February 12, 2001
'Beauty' is a magical fantasy brought to life
by Deborah Stone
Pacific Northwest Ballet's "The Sleeping Beauty" is a sumptuous ballet, set to Tchaikovsky's infectious and enchanting score.
Newly acquired from The English National Ballet, featuring choreography by Ronald Hynd (after the original choreographer, Marius Petipa), this production is a wonderful showcase for PNB dancers that utilizes elements of acting, mime, storytelling and musical interpretation.
This is the first time the Company has performed "The Sleeping Beauty," although it is considered one of the premier classical ballets.
It is PNB's first full-length story ballet in five years and marks an important milestone for the company's repertory, as it completes the trilogy of classical Tchaikovsky ballets, including "Swan Lake" and "The Nutcracker."
The story follows the familiar lines of its fairy tale origins with a lovely princess, a wicked fairy and her evil curse, a handsome prince to the rescue and a happily-ever-after ending.
PNB's production of "The Sleeping Beauty" features the entire company, as well as 28 Pacific Northwest Ballet School students. Luscious sets and a brilliant palette of ravishing costumes designed by Peter Docherty make this ballet a feast for the senses.
In Saturday's cast, Lisa Apple, as the Princess Aurora, brought her grace and exquisite technique to the famed role, allowing both a girlish enthusiasm and a regal elegance to shine through at the appropriate acts in the ballet.
Her partner, Christophe Maraval, made a handsome Prince Florimund, full of yearning and desire, who got to show off his talents during a solo of dazzling pirouettes.
Olivier Wevers, as Carabosse, the Wicked Fairy, was appropriately evil and menacing, especially in his aerial entrances and exits, and Ariana Lallone made a lovely ethereal Lilac Fairy, dispensing wisdom to all.
This is a production with all the dramatic touches, staged to reflect the grand traditions of the Royal Ballet. It is an evening of magic and fantasy for audiences of all ages.
"The Sleeping Beauty" concluded its two-week run Feb, 11.
For information about upcoming PNB productions, call 206-292-ARTS or visit the company's Web site at www.pnb.org.