Continuing the Royal Opera House’s #OurHouseToYourHouse series, The Royal Ballet this week presents the online premiere of its beautiful production of The Sleeping Beauty – Marius Petipa’s classic ballet of the triumph of good over evil – set to Tchaikovsky’s gorgeous score.
The Sleeping Beauty is of particular historical importance to The Royal Ballet, since it was a performance of this classic, staged by Ninette De Valois, with Margot Fonteyn and Robert Helpmann in the leading roles, which marked the reopening of Covent Garden as a lyric theatre on 20th February 1946, after its closure during the War.
A revival of the ballet (after Ninette De Valois and Nicholas Sergeyev) was staged in 2006 by Monica Mason – then Director of The Royal Ballet – and Christopher Newton, who added to the original choreography sections created for the Company by Frederick Ashton, Anthony Dowell and Christopher Wheeldon. Oliver Messel’s designs for set and costumes were retained, with additional designs by Peter Farmer – and this is the production which will be screened online this week.
Tchaikovsky completed the score for The Sleeping Beauty in 1889. It was the second of his three ballets – Swan Lake having been the first, in 1876, with The Nutcracker following in 1892. The original scenario was conceived by Ivan Vsevolozhsky then Director of the Imperial Theatres in St Petersburg, and based on Charles Perrault’s La Belle au bois dormant, with choreography by Marius Petipa, Ballet Master at the Mariinsky. The ballet premiered at the Mariinsky Theatre on 15th January, 1890, and although its reception was warm but somewhat muted, The Sleeping Beauty is now regarded as one of Tchaikovsky’s finest works and has become one of the most famous and popular ballets in the classical repertoire.
The role of Princess Aurora in this week’s transmission is danced by Fumi Kaneko, and Prince Florimund by Federico Bonelli. The dancers of The Royal Ballet are accompanied by the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House.
Watch the Friday Premiere of The Sleeping Beauty free of charge on the Royal Opera House Facebook and YouTube channels from 7.00 pm BST on Friday 24 July – available for the following 14 days. You can share your reactions online using #OurHouseToYourHouse.
Information sourced from:
The Royal Ballet programme notes
Tchaikovsky by Anthony Holden