Review | Melbourne City Ballet’s Sleeping Beauty
Darebin Arts Centre, Melbourne, Saturday 20 April
Reviewed by Samantha Webb
The story begins with the christening of Princess Aurora, where we are introduced to the Lilac Fairy who, along with the good fairies, bestows gifts upon the new Princess. Each dances beautifully before the King and Queen. But trouble strikes with the arrival of Carabosse who places a terrible curse on the new Princess for being forgotten from the festivities. Alexia Cannizaro dances the part of Carabosse and she is tremendous in the role. She brings such life to the character full of anger, darkness and foreboding. The character is joined on stage by two evil spirits who cast darkness around the good fairies.
Thankfully the Lilac fairy reduces Auroras future from certain death to a sleep that can only be broken by true love’s kiss. Alexandra Rolfe brings the Lilac Fairy to the stage with strength and grace, long lines and confident poise, true to the strength of the character she portrays. One fall from pointe a small disappointment, otherwise a strong performance.
Act One tells the story of Aurora’s 16th birthday and we are introduced to Ariana Hond who gives a wonderful performance throughout as Aurora – the highlight the final dance in Act Three with her prince, Henry Driver. Ariana has incredible strength and lightness using the full stage well. A pleasure to watch.
We all know the story as Aurora pricks her finger and falls into a deep sleep, as does the full court around her. This is delicately done by the Lilac fairy in a lovely final dance to bring Act One to a close.
We pick up the story in Act Two, 100 years later, with the handsome Prince Desiree, Henry Driver, accompanied by friends. However, no matter how his friends entertain him, in this case a cheekily danced game of hide and seek, he is filled with a sadness that can’t be shaken. The Lilac fairy shows him a vision of the Princess Aurora and he knows with all of his heart he must find her in order to be truly happy. This is really well done with a sheer curtain, which Aurora dances behind with delicate lighting to make her appear ethereal.
To clear his path, the Lilac fairy defeats Carabosse in a scene too short for my liking! I would have liked to see the light versus dark; good versus evil played out a little more strongly. However the final scene of Act Two is joyful, where our Prince finds his Princess and kisses her, bringing her and the full court to life.
What a celebration in the final Act! Beautiful introductions to the party guests including Puss in Boots, Little Red Riding Hood and the wolf. The final duet danced by Aurora and Prince Desire was wonderful. Lovely timing and connection.
The company celebrates its 5th year in 2018 and has come a long way since its humble beginnings to now bring us sumptuous costuming and set designs with high quality choreography and performances. The cast has depth and talent and it remains a wonderful opportunity to introduce people to the world of ballet, including children, who may otherwise not have the chance.
I recommend you take the time to see this ballet.
Read more about this ballet here