If early reviews are any indication, ABT has a winner in Alexei Ratmansky’s Sleeping Beauty, which debuted at Segerstrom Center, Orange County on Tuesday. Here are three reviews I found:
While European companies have moved on to radical rewrites of the full-length story ballets, ABT has maintained a more traditional, and unsatisfying, course. The right manner and expression, the sheer dancer-power and theatrical trappings, all of which are needed to make the 19th century classics living art, have been missing.
But the company made a glittering course reversal Tuesday night with the world premiere at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts of Alexei Ratmansky’s “The Sleeping Beauty,” a sumptuous three-act production based on Marius Petipa’s 1890 original.
With lush scenery, eye popping costumes, superstar dancers, and the Pacific Symphony playing Tchaikovsky’s beloved score, The American Ballet Theatres premiere of The Sleeping Beauty reminds us why we love fairy-tales. The story, replete with a beautiful princess, handsome prince, good and evil fairies, takes us to a fantasy land far from everyday life.
The final act is truly breathtaking, a sparkling spectacle of gold and white, with the Princess in a stunning gown trailing a long gossamer train as she becomes the bride of Prince Désiré before the curtain comes down on the perfect fairy-tale ending.
Update: Alistair Macaulay of the New York Times is mostly positive on the production.
Though the production, staged by Alexei Ratmansky, Ballet Theater’s artist in residence, is based on deep research into the ballet’s original 1890 production and various records from 1890 to 1906, it doesn’t feel quaint or dated or archival. It feels loved: The characters and their often unfamiliar steps glow from within.
I had booked to see five casts and expected this to be a chore. But it only deepened the fascination. These were performances that made me feel I was only just starting to become acquainted with both “Sleeping Beauty” and the choreographer of its St. Petersburg 1890 premiere, Marius Petipa.
Above all, this staging is a triumph of vivifying style. It’s the finest reconstruction I’ve ever seen of a dance work.
On the down side:
My enthusiasm was tempered. The ballet’s most enchantingly eloquent music, depicting the palace asleep before the Awakening, is cut. Nothing here is dull, but also nothing is overwhelming, at least in these first performances.