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Top Pick: Theatre awakens Sleeping Beauty after 35-year slumber

THE BALLET 'Sleeping Beauty' is one of the world's most famous classical works. Composed by Russian Pyotr Ilich Tchaikovsky and and choreographed by Frenchman Marius Petipa, it is also one of the most difficult ballets to perform. Permanently included in repertoires at the world's largest theatres, this visual and musical treat is getting its first outing in Slovakia in 35 years.
The current show's grand premiere was at the Slovak National Theatre (SND) on January 25. Tchaikovsky's ballet is directed by Russian choreographer Bacram M. Juldashev and Slovak Jozef Dolinský Sr, according to Marius Petipa's conception. The SND's ballet dancers will perform the work this week on January 30.


Nikoleta Stehliková as Sleeping Beauty.
photo: Ctibor Bachratý

THE BALLET 'Sleeping Beauty' is one of the world's most famous classical works. Composed by Russian Pyotr Ilich Tchaikovsky and and choreographed by Frenchman Marius Petipa, it is also one of the most difficult ballets to perform. Permanently included in repertoires at the world's largest theatres, this visual and musical treat is getting its first outing in Slovakia in 35 years.

The current show's grand premiere was at the Slovak National Theatre (SND) on January 25. Tchaikovsky's ballet is directed by Russian choreographer Bacram M. Juldashev and Slovak Jozef Dolinský Sr, according to Marius Petipa's conception. The SND's ballet dancers will perform the work this week on January 30.

"It's one of the most difficult performances, laying stress on female dancers," said Emil T. Bartko, SND's ballet director. He explained that the ballet recalls the period of French king Ludwig XIV. It captures the style and costume, which Bartko says is very hard to bring to the stage unless the dancers and technical conditions are perfectly prepared.

"I was afraid to put on this work for many years," he admitted. "However, last year at this time, our female group did so well that I decided to reward them. Since I couldn't reward them with a prize or money, I rewarded them with work."

The two-act ballet is based on the well known fairy tale by French Charles Perrault. The performance begins with a prologue, introducing the audience to the spell cast over the cradle of Princess Aurora by wicked fairies. The spell forecasts the princess will prick her finger and fall asleep until a prince wakes her up with a kiss.

Perrault's fairy tale first appeared on the stage thanks to the director of the Czar's theatre in St. Petersburg, Ivan Vsevolozski, who adapted the story and designed the costumes. At the end of the 19th century, the ballet began to gain success across the globe.

The SND staged the ballet first in 1942, directed by Russian choreographer Maximilian Froman. Then, in 1957, it was put on by Czech Stanislav Remar, and in 1968 by Slovak Jozef Zajko.

In the current version, Princess Aurora is played by Cosmina M. Zaharia and Nikoleta Stehlíková. Martin Blahuta shares the role of Prince Desiré with Jozef Dolinský Jr. The dancers agree that this is one of the most difficult classical ballets, but say it taught them a lot. The Russian director Juldashev agrees: "It also taught me something - I learnt this sentence in Slovak: 'What are you sighing about now?'"

Tickets (Sk50-120) are on sale at SND's booking office on Komenského námestie. Tel: 02/5443-3764. Next performances on Jan 30 and Feb 16 at 19:00 at SND on Hviezdoslavovo námestie 1. For more information check www.snd.sk

By Zuzana Habšudová

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