Sleeping Beauty is a well-known tale, the story of a wicked fairy who casts a spell on a royal child.
She warns that Princess Aurora will prick her finger on her 16th birthday and die. The Lilac Fairy contradicts this spell and says the princess will not die but will fall asleep and, 100 years later, will be woken by a kiss.
Although perhaps not so immediately well-known as Tchaikovsky’s music for Swan Lake or The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty’s composition complements the story and the ballet movements perfectly.
As indeed, does the costumes, lighting and setting. For the Farandola Peasant Dance, the music becomes more ‘folksy’ while it is romantic when the prince dances with Aurora.
When the wicked fairy makes an appearance, the musical tone takes a sinister note.
The lighting goes darker and the wicked fairy (a contrast in her drab and dreary costume to the good fairies’ pastel-coloured tutus), accompanied by rat attendants, creates a creepy atmosphere.
The cast was splendid, and did not put a foot wrong.
As well as being wonderful dancers, the ballet stars fitted into their roles and showed emotions well, displaying grief, happiness, fear and romance.
The stage and setting is lavishly decorated, from scenes of a luxurious castle interior to the beautiful gardens of the ultimate wedding scene. In the second act, the castle gates look authentically ruined and forgotten about for 100 years.
There are other well-loved characters performing ballet duets at the wedding scene –Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf, and Puss in Boots and the White Cat among them.
The latter making a convincing feline display of how cats would perform ballet if they could!
As a whole, with the music, scenery, costumes, characters, story, drama and dancing, it really was an enchanted evening, not just for the fairytale characters but for the audience, too.