Sleeping Beauty from the Bolshoi Ballet beguiles

Sleeping Beauty

Royal Opera House

Performance date: 5 August 2013, until 9 August


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“Seeing the Bolshoi Ballet would be a once in a lifetime experience,” I comment to the lady next to me in the queue for return tickets inside the Royal Opera House. It is 7.15pm, the show starts in 15 minutes, and we are near the front of the queue hoping for a miracle. The lady next to me murmurs agreement, but then says, “Although, I did see them perform in Moscow in 1963…”

I would have liked to have heard more of the stories she had about Cold War Russia, but one ticket became available – at £120 it is out of my price range. My well-travelled companion snaps it up, and I return to playing with my phone. All hope seems lost, until a lady strides over to me at 7.26pm, asks if I want a ticket, hands it over to me for free, and strides off again.  Momentarily taken aback, I bolt up the (many, many) stairs to the Upper Amphitheatre and find myself a long way up in the gods, but centrally placed for a magnificent view of the show.

I don’t really speak ballet. I never dreamed of being a ballerina, never attended classes, have seen few productions and was compelled but slightly revolted by its depiction in the film “Black Swan”. So I don’t really know how to talk coherently, properly about the Bolshoi’s production of “The Sleeping Beauty”. But I can say breathlessly that it was beautiful, magical, transporting…

This first performance outside Russia of Yuri Grigorovich’s revival of Petipa’s “Sleeping Beauty” showcased sumptuous symmetrical set pieces involving floral hoops and athletic artistry of the performers. The diamantes, the tutus, the richly detailed costume and set design provide glittering ingredients for this fairy tale. Tchaikovsky’s wonderful score rippled around the dancers, as they leapt, pirouetted and glided across the stage.

There were so many different roles – whether as fairy tale characters from other stories, or as fairies themselves – offering each dancer a moment of their own in the spotlight. The evil Carabosse Fairy and the minions eddying around her were standouts for me. Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf dancing at the final wedding feast were also crowd favourites.

The show, with one interval, was like a glimpse of an enchanted land, utterly captivating and perhaps a taste of the lotus sparking a desire to learn some new vocab…

Here is a link to some footage.

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One comment

  1. Beautiful, beautiful. Though sounds like you are destined to arriving 2 minutes before show starts and watching the tops of the ballet dancers heads from the Gods. Though Nutcracker Suite Vienna wasn’t Bolshoi breathtaking… how marvellous….

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