Sleeping Beauty review: Faultless and exquisite performances

Sleeping Beauty at Cork Opera House: 4/5

Cork City Ballet’s 25th anniversary presentation, which opened on Thursday night at Cork Opera House, is a glittering production. It upholds that hardworking company’s unfaltering standards.

The guest stars, Ekaterina Bortyakova and Alzhol Mussakhanov, brought the glamour of the Moscow State Ballet, that home of classical dance, and they were supported by a remarkably fine corps de ballet, drawn from both Irish and international backgrounds.

The Sleeping Beauty in its entirety is long — a good three hours in its original form — but Yury Demakov’s skilful choreography and Alan Foley’s keen direction reduced it to two hours, with just one interval; a blessing for those escorting eager children to their first ballet.

Nothing important was omitted, however: We had the full fairytale story, from start to finish, complete with wicked fairy Carabosse, the Bluebirds, Red Riding Hood, the White Cat, and the rest.

The performances of Bortyakova and Mussakhanov were, as one would expect, faultless and exquisite, especially in the finale. Asami Takai was superb as the Lilac Fairy, showing her own rigorous training at the Moscow Ballet Academy, while the corps de ballet were perfect in interpretation and smooth movement. It has become something of a cliché to say that the costumes were wonderful, but they really were: Sparkling tutus, floaty peasant dresses, and rich court robes were a pleasure to the eye. Ballet costume has to be tough as well as beautiful, as it is tested to the utmost with every show.

This was a delightful performance: the only, tiny niggle would be the high frequency of pauses for bows and applause, especially in the last act, which tended to break up the continuity. Overall, though, an excellent production.

  • ‘The Sleeping Beauty’, Cork Opera House, until Saturday, November 11.

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