By Eric Scott
Mia Heathcote as the Lilac Fairy.
The Sleeping Beauty
Choreographed by Greg Horsman after Marius Petipa
Queensland Symphony Orchestra
Conductor Nigel Gaynor
Queensland Performing Arts Centre
Season June 4-19. Duration: Two hours 30 minutes including interval. Bookings www.qpac.com.au or phone 136 246
In 2015 I declared this ballet “delightful”. This year the word is “magnificent”. It was magical and encompassed incredible performances from the dancers, male and female as Greg Horsman's classical choreography was unveiled. Add stunning costumes, sumptuous sets by Gary Harris, and a mood matching lighting re-imagined by Ben Hughes from Jon Buswell’s original lot and it was classical ballet at its best.
It is a tale of good versus evil and true love conquering all. As the story began the palace was awaiting the birth of a long awaited child and the King’s assistant Catalabutte and his wife Lady Florine were kept busy organising the christening bossily ordering people here and there. They of course were a pair of cats! The he cute and sparky pair added a lot of comedy and indeed did a pretty pas de deux later in the night.
Isabella Swietlicki was Lady Florine and Luke Dimattina was the stressed Catalabutte, who also had a hungry eye on the Bluebirds!
There is some joyful dancing in the palace, particularly from the five fairies with Mia Heathcote , stunning as the Lilac Fairy, and fine performances too from Vanessa Morelli (Blue), Sophie Zoricic (Green), Georgia Swan (Orange), and Lou Spichtig (Yellow) who as godmothers to the newborn baby, arrive, and present their gifts of wisdom, beauty, wit, grace and song to Aurora.
Carabosse, the wicked fairy, arrives. She is furious that she has not been invited to the christening and casts a spell on Aurora. When the princess turns sixteen, she will prick her finger and die.
Then the Lilac Fairy gives her gift to Aurora. She can't break Carabossc's spell, but by using her own magic she ensures that the princess will not die, but fall into a deep sleep for one hundred years. Only the kiss of handsome prince will break the spell and wake her.
Of course the black rose given by a disguised Carabosse to Aurora on her 16th birthday puts the girl and the entire kingdom to sleep.
Yanela Piñera was stunning as Aurora. She wowed the audience with some amazing balance and pointe work. It was a performance I was delighted to witness.
Her partner as Prince Désirè was a powerful and elegantly confident Joel Woellner who is a lithe and sure-footed dancer and a good actor. He was an ideal partner for Yanela, and he never betrayed the trust she put in him. They danced wonderfully together, especially in the wedding pas de deux.
Serina Green was Carabosse and was deliciously evil in her black costume and swirling black cloak. I liked her Shrek-headed henchmen too.
The Bluebird pas de deux is so well known that it has to be good – and Neneka Yoshida, along with Victor Estévez didn’t disappoint.
The Corps as usual was full of energy and precision and the Queensland Symphony Orchestra conducted by Nigel Gaynor added that extra dimension with Tchaikovsky’s pretty score.
It is a production that should not be missed.