One hundred years: That’s a long time to wait for love. The sweeping tale of The Sleeping Beauty is one of good conquering evil, and pure love overcoming jealousy. Upon her birth, Princess Aurora received a death curse from the evil fairy Carabosse, who was not invited to the festivities. The Lilac Fairy minimized the curse, but Aurora still fell into a deep sleep by a pinprick on her 16th birthday. After 100 years, she’s awakened by a kiss from Prince Desire, after he defeats the evil fairy. Talk about your perfect Valentine’s Day story.
The ballet, adapted from the Brothers Grimm’s take on Perrault’s fairy tale, was originally scored by Tchaikovsky—whose résumé also includes Swan Lake and The Nutcracker—and premiered in St. Petersburg in 1890. Over the past century, numerous ballet companies have tweaked Sleeping Beauty to suit their needs. Now, Ballet West Artistic Director Adam Sklute has creatively crafted the classic work for Ballet West.
Sklute has abridged Tchaikovsky’s original score from nearly four hours to 2 1/2, including a 20-minute intermission. Sklute’s also changed the characters’ names: The Lilac Fairy becomes “The Fairy of Wisdom” and Carabosse becomes “The Fairy of Jealousy,” while the suitors are named after the cardinal directions, like “Prince of the North.” Peter Cazalet has designed spectacular costumes, as well as a beautiful set. However, Sklute has retained the production’s original, emotionally moving experience.