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Peter Martins' The Sleeping Beauty 2007 Revisited at New York City Ballet
-Onstage with the Dancers

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New York City Ballet
The Sleeping Beauty 2007 Revisited
(NYC Ballet Website)

Founders, George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein
Ballet Master in Chief, Peter Martins
Ballet Mistress, Rosemary Dunleavy
Children's Ballet Mistress, Garielle Whittle
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New York State Theater, Lincoln Center
www.lincolncenter.org



Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
Originally Published on ExploreDance.com
January 13, 2007

Conductor, Maurice Kaplow

The Sleeping Beauty 2007 Revisited (1991): Music by Peter Ilyitch Tschaikovsky, Libretto by Marius Petipa and A. Vsevolozhsky, after stories by Charles Perrault and others, Choreography by Peter Martins (after Marius Petipa) (Garland Dance by George Balanchine), Scenery by David Mitchell, Costumes designed by Patricia Zipprodt, Costumes executed by Barbara Matera, Make-up, Hair, and Wigs designed by Michael Avedon, Lighting by Mark Stanley.

Performed by: Megan Fairchild as Princess Aurora; Joaquin De Luz as Prince Désiré; Henry Seth as King Florestan; Saskia Beskow as The Queen; Ellen Bar as The Lilac Fairy; Kyle Froman as Catalabutte; Maria Kowroski as The Fairy Carabosse; Ashley Laracey as The Fairy of Tenderness; Lauren King as the Fairy of Vivacity; Faye Arthurs as The Fairy of Generosity; Rachel Piskin as The Fairy of Eloquence; Gwyneth Muller as The Fairy of Courage; Andrew Veyette, Ask la Cour, William Yin-Lee, and Craig Hall as The Suitors; Dena Abergel as The Countess; Giovanni Villalobos as His Attendant; Tyler Angle, Rebecca Krohn, Abi Stafford, and Tiler Peck as The Jewels; Alina Dronova and Seth Orza as The White Cat and Puss in Boots; Ana Sophia Scheller and Vincent Paradiso as Prince Florine and The Bluebird; Maria Gorokhov and Robert Fairchild as Little Red Riding Hood and The Wolf; Adam Hendrickson, Aaron Severini, and Giovanni Villalobos as The Court Jesters; the Company as The Cavaliers, The Lilac Fairy's Attendants, The Court, The Maids of Honor, The Garland Dance Villagers, The Hunting Party, The Nymphs, and The Courtiers, and students from School of American Ballet.

Sleeping Beauty was premiered at Maryinsky Theater, St. Petersburg, January 15, 1890. George Balanchine made his ballet debut in Sleeping Beauty, as a dancer in the Garland Waltz and as a cupid. For NYC Ballet's 1981 Tschaikovsky Festival, George Balanchine choreographed the Garland Dance. Peter Martins included this Garland Dance in his 1991 staging. This production includes more than 100 dancers, including students from School of American Ballet, and 250 costumes. David Mitchell's scenes create a mystical world and fairy tales. Patricia Zipprodt's costumes follow paintings of the courts of Louis XIV and Louis XV. (NYCB Notes).

On revisiting The Sleeping Beauty two days later, with almost a completely different cast, there was renewed excitement in the air. Megan Fairchild, as Aurora, is technically proficient and always the intriguing ingénue. Her Prince Désiré was Joaquin De Luz, a regular partner, as they are both in the shorter group of Principals. Tonight, it was The Prince who was the star, although Ms. Fairchild was, as I just said, "technically proficient". Mr. De Luz, a Princely type for years, has all the gestures perfected, and his dashing across the stage is reminiscent of all great ballet princes, in all great full-length story ballets. Prince and Princess had one rare moment to seal the chemistry, during a Pas de Deux kiss, but Ms. Fairchild must have rehearsed Mr. De Luz to pass her face and kiss her forehead. This was a disappointing moment. These moments are so surreal and intrinsic to the ambiance. Ms. Fairchild was focused throughout, including her two dances at her sixteenth birthday party, with the four suitors, the riveting moment at which she remains firmly en pointe, once turning in elevation and then letting go to take the next suitor's hand. Where Ms. Hyltin's Aurora, two nights ago, was emotionally effusive, Ms. Fairchild's Aurora was virtuosic and vivacious. Jonathan Stafford's Prince Désiré, two nights ago, was the supportive partner, rather than tonight's driven dynamo. In fact, Mr. De Luz executed seasoned en air leaps and lunges in his sensational solos.

Of the four suitors, it was Ask la Cour who was the most magnetic. I so wished he had a larger role. Mr. la Cour is a charismatic presence onstage, very poignant and possessed. Tonight's Fairy Carabosse was Maria Kowroski, and, compared to Melissa Barak, Ms. Kowroski was more mischief than monster, tall and dramatic. Her long, black nails seemed to leap into her intended targets, Princess Aurora and The Lilac Fairy. Tonight's Lilac Fairy, Ellen Bar, could not compare to the fluid flourishes in Sara Mearns' Thursday performance, but she was always aglow. Dena Abergel's Countess was dramatic and true to a rejected woman, with arm-high gestures that revealed her anger, in contrast to the more subdued interpretation by Gwyneth Muller on Thursday. Tyler Angle's Gold had a bit more pizzazz than did Stephen Hanna's, but both "Gold" dancers exuded elevation and elegance. The casts for The Wedding characters, The White Cat and Puss in Boots, Princess Florine and The Bluebird, Little Red Riding Hood and The Wolf, and The Court Jesters were almost the same as Thursday. Changes were Robert Fairchild as a more athletic Wolf and the three Court Jesters, with Adam Hendrickson in his signature dynamism as the lead. Vincent Paradiso was more secure in his very challenging Bluebird solos, and Ana Sophia Scheller wowed the balletomanes with her star turn, if possible even more dazzling than before, as she played straight to the audience's eye.

On second viewing, Mark Stanley's lighting seemed even more nuanced, and the sets and costumes appeared even more lush and luxurious. It would be a shame to store them away another few years. I certainly hope Peter Martins' The Sleeping Beauty can return as early as Spring 2007; certainly Winter Season 2008. I have rarely seen City Ballet fans so vocally ecstatic. Kudos to Peter Martins, and kudos to Maurice Kaplow (who managed quite an orchestral mélange).

Megan Fairchild and Joaquin De Luz in NYCB's The Sleeping Beauty

Photo courtesy of Paul Kolnik


New York City Ballet's The Sleeping Beauty

The Garland Dance

Photo courtesy of Paul Kolnik

 

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at zlokower@bestweb.net