Review: Sleeping Beauty, Vienna Festival Ballet

This was remarkably good for such a small company and very enjoyable. I have seen Vienna Festival Ballet many times over the years and have never been disappointed. Their standard of dancing is high, probably because they keep to a small repertoire of classic ballets. I don’t know how many times they have already performed Sleeping Beauty but their schedule shows 49 more performances in this tour alone!

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Photograph courtesy Gill Mallek, Vienna Festival Ballet

As can be seen above, the sets consist of little more than painted backdrops which work well to show off the dancers. It is difficult to single out particular performances as they all work so hard, but Michaela Griffin as Princess Aurora, Miguel Piquer as Prince Desire and Emily-Joy Smith as the Lilac Fairy were excellent (not necessarily the dancers featured in these publicity shots).

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Photographs courtesy Gill Malleck, Vienna Festival Ballet

As the photographs above show, the simple sets are made up for by superb costumes which change frequently, as most dancers take on multiple parts. As with all aspects, they are strictly traditional “tights, tutus and tiaras” but the size of the theatres they perform in ensures the opportunity to enjoy them in detail. Marius Pepita’s original 1890 choreography is enhanced with small touches by Emily Hutton (I don’t remember Carabosse pulling off Catalabutte’s wig before but it added a nice touch). The only, minor problem was that the playing of the recorded score was occasionally a little clumsy – DJing is an art too!

Overall, this was much less ambitious that the Moscow City Ballet last week but I must admit I enjoyed it far more.

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