Review: The Sleeping Beauty at the Birmingham Royal Ballet

PUBLISHED: 10:31 15 February 2018

Momoko Hirata as Princess Aurora, Mathias Dingman as Prince Florimund and Jenna Roberts as the Lilac Fairy with Artists of Birmingham Royal Ballet (c) Bill Cooper

Momoko Hirata as Princess Aurora, Mathias Dingman as Prince Florimund and Jenna Roberts as the Lilac Fairy with Artists of Birmingham Royal Ballet (c) Bill Cooper

Archant

The Sleeping Beauty is old school, classical ballet but this company of young dancers have made it far more than a history lesson. They have produced a show that is exciting, romantic and a visual feast for all

Sir Peter Wright’s production of The Sleeping Beauty is renowned for being as true to the 1890 original as it is possible to be. Indeed this is the epitome of classical ballet and true balletomanes must surely applaud the Birmingham Royal Ballet for preserving such a historical treasure. I gladly join in with that applause but I would caution those with young children, anticipating a Disney-like fairy tale, that if one is not familiar with the language of classical mime, then following the smaller details of the story may be a little challenging.

The grandeur and spectacle of this production is apparent the moment the curtain rises to Tchaikovsky’s lush and familiar melodies, revealing a stunning, sepia drenched set. As the stage filled with dancers, men and women wearing saucy red heels and magnificent long, heavy trains, I couldn’t help but marvel at the success of the dancers in not only managing their own trains but also how they masterfully avoided walking up the back of someone else’s train.

Petipa’s iconic choreography for this ballet features a great deal of hopping en pointe for the women. Whilst this obviously requires enormous skill and tremendously strong ankles, I don’t believe it to be the prettiest of moves or leg lines, but the dancers all managed to delight us nonetheless.

Nao Sakuma as Carabosse with Artists of Birmingham Royal Ballet (c) Bill CooperNao Sakuma as Carabosse with Artists of Birmingham Royal Ballet (c) Bill Cooper

The role of Princess Aurora is considered the most technically challenging of all the classical roles and Momoka Hirata made no errors but her slight frame and tendency to signal when she was about to do a tricky move, made one a little nervous on her behalf.

Mathias Dingman as Prince Florimund, however, was confidence personified. The role is sadly smaller than that of Aurora but Dingman’s regal demeanour and seemingly effortless technical brilliance made him the perfect classical prince.

Momoko Hirata as Princess Aurora, Mathias Dingman as Prince Florimund and Jenna Roberts as the Lilac Fairy (c) Bill CooperMomoko Hirata as Princess Aurora, Mathias Dingman as Prince Florimund and Jenna Roberts as the Lilac Fairy (c) Bill Cooper

Throughout the whole performance the dancers and audience were lifted and inspired by The Royal Ballet Sinfonia and their note-perfect rendition of Tchaikovsky’s magnificent score. The violin solos in particular were exquisite and deserve a mention.

Special mentions also to dancers Celine Gittens and Karla Doorbar, both of whom couldn’t help but stand out in the crowd, Tyrone Singleton for his quiet partnering skills and Yaokian Shang as The Bluebird’s Enchanted Princess, who was precise, perfectly balanced and, yes, enchanting.

The Sleeping Beauty is old school, classical ballet but this company of young dancers have made it far more than a history lesson. They have produced a show that is exciting, romantic and a visual feast for all.

Momoko Hirata as Princess Aurora with Tyrone Singleton as a Prince (c) Bill CooperMomoko Hirata as Princess Aurora with Tyrone Singleton as a Prince (c) Bill Cooper

The Sleeping Beauty will run from Wednesday February 14 to Saturday February 24 at the Birmingham Hippodrome. See the full list of times and dates here.

Click here to book your tickets.

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