Friday, 8th June 2018
Sleeping Beauty – 06/08/2018
Princess Aurora: Alina Cojocaru
Prince Désiré: Joseph Caley
Carabosse: James Streeter
Lilac Fairy: Shiori Kase
Fairy of the Crystal Fountain: Begona Cao
Fairy of the Enchanted Garden: Katja Khaniukova
Fairy of the Woodland Glade: Alison McWhinney
Fairy of the Song Bird: Senri Kou
Fairy of the Golden Vine: Rina Kanehara
Gold: Ken Saruhashi
Diamond: Alison McWhinney
Silver: Adriana Lizardi, Senri Kou, Jung ah Choi
Princess Florine: Rina Kanehara
Blue Bird: Daniel McCormick
White Cat and Puss in Boots: Connie Vowles – Daniel Kraus
Little Red Riding Hood and wolf: Jennie Harrington – Shevelle Dynott
Royal purist goes English!
I love Sleeping Beauty and I love MacMillan, and even though I’m always at the ROH, I quite like ENB as well. The problem is: my brain thinks Royal. I always try not to think “RB wouldn’t have done this or that,” and I always fail.
First of all, I don’t like the Coliseum – purple and gold, why?! So glad to be back to my dear old and glorious red and gold Elizabeth II curtains tonight.
Starting with the prologue, the fairies pas de six and variations were good, in particular Rina Kanehara’s Golden Vine Fairy, a total delight. Nevertheless, despite a pretty good start of her Lilac Fairy solo with lovely pirouettes, Shiori Kase gave it a ropey end falling from her final fouettés.
Among her attendants – danced by Francesca Velicu, Connie Vowles, Jung ah Choi, Jennie Harrington, Isabelle Brouwers and Anjuli Hudson – Velicu and Vowles stood out with impeccable technique. The Bolshoi and RBS graduates are also nominated for ENB Emerging Dancer, which will take place at the Coliseum next Monday – really looking forward to seeing them performing. Anyway, it is not clear to me why one of the six attendants’ tutus was different from the others.
As I said, I am a Beauty lover (except for Bolshoi’s Sleeping Beauty: I saw it once with Zakharova and I hope I’ll never have to see it again) and being so used to Royal’s I was a little bit surprised to see that Carabosse was played by a man.
The cavaliers, remarkably partnering the fairies in the prologue, were Aitor Arrieta, Ken Saruhashi, Fernando Carratalà Coloma, Daniel McCormick, Guilherme Menezes and Skyler Martin. It may only be a personal impression, but I felt like the stage was pretty much empty most of the time, speaking about side characters: I don’t know if it is actually like so, but when I think about Sleeping Beauty I see the grandeur, a massive production with the court gathering at the sides of the stage to watch the dancers and the story unfolds. Here I have to say that: Royal would have put up something much more glorious than that.
I also had to bite my tongue as the Italian couple sat next to me was ‘wondering’ why the fairies were six, as “in the cartoon they are three.” I am a total Disnerd and Disney’s Sleeping Beauty’s ultimate fan (I named my little brother Filippo after the Prince Philip!) but come on! I guess they expected to see Maleficent turning into a dragon and Aurora’s dress changing colours from pink to blue.
Another terrible pedestrian anecdote: behind me there was a girl saying “how could the princess be the protagonist if she sleeps most of the time?” I really don’t know how I managed not to scream “wake up idiot, even Giselle is dead but still leading act 2!”
Aurora’s friends’ routine has always been one of my favourites, and I enjoyed Precious Adams, Adela Ramirez, Katja Khaniukova, Jung ah Choi, Senri Kou and Anjuli Hudson in their roles. And here, even though Royal’s Aurora’s friends’ tutus are at the top of my all time favourites, I really liked the pale green tutus by costume designer Nicholas Georgiadis. I’m not sure about what to think about all the other costumes: I loved the colour palette of the tutus and their shades, but I actually think they are too much alike throughout the ballet (also, it was a little weird to see the nymphs in tutus in act 2).
Alina Cojocaru may not be my favourite ballerina, but she was great as Princess Aurora, even though she totally lost the axis of her pirouettes in the Rose Adagio – with Fabian Reimair (English prince), Guilherme Menezes (Spanish prince), Junor Souza (Indian prince) and Skyler Martin (French Prince).
Nevertheless, she did well in all her solos and so did Joseph Caley alongside her as her Prince Désiré (yeah, it’s not Florimund).
Me at the beginning of act 3: “oh, right: in the wrong version there’s Precious Stones and not Florestan and his sisters passed trois.”
The divertissement held at the palace for Aurora and Désiré’s wedding started with Gold, Diamond and three Silver dancers, performed by Ken Saruhashi, Alison McWhinney, Adriana Lizardi, Senri Kou and Jung ah Choi. Their routine was good, but the real gem was the following Blue Bird pas de deux by Daniel McCormick and Rina Kanehara as Princess Florine.
Really good White Cat by Connie Vowles as well: as a true RBS raised dancer, she can surely act!
Indeed, the overall acting was quite poor, and I think the storytelling did not have the same importance as in RB’s production, where it is rather clear, whilst here the only one mastering a bit of acting is Shiori Kase as the Lilac Fairy when she faces Carabosse. But wait, THERE WAS NO CURTAIN CALL! I mean… NO CURTAIN CALL?!
Tchaikovsky’s score is always so ravishing and dreamy – I could happily listen to it all day long – and Sleeping Beauty is always spellbinding. This fairytale ballet really makes you fall under a spell and bewitches you with exquisite routines and ensembles.
And obviously, MacMillan is and always will be a winner.
Off to the Royal Opera House for another Swan Lake tonight with Natasha and Matthew, and then back at the Coliseum on Monday for ENB Emerging Dancer – this year’s finalists are Precious Adams, Fernando Carratala Coloma, Giorgio Garrett, Daniel McCormick, Francesca Velicu and Connie Vowles.