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"Sleeping Beauty" Rouses the Imagination at Lincoln Center

Scene from The Sleeping Beauty. Photo: Rosalie O’Connor.

A marvelous season of the American Ballet Theater at the Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center concluded gloriously with performances of the magnificent staging by the brilliant Artist in Residence Alexei Ratmansky of the enthralling masterwork, Sleeping Beauty, which I attended on the evening of Friday, July 5th. Adapted from the eponymous, classic fairytale by Charles Perrault, and set to a fabulous score Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (here excellently conducted by David LaMarche), the original choreography is by the legendary Marius Petipa. The scenery and gorgeous costumes are by Richard Hudson, inspired by the work of the celebrated designer, Léon Bakst, with effective lighting by James F. Ingalls.
Friday’s performance featured a terrific cast with Sara Lane at her rare best in the title role of Princess Aurora. The biggest star was her partner as Prince Désiré, Herman Cornejo, one of the greatest dancers in the company, who dazzled in his solos in Act III. Stella Abrera shone as the Lilac Fairy, replacing the wonderful Christine Shevchenko. Keith Roberts was superb in the character role of Carabosse, the evil fairy, assisted by Roman Zhurbin as King Florestan XIV, Claire Davison as the Queen, and Alexei Agoudine as Catalabutte, the King’s Chief Minister and, in Act II, Clinton Luckett as Galifron, the Prince’s Tutor and Gemma Bond as the Countess.
The secondary cast was also extraordinary with—among many others deserving praise—in the Prologue, Melanie Hamrick as Sincerity, Stephanie Williams as Wheat flower, Rachel Richardson as Breadcrumb, Skylar Brandt as Canary, and April Giangeruso as Temperament, complemented by the delightful Fairy Cavaliers: Kento Sumitani, Thomas Forster, Jose Sebastian, Gabe Stone Shayer, Patrick Frenette, and Sung Woo Han. Act I was enhanced by Calvin Royal III, Frenette, Luis Rigaborda, and Tyler Maloney as, respectively, the Spanish, English, Italian, and Indian Princes. Act III was also exquisite, with Luciana Paris, Brittany Degrofft, Giangeruso, and Hamrick as the Diamond, Gold, Silver, and Sapphire Fairies; Isadora Loyola and Shayer as The White Cat and Puss-in-Boots; Betsy McBride and Frenette as Red Riding Hood and The Wolf; Katherine Williams and Forster as Cinderella and Prince Fortune; and, above all, Catherine Hurlin and Joo Won Ahn, both stunning as Princess Florine and The Bluebird. The superlative corps de ballet were breathtaking, as they have been all season.
I eagerly look forward to the company’s return to Lincoln Center in the fall.

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