By Isabelle Lee and Michelle Kim
The Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa was the venue for The American Ballet Theatre’s presentation of The Sleeping Beauty, a ballet choreographed to the music of Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky. The production ran from March 3rd through March 8th. The main characters were Princess Aurora, played by a principle American Ballet Theatre, Argentinian ballerina, Paloma Herrera, and Prince Désiré, played by Denys Nedak. It also featured Misty Copeland, an author and ballerina, as Fleur de farine, or the wheat flower fairy. The ballet consisted of both professional ballet dancers and incredibly talented students.
The prologue of the ballet was the christening where King Florestan XIV and his Queen celebrated the birth of their newborn daughter, Princess Aurora. Catalabutte, the Master of Ceremonies, checks the invitation list to confirm that everything is correct. The Lilac Fairy, the principle fairy, entered with her fairies as the trumpets sounded. They each gave the princess gifts such as wit, generosity, and beauty. A sudden noise announced the arrival of the evil fairy Carabosse. The King realized with horror that she was not on the invitation list. She proceeded to place an evil curse on the baby in which she will prick her finger with a spindle on her sixteenth birthday and die. As she laughs with cruelty, the Lilac Fairy states that she will prick her finger, but instead, she will fall into a deep sleep for one hundred years. A prince will then come to awaken her with a kiss.
Act I opened with the scene of Aurora’s sixteenth birthday celebration. Catalabutte noticed a group of villagers knitting with spindles and reminded them of the rule that forbids all spindles in the kingdom. The King demanded they be taken away to prison, but the Queen sympathized with them and granted them mercy. Aurora entered and was introduced to four princes from four different parts of the world. As she danced with them, she noticed an old woman knitting with a spindle; she took the spindle and danced gracefully with it, but pricked her finger and abruptly ended her dance. The old woman was revealed to be the evil fairy Carabosse and escaped in a cloud of smoke that startled the audience. The Lilac Fairy reassured the King and Queen that she was merely asleep and casted a spell of sleep upon the entire palace so that they would awaken with her.
In Act II, one hundred years have passed and it began with the scene of Prince Désiré and his hunting party in a forest. He was notified of a trapped bear but felt restless and ordered his company to proceed without him. The Lilac Fairy appeared to the Prince and told him of Aurora’s enchanting beauty. The vision of Aurora appeared and Prince Désiré, overcome and hypnotized by her, pursued her while she evaded him. The prince then begged the fairy to take him to her. After he entered the palace, he saw Aurora sleeping peacefully; he rushed to her and kissed her, breaking Carabosse’s spell. The King gave them his blessing and consent to marry.
The final act, Act III, opened with the wedding of Princess Aurora and Prince Désiré. Everyone, including the repentant Carabosse was invited. The invited guests were characters from many fairy tales such as Puss in Boots, Little Red Riding Hood, and Cinderella. Each performed a variation of graceful ballet in a manner of presenting their gifts and stories to the royal couple. After all the guests paid their respects, Aurora and Désiré performed a grand pas de deux. The ballet closed with the assembly of all the guests and a scene of the rejoicing kingdom. Marius Petipa’s creation of a classical ballet from a fairy tale continues to delight audiences.
The Segerstrom Center for the Arts will be presenting the Grammy Award-winning Zakir Hussain on April 1st, where he will use Celtic instruments as well as the bamboo flute, and south Indian violin to create a cultural fusion of music. The Pacific Symphony will be performing Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet from April 16th to April 18th.