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The Royal Ballet 
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Сообщение The Royal Ballet

    The Sleeping Beauty, Royal Ballet, Covent Garden, review: more schlepping than sleeping
    Two Stars

    Natalia Osipova is very often either the best or worst thing in whatever piece she tackles.

    When the planets align, the Royal Ballet star principal can be drop-dead marvellous. I have never seen anyone bring a greater sense of foreboding to Act I of Giselle, or a more elemental quality to Act II. She can whip up mesmerising drama in works that are otherwise short on it (Christopher Wheeldon’s Strapless; Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s Medusa). And – over at the Southbank, back in June – she delivered a performance of heart-rending pathos in Arthur Pita’s nightmarish maternal odyssey The Mother, one of 2019’s absolute finest.

    However, the Bolshoi alumna's instinctive self-absorption on stage can be a problem, she has repeatedly misjudged and over-egged the works of Kenneth MacMillan, and she recently served up a decidedly coarse Raymonda Act III. As for her Aurora, on Wednesday night, in the Royal’s grandly traditional staging of Petipa’s and Tchaikovsky’s 1890 masterpiece The Sleeping Beauty, this was at times simply awful.

    I’m not sure I have ever seen such a poor Rose Adagio on the Covent Garden stage, with an Aurora so terrified of relinquishing one suitor’s hand or in such a desperate hurry to claw at the next for support. It was as though it had only just crossed Osipova’s mind just how difficult this (notoriously difficult), balance-filled passage is.

    Neither here, nor in the rest of her spiky, staccato Act I, is there any impression of youth budding joyfully into regal womanhood – this is an Aurora who has reluctantly stubbed out a fag on the way into her own 16th birthday party and can’t wait for the whole blasted thing to be over. Nor is there any discernible character arc between Acts I and III (the princess’s wedding) – looking less panicked really doesn’t count.

    Although Osipova makes a slightly better fist of the vision scene and the climactic grand pas de deux, the lack of emotional “give” that can all too easily creep into her dancing is also very much in evidence. Here making his debut as Prince Florimund, guesting America Ballet Theatre principal David Hallberg makes a super prince: handsome, noble in bearing, and with an air of warmth about him too. However, there is not even a flicker of a flame between him and his bride-to-be, and for this, Osipova must shoulder the blame.

    Although not quite a top-drawer Lilac Fairy, Mayara Magri nevertheless generates a vivid halo of benign authority about her, descending weightlessly from pointe to the flat and allowing pirouettes to come to organic, unhurried conclusions – a pleasure to watch. As her nemesis, Carabosse, that loftiest of dancers Christina Arestis channels Cruella de Vil (and perhaps a smidgen of The Firebird’s villainous Kostcheï) into a lip-smackingly theatrical and entertaining villain.

    Otherwise, little of the solo work stands out for being either particularly good or bad. I do dearly wish, though, that the Covent Garden management could help Yuhui Choe (here, as both the Fairy of the Golden Vine and Princess Florine) to recover her formerly lighter-than-air form.

    The thing is, had Wednesday’s performance featured a resplendent Aurora at its centre, none of the other shortcomings might have mattered too much. But she is, after all, the somnolent glamourpuss of the title, and what’s more, this tale has a unique place in the Royal Ballet’s history, being both the piece with which it reopened the Royal Opera House after the Second World War, and arguably the signature work of its most celebrated ever ballerina, Margot Fonteyn.

    Whoever plays Aurora essentially carries the ballet: that’s the honour, and the responsibility too. Drop it, and the whole thing shatters.

    Изображение



28 ноя 2019, 06:41
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