Saturday, April 13

The Sleeping Beauty – Royal Opera House

‘I know you, I walked with you once upon a dream’. Most people will know the song from Disney’s ‘Sleeping Beauty’ but how many people know that the music was actually written 70 years prior to the film’s release and the lyrics were added in 1959 for Disney?

Tchaikovsky’s music for the ballet ‘The Sleeping Beauty’ was written in 1889. For anyone who may have never heard of any version of this fairytale before, it tells the story of Princess Aurora. Starting with her christening day, when Carabosse interrupts the ceremony and places a curse on the new princess, meaning she’ll prick her finger on her birthday and die. Luckily, the lilac fairy manages to lessen the curse, to put Aurora and the kingdom into a deep sleep for 100 years, only to be woken by true loves kiss. The ballet consists of a prologue and three acts: the christening, the princess’ birthday, the prince awakening the kingdom and the royal wedding day.

The Sleeping Beauty is the ballet in which the Royal Ballet Company reopened the Royal Opera House in 1946, it is one of Tchaikovsky’s main three ballets and is one of the most well-known ballets. The Royal Ballet definitely do this piece justice. It is enthralling to watch, and you can’t take your eyes of the dancers. They are all so in sync with each other and the soloists are clearly carefully selected. Fumi Kaneko as Princess Aurora and Gina Storm-Jensen as the Lilac Fairy will make every human who ever dreamed of being a ballerina envious and wish they’d continued with the dream, with their flawless footwork and energetic performances. And what aspiring ballerina wouldn’t love to be swept off her feet by Federico Bonelli’s Prince Florimund? Not only a phenomenal dancer, but the way he’d lift Kaneko as though she were as light as a feather (she is a dancer – it is possible that she is weightless!) would make any Princess’ dreams come true!

Of course the music has stood the test of time, Disney made sure of that by adapting Tchaikovsky’s music for their version, but hearing a full orchestra, led by Simon Hewett, playing the music as it was intended when it was written over 200 years ago, is something that everyone should experience! It’s a beautiful score and when accompanied by dancing from the Royal Ballet – you know you are in for a treat! It has definitely made me realise that once the theatres are allowed to open properly again, I need to watch more ballet, as it truly is a magical art form that many don’t give the time of day to, even though they should!

The Royal Opera House needs our support to be able to reopen after the current pandemic, make sure to visit their website for ways in which you can donate and support them.

Reviewer: Jenn McKean

Reviewed: 24th July 2020

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★