the prince could use some emotional beefing up, and the summarily deleted violin solo could do the job? (“Incredible music!” Balanchine called it, and borrowed it for his rising Christmas tree in “The Nutcracker.”) And how story-ballet productions would really benefit from a theater director’s expertise in advancing the story? Well, GUESS WHAT?
American Ballet Theatre’s new production is doing ALL of those things. The violin solo is back in, to get the prince primed for a princess graced with valor, joy, sincerity, fervor and other fairy gifts; the distinction between the fairy world and the world of the court is a big priority, ABT director and choreographer Kevin McKenzie promises me; and they hired a theater guy to help out (Gelsey Kirkland’s husband; she’s credited with staging, too).
My guess is that this humongous ballet won’t be entirely together until next year, but together enough to be worth watching. Besides, with Gillian Murphy as the good Lilac Fairy, Diana Vishneva as Princess Aurora, Marcelo Gomes or Angel Corella as Prince Florimund, Herman Cornejo as the bluebird, and Kirkland herself as the evil fairy, Carabosse, how could you lose? (They’re not all in the same cast, unfortunately. Now, that would be a dream …)
Though I don’t discuss the violin solo or too many of the specifics of the production, here’s a feature I did for Newsday on the ballet and how the astounding Kirov ballerina Diana Vishneva thinks of Aurora. Vishneva guests with ABT in the classics each spring.
[Two months later…. a more sober reflection on the ABT “Sleeping Beauty”]

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