­Sleeping Beauty’s triumph at Bolshoi

The Bolshoi Theater’s new life has been occupying the front pages of Russian media for the past few weeks, with loads of criticism. However now is the time for rightful praise. The historic stage presented the reincarnation of ballet Sleeping Beauty.

After the failure of Ruslan and Ludmila, dozens of controversial reviews of the reconstruction quality and scandals with tickets to the renewed Bolshoi many have almost lost hope that Russia’s best-known theater will restore its former glory. The Bolshoi’s seventh edition of Sleeping Beauty to the trademark score by Pyotr Tchaikovsky has proved otherwise.

The remake of the legendary ballet by Marius Petipa to the music by Tchaikovsky is just as breathtaking as its earlier editions. To make the fairytale come true, legendary choreographer Yury Grigorovich and Italian set designer Ezio Frigerio worked their fingers to the bone.

A separate passage should probably be given to the entourage and costumes. As the curtain lifts, you find yourself in a 17th-century palace with rich decoration. “As it is the first ballet performed on the reconstructed stage the Bolshoi, we decided to make a magnificent setting,” Ezio Frigerio says.

The preparations for the premiere, attended by high guests such as President Dmitry Medvedev and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev with their spouses, began long beforehand. Over 400 new costumes were specially tailored for the new production under the designs of Oscar-winning Franca Scuarcciapino to blind the most demanding public with glitter. This ballet is also a record setter on the number of wigs used on stage.

The choreography of prominent ballet master Yury Grigorovich was outstanding as usual, the late production proved just as faultless as the ones he created back in 1963 and 1973. The dancers, including the Svetlana Zakharova as Princess Aurora and American dancer David Hallberg as Prince Desire, did their jobs well. Guests left the hall with words “spectacular” and “magnificent” on their lips.

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