City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Sleeping Beauty Review

By Barbara Bryan - Posted on 05 January 2008

Show Details
Scottish Ballet
Ashley Page - Artistic Director; Anthony McDonald - Designer; Annemarie Woods - Assistant Set Design; Michelle May - Co-Costume Designer; Campbell Young - Wig and Hair Design; Peter Mumford - Lighting Design; Paul Tyers - Deputy Artistic Director; Amanda Eyles - Ballet Mistress; Maria Jimenez - Ballet Mistress
Claire Robertson (Princess Aurora), Erik Cavallari (The Prince), Soon Ja Lee (Lilac Fairy), Limor Ziv (Carabosse)
Running time: 

Sleeping Beauty was the second of Tchaikovsky's three great ballets. By the time it was first performed in 1890, Tchaikovsky had become the most famous composer in Russian history.

Set to a magnificent score, Sleeping Beauty deals with the fate of the young Princess Aurora whose soul is tormented by the forces of good and evil. Ultimately, goodness prevails (in the guise of the Lilac Fairy) whilst Carabosse (the evil fairy very effectively performed by Limor Ziv) is full of penitence for her actions.

Scottish Ballet's performance of Sleeping Beauty is set in 1846. From the moment the curtain rises our senses are saturated with the sumptuousness of the set. Anthony McDonald's designs magnificently depict the elegance and grandeur of an artistocratic setting. He imaginatively creates a forest scene and his designs culminate in visual splendour in the final act.

The costumes are resplendent. Co-designed by Michelle May, the dresses ooze the flamboyance and opulence of the privileged classes in the mid-nineteenth and twentieth century, when the ballet concludes in 1946. The fairy costumes too, aptly portray the forces of good and evil, light and dark. Wigs and hair designs, devised by Campbell Young, are also an integral part of the characters and those of the evil fairies are particularly effective.

The production was conceived by Ashley Page, Scottish Ballet's artistic director and choreographer, and Anthony McDonald. Keen to put an individualistic stamp on the production they not only transformed the beginning to 1846 but decided Princess Aurora would prick her finger on a cactus plant, not the traditional spinning wheel.

Page's choreography has created a fluidity in the production where each dance episode effortlessly mirrors the emotions in Tchaikovsky's score. There were times however, when the music does soar to thrilling heights, his choreography could have been more adventurous.

Generally, though, Page's choreography matched the themes incorporated into the story very effectively. Claire Robertson, as Princess Aurora, successfully embued the innocence and vulnerability of the adolescent girl. Erik Cavalleri, as the Prince, danced with zest and energy. Soon Ja Ziv, as the Lilac Fairy, was enchanting whereas Limor Ziv, exuded menace as the evil fairy. Other dancers also put in good performances. Tama Barry as the Russian Prince, Sophie Martin as cheeky Cinderalla, and Sophie Laplane as Red Riding Hood.

Of course, the full effect of the production would not be felt but for the high calibre performances by the musicians of the Scottish Ballet orchestra, conducted by guest conductor Nicholas Kok.

Scottish Ballet's Sleeping Beauty runs from Wednesday 9 January to Saturday 12 January.

Pictured (above): Tama Barry as the Russian Prince, Christopher Harrison as the Austrian Prince, Claire Robertson as Aurora, Paul Liburd as the Romanian Prince and Gregory Dean as the French Prince in Page’s The Sleeping Beauty. Photograph by Andrew Ross