Saturday, November 11, 2006

Sleeping Beauty

So falling down yesterday was my fault - I didn't get home until late because I went to the Ballet after work.

Sleeping Beauty
Performed by the National Ballet of Canada

It is on through to November 19, at the brand new Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.
(photo taken from the National Ballet's photo Gallery).
Two reviews from Thursday night's performance (not the casting I saw).
The Opening Night Globe and Mail Review.
The Opening Night Toronto Star Review.

Now I may be a biased reviewer, but this was a fantastic presentation of Sleeping Beauty. The setting is the Rudolph Nureyev remounting of the original Petipa ballet, set for the National Ballet Company back in 1972. Nureyev being the theatrical giant that he was, this is a very audience friendly version. The story is basically that of the familiar fairy tale: a princess is cursed, she falls asleep for 100 years, a prince kisses her, she wakes up, everyone is happy. The costumes and sets have been refurbished for this inaugural performance at the Four Seasons, though there is still a hint of their 1970s origins in the colouring, and they looked beautiful on the new and more intimate stage.

As for the dancers, we saw two of my very favourite principals in the lead roles last night - Sonia Rodriguez and Aleksander Antonijevec. They were, as always, fantastic. They shine in their pas de deux, and Sonia was lovely in the Rose Adagio. I think these two dancers are beautifully matched and have a real dramatic chemsitry on stage. Other highlights included several of the fairy variations in the prologue, and the divertisements in the third act. The Bluebirds were beautiful, especially Dong Hyun Seo, who is a miraculous jumper.

But, of course, my absolute favourite part of the show was the Pussycat divertisement, in which my baby bro was featured as the male half. This is a funny little dance in which the two dancers prance around and misbehave as cats do. And the boy can act! He always shines in this kind of thing because he is great at taking on all the subtlety of movement of the creature (he also does the Fox dance in the Nutcracker). And big sister was bursting with pride to hear the crowds laughing at the kitty antics. Plus, the curtain call! R. and his partner got huge claps and hollers when they came out for their bows! Way to go team R.!!!

Also, on a personally victorious note - I think this is the first time ever that I managed not to cry during the bowing and clapping for the bro. I think that shows signs of huge personal development and growth.

So, go see it. Or if not this, then something else by the company this year. The new theatre is well worth viewing, and the company just keeps getting better and better.


Maggie said...

You're so lucky to live in Toronto and be able to see all the really great ballet performances. One time I got to see The Nutcracker and that was just the most amazing thing I think I've ever seen. So cool, too, that your brother's a part of it. Every once in a while the National Ballet comes here to London. Wonder if Sleeping Beauty will come? *crosses fingers*

MadJenny said...

I don't think they're doing much touring this year, because of the new theatre, but I might be wrong. I go to see the Nutcracker a couple times every year - wouldn't be Christmas without it!