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Royal Opera Series: Sleeping Beauty

Hyland Cinema presents the Royal Opera House's 2020 recording of Sleeping Beauty on Saturday, Feb. 8th @ 10:00 AM!!

Individual Tickets: $20
(8-ticket discount bundles of $120 available at box office~save $5 a ticket)

The Sleeping Beauty holds a special place in The Royal Ballet’s repertory. It was the ballet with which the Company reopened the Royal Opera House in 1946 after World War II, its first production at its new home in Covent Garden. Margot Fonteyn danced the role of the beautiful Princess Aurora in the first performance, with Robert Helpmann as Prince Florimund. Sixty years later, in 2006, the original 1946 staging was revived by then Director of The Royal Ballet Monica Mason and Christopher Newton, returning Oliver Messel’s wonderful designs and glittering costumes to the stage.

The wicked fairy Carabosse is furious she wasn’t invited to Princess Aurora’s christening. She gives the baby a spindle, saying that one day the Princess will prick her finger on it and die. The Lilac Fairy makes her own christening gift a softening of Carabosse’s curse: Aurora will not die, but will fall into a deep sleep, which only a prince’s kiss will break.

On her 16th birthday, Aurora discovers the spindle and pricks her finger. She falls into an enchanted sleep, and the whole palace sleeps with her. One hundred years later, Prince Florimund discovers the palace, hidden deep within a great, dark forest. He wakes Aurora with a kiss.

The Royal Ballet made its name with Petipa’s The Sleeping Beauty, reopening Covent Garden’s knackered opera house in 1946 with a production that hearkened back to Russian Imperial grandeur while heralding the future of classical dance in this country. A drama of moral rebirth, Beauty is inevitably the technical and sentimental standard by which the current state of the company is judged.

On opening night, the confident collective tremor of pointe shoes across the stage seemed to prophesy something special: not just the arrival of princess Aurora to her fatefully prickly 16th-birthday bash, but the artistic arrival of Yasmine Naghdi in this most demanding of ballerina roles.

Naghdi has a subtler, more exacting stage presence than some of her fellow principals, but it’s no less special. There’s a shimmering poetic sensibility to her port de bras, a subtle but sonorous slant to her upper body. All eyes are on the Rose Adagio with its famous balances: Naghdi delivers with immanent assurance, adding a rubato touch to her next solo, brilliantly accompanied by concert master Sergey Levitin.

Orchestra and company alike respond brightly to Tchaikovsky’s score, with soloists Anna Rose O’Sullivan, James Hay and Mayara Magri dancing with verve and nerve. As the prince, Matthew Ball’s convincing melancholy modulates to exultant brio – he’s also a steadfast partner to Naghdi. While Marcelino Sambé’s Bluebird ascends with an eagle-esque power finessed with feathery-soft landings, Kristen McNally’s supremely disdainful Carabosse needs a mention, arriving on a diabolical mobility scooter powered by a squirming squad of giant rats. Total class.

-- The Stage 

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