FLASH FRIDAY: Matthew Bourne's SLEEPING BEAUTY Awakes In A Dreamy City Center Special Event
Presenting one of the most popular ballets of all time, this month at City Center visionary director and acclaimed choreographer Matthew Bourne returns to New York with the completion of his Tchaikovsky ballet trilogy begun with NUTCRACKER! and continuing with his celebrated SWAN LAKE with the New York City bow of his newest theatrical venture, SLEEPING BEAUTY: A GOTHIC ROMANCE.
Once Upon A Dream
Twenty years in the making, five-time Laurence Olivier Award recipient Matthew Bourne now presents the highly anticipated conclusion of his triptych of ballets based on the work of classical music master Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky that started in 1992 with his reworking of family-friendly THE NUTCRACKER into NUTCRACKER! and continued with his provocative and daring reworking of SWAN LAKE later that decade, with the fairy tale-based SLEEPING BEAUTY at vaunted NYC venue City Center. Telling the timeless tale of an enchanted princess doomed to sleep for a century, as well as her dashing prince and the dark magic that initially thwarts their path to finding true love together, SLEEPING BEAUTY is one of the most rapturous and romantic ballets in the canon and this delicate, contemporary and unexpected new production is a rhapsodic rendering on par with the prior two Tchaikovsky ballet masterworks created by Bourne and his New Directions company. Featuring prima ballerinas Hannah Vassallo and Ashley Shaw sharing the central role of Aurora, SLEEPING BEAUTY also boasts a sumptuous ensemble of Bourne's finest players, all having originally had the pleasure of presenting the ballet in its premiere UK production and around the world on tour. Indeed, Bourne's grand and outwardly gothic interpretation of the material provides a fresh air of mystique and creates an exciting new mise en scene for the musically powerful and dramatically compelling masterpiece.
Furthermore, City Center is the ideal venue for the new production of SLEEPING BEAUTY as precisely envisioned by Bourne, as well - and home to more than merely one or two Bourne successes in the past. As a matter of fact, when I interviewed Bourne last year, we touched upon SLEEPING BEAUTY and his dream goals for the project (available here). In speaking specifically of what fans and observers of his previous work can expect from the new experience via SLEEPING BEAUTY, Bourne related, "There are a few surprises I have up my sleeve, as well, for that one," while he expressed his deep-set desire for the piece to premiere in New York at City Center if possible, in the very near future - and, now, that dream has become a reality; and how! At the time, Bourne said, "New York is very hard for us to get to. For some reason, we try and we try and occasionally it works, but I'd love to come over more regularly. I'd love to come to City Center a bit more regularly and hopefully that will happen now - I certainly have a great relationship with that venue." Let the love affair endure for many years to come if NUTCRACKER!, SWAN LAKE and SLEEPING BEAUTY are the items on the menu!
Based on Charles Perrault's classic French fairy tale most memorably reworked and retold by the Grimm Brothers and perhaps most famously portrayed in the 1959 Walt Disney animated film of the same name - which itself also features selections from Tchaikovsky's timeless score - Matthew Bourne's SLEEPING BEAUTY is a fresh new take on the material that is also appreciably appropriate for the entire family, making it a surefire hit with patrons new to the world of ballet who nevertheless may be caught up in the reworked fairy tale fever so predominant in much of modern pop culture today, whatever their age - Disney's own new 3D animated feature FROZEN through to HANSEL & GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS and next year's big-screen adaptation of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's INTO THE WOODS and far beyond. After all, never has there been a fairy tale as alluring, enchanting and intoxicating as Perrault's exquisite yarn - no doubt a major contributing factor to why Tchaikovsky himself adapted the material along with frequent collaborator Marius Petipa into a ballet in the first place, back in 1890. An epic battle of good versus evil, magical curses, time travel, heartrending romance - SLEEPING BEAUTY has it all, as well as the classic Tchaikovsky score to go with it!
To add to all that, Matthew Bourne's masterful musical staging and illuminating, idiosyncratic conception of the spectacular ballet only makes it that much more exhilarating to experience live - and that much more of a one of a kind, must-see special event now in its City Center debut.
More information on the New York City premiere of Matthew Bourne's SLEEPING BEAUTY, running now through November 3 at City Center, is available at the official site here.
So, now, let's take a closer look at this superb rendering of Tchaikovsky's SLEEPING BEAUTY and peruse some of Matthew Bourne's copious brilliance in adapting his other ballets over the decades.
First, preview Matthew Bourne's SLEEPING BEAUTY at City Center, running now through November 3.
Next, Matthew Bourne discusses his inspiration for SLEEPING BEAUTY and previews what we can expect from the new ballet.
Following that, SLEEPING BEAUTY stars Hannah Vassallo and Chris Trenfield discuss the rehearsal process for the piece.
For a further behind the scenes glimpse, view this video blog featuring dancers Kerry Biggin and Christopher Marney.
Also, featured SLEEPING BEAUTY player Adam Maskell talks about his time with the ballet in this local TV interview from earlier this month.
Now, enjoy this extended preview of SLEEPING BEAUTY from the recent international tour leading up to the NYC premiere.
Additionally, sample this extensive conversation with Matthew Bourne from earlier this Fall all about SLEEPING BEAUTY, the Tchaikovsky trilogy and much more.
Now, for comparison's sake and as an appetizer for the new Matthew Bourne vision, view this production of SLEEPING BEAUTY presented by famed dancer Rudolf Nureyev at La Scala.
Go back to where it all began with the first of the three ballets making up Matthew Bourne's Tchaikovsky trio, NUTCRACKER!
Plus, witness Matthew Bourne's internationally celebrated interpretation of Tchaikovsky's SWAN LAKE.
Lastly, take a peek at Matthew Bourne's other recent fairy tale-based ballet with his radical reinterpretation of CINDERELLA.
As a special bonus, here is a classic clip from Disney's adored adaptation of SLEEPING BEAUTY.
So, what exactly about Tchaikovsky's SLEEPING BEAUTY makes it such a continually rich and impressively vital source for entertainment and enjoyment more than a hundred and twenty years after its premiere in your most humble estimation? Furthermore, what precisely is it about Matthew Bourne's special kind of theatrical magic that makes it impossible not to fall under his persuasive spell? Without any doubt whatsoever, SLEEPING BEAUTY at City Center is something you definitely don't want to sleep through while you have your first, and perhaps only, chance to catch it live in New York - in its perfected production by its originating star, no less.
But, if there is any doubt whatsoever in your mind that you might miss it, set your alarm clock tonight just to make sure!
Photo Credits: City Center