Music: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Choreographer: Marius Petipa, Lev Ivanov, Peter Wright
Company: Birmingham Royal Ballet
Reviewer: Tate James
Opulence abounds in Birmingham Royal Ballet’s dreamy production of The Sleeping Beauty. This most classic fairytale is more beautiful than ever in Peter Wright’s iconic production, and seems to have lost none of its magic since its premiere in 1984.
There isn’t a child in the land who doesn’t know the story of the Princess, cursed at birth by a vengeful Fairy, doomed to death by spindle, only to be saved by the combined magic of a good Fairy and the kiss of a handsome Prince.
The collaboration of Tchaikovsky’s sublime score and groundbreaking choreography from Marius Petipa in the original 1890 mounting at the Mariinksy Theatre, St Petersburg, received mixed reviews with revolutionary movements opposing the pro-Royal themes of the story. However, there can be no aversion to the timeless elegance of this production; Tchaikovsky presents us with a remarkably Russian adaptation of the Perrault fairytale and in the hands of Peter Wright the magic of the art form is at full strength.
The leading characters of this story are shared throughout the tour by various company principals and soloists, and the opening night audience in Manchester were treated to the delicious technical abilities of principal Delia Mathews in the role of Aurora and the impressive agility of soloist Brandon Lawrence as the effortlessly attractive Prince Florimund. Aurora is arguably the most demanding of all of the traditional ballet roles, and Mathews is definitely up to the task at delivering a strong and lithe performance, albeit more mature and womanly than the girlish 18-year-old exuberance one would usually expect from the leading lady. Yet in the arms of Lawrence she is flawless, and indeed so is every poise, movement and step he takes.
The real beauty of this production is its grandeur. Lavish sets and luscious costumes with nods to Tchaikovsky-influenced Tsarist Russia and even the scent of Perrault’s tale lingers in the regalia of the suitors and Princes who wouldn’t be out of place at the Palace of Versailles.
This truly is the most beautiful of ballets, timeless as ever and well worth staying awake for!
Runs Until Saturday 3rd March 2018 | Image: Contributed