American Ballet Theatre
The Sleeping Beauty 2013
Metropolitan Opera House
Kevin McKenzie, Artistic Director
Rachel S. Moore, Executive Director
Alexei Ratmansky, Artist in Residence
Victor Barbee, Associate Artistic Director
Ballet Masters: Susan Jones, Irina Kolpakova,
Clinton Luckett, Nancy Raffa
Ormsby Wilkins, Music Director
Kelly Ryan, Director of Press and Public Relations
James Timm, Director of Marketing and Brand Management
Susan Morgan-Taylor, Manager of Press and Online Media
Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
July 6, 2013 Matinee
(Read More ABT Reviews)
Conductor: Charles Barker
The Sleeping Beauty (2008): Choreography after Marius Petipa, Additional choreography and staging by Kevin McKenzie, Gelsey Kirkland, and Michael Chernov, Music by Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky, Scenery by Tony Walton, Costumes by Willa Kim, Additional Costume Design by Holly Hynes, Lighting by Richard Pilbrow and Dawn Chiang, Assistant Scenery Designer: Kelly Hanson, Assistant Costume Designer: Richard Schurkamp.
Performed by Xiomara Reyes as Princess Aurora, Alban Lendorf as Prince Désiré, Yuriko Kajiya as The Lilac Fairy, Nancy Raffa as The Fairy Carabosse, Victor Barbee as King Florestan, Kate Lydon as His Queen, Julio Bragado-Young as Catalabutte, The King’s Chief Minister, Melanie Hamrick as The Fairy of Sincerity, Isabella Boylston as The Fairy of Fervor, Leann Underwood as The Fairy of Charity, Luciana Paris as The Fairy of Joy, Devon Teuscher as The Fairy of Valor, Thomas Forster, Joseph Phillips, Luis Ribagorda, Arron Scott, Jose Sebastian, and Sean Stewart as The Fairy Knights, Blaine Hoven as The Russian Prince, Sterling Baca as The Spanish Prince, Eric Tamm , as The Indian Prince, Patrick Ogle as The Celtic Prince, Marian Butler as The Countess, Vitali Krauchenka as Gallison, The Prince’s Aide, Kristi Boone and Alexei Agoudine as The Cat and Puss-in-Boots, Nicole Graniero and Luis Ribagorda as Red Riding Hood and The Wolf, Karen Uphoff and Vitali Krauchenka as Cinderella and Prince Charming, Stella Abrera and Sascha Radetsky as Princess Florine and The Bluebird, and the Company as Herald, Lilac Fairy Attendants, Carabosse’s Minions, The Courtiers, Princess Aurora’s Friends, Village Gossips, The Villagers, The Prince’s Friends, The Hunt Couples, and Adelaide Clauss and Elliott Evans as The Village Children.
Judging from the reaction from my nine year-old niece, this was a ballet for all ages, choreographed against colorful, bright scenery, and filled with a clear story line and virtuosic choreography, by Kevin McKenzie, Gelsey Kirkland, and Michael Chernov. On each viewing, it’s even more enchanting and impressive. I chose today’s production for the convenience of out-of-town relatives, and also for the opportunity to experience the New York debut of a luminary from Copenhagen, Alban Lendorf, as Prince Désiré. Other than today’s brutal heat, everything was perfect, as Mr. Lendorf was a huge, wonderful surprise. Princess Aurora was Xiomara Reyes, usually partnered by Herman Cornejo. I’ve hinted on recent reviews of that duo that their relationship is close and seasoned, but not fiery and filled with chemistry.
Today, that missing chemistry was oozing, with Ms. Reyes dancing as I’ve never seen her dance, like a firebird, leaping into Mr. Lendorf’s arms, gazing into his eyes. The usually surreal Act II Vision scene, that occurs shortly after the Prince is introduced, took on an air of true fairy tale romance. Their Act III Wedding scene was the most charged I’ve ever witnessed in all incarnations of The Sleeping Beauty, as if this were really the wedding of the stars, with uninhibited embraces and electrified solos. Mr. Lendorf proved to his instantaneous New York fans that he should be seen here again, soon, on this stage or others, as he’s charismatically exciting in presence, exceptionally muscular in leaps and elevation, emphatically daring in athleticism, and genuinely warm in partnering. Ms. Reyes, so well-known to her own fans, showed fresh enthusiasm, lightning lunges, and an internal glow.
Yuriko Kajiya, as The Lilac Fairy, a constantly demanding role, was substantially dramatic and nuanced in her assurances to the King and Queen that baby Aurora, then teen Aurora, would not succumb to the curse of Carabosse. Ms. Kajiya danced with graceful, elegant bearing and lovely lines. When she led Mr. Lendorf about the forest to view the sleeping castle and meet Aurora’s vision, she was intriguing and ingénue, the quintessential Lilac Fairy. Likewise, Nancy Raffa was the quintessential Fairy Carabosse, who enters and leaves with her insect “Minions”, four shiny, male dancers walking on stick-like arms and legs, in black-green winged costumes. Ms. Raffa exuded extra fire, to add to the stage pyrotechnics, embellishing the role with extra hot theatricality. An added surprise was Julio Bragado-Young’s interpretation of Catalabutte, the wigged, bumbling chief minister, who forgets to invite Carabosse to the Christening. The audience was vocally entertained by his histrionic antics. Victor Barbee and Kate Lydon were King Florestan and his Queen, with both adding a sense of maturity to the unfolding drama.
The five leading Fairies, other than Lilac and Carabosse, were Fairies of Sincerity (Hamrick), Fervor (Boylston), Charity (Underwood), Joy (Paris), and Valor (Teuscher). Luciana Paris exudes visible enthusiasm in her stage performances, a lovely sense of persona, and Ms. Boylston was imbued with energy. In Act I, The Spell, four Princes vie for the hand of Aurora in the Rose Adagio, which Ms. Reyes handled with aplomb, en pointe endlessly, with a rose collected from each Prince, and so on. It’s incumbent on the Princes to help Aurora balance and turn en pointe, holding her hand expertly. The Russian (Hoven), Spanish (Baca), Indian (Tamm), and Celtic (Ogle) Princes were in full command. In Act II, The Hunt, the Prince’s soon to be ex-amour is The Countess, and today Marian Butler dramatized the moment when she’s sent walking alone with the hunting party. Vitali Krauchenka was a fine Prince’s Aide.
But, it’s the Act III Wedding, at a point in the ballet when new characters are usually not introduced, when new fairy tale characters appear and dance as wedding guests. The tour de force dance is Princess Florine and The Bluebird, today performed by Stella Abrera and her real-life partner, Sascha Radetsky, both Soloists. There was pulse, with Mr. Radetsky achieving elevated, tiny, quick sideway kicks, and with Ms. Abrera spinning like a top. Kristi Boone and Alexei Agoudine were The Cat and Puss-in-Boots, flirting with wit and camp. Red Riding Hood and The Wolf were Nicole Graniero and Luis Ribagorda, creating delight for the children in the audience, and, adding to the delight, were Karen Uphoff and Vitali Krauchenka as Cinderella and Prince Charming. The pièce de résistance was Ms. Reyes’ and Mr. Lendorf’s Grand Pas de Deux, with their horizontal, outstretched lunges and Ms. Reyes’ close to the torso pirouettes, stunning and breathtaking in the moment. Charles Barker kept the orchestra ebullient and sparkling. Kudos to all.
Xiomara Reyes and Alban Lendorf
in "The Sleeping Beauty"
Courtesy of MIRA