August 7, 2013 5:50 pm

The Sleeping Beauty, Royal Opera House, London – review

Ekaterina Krysanova and Artem Ovcharenko sparkle in the Bolshoi’s opulent rendering of Petipa’s ballet

The Sleeping Beauty, which the Bolshoi Ballet plays until Friday, is given in the staging made by Yury Grigorovich to mark the opening of the re-built Bolshoi Theatre in 2011. I reported on it with pleasure at the time: despite a couple of brisk cuts in the prologue, it is an honourable version, in an opulently baroque permanent setting by Ezio Frigerio and no-less opulent costuming by Franca Squarciapino, all of which look spiffing on the Covent Garden stage.

So far, so admirable, and even more admirable in the appearances of Ekaterina Krysanova as Aurora and Artem Ovcharenko as her Prince. Krysanova’s Gamsatti, in last week’s Bayadère, only hinted at the artist whom we saw on Monday night. Here was Aurora as coloratura ballerina, difficulties set out with a delicious ease, the fiorituri of steps pearling out in long chains of movement that sparkled, having brightest charm. It is a stylish reading, in that Krysanova’s technique embellishes the usual with unusual brilliancy, and the rigours of classicism (I recall the sublimities of Zhana Ayupova, the blazing elegance of Ludmila Semenyaka, as Aurora) find prettiest airs with Krysanova. She is mistress of the role on terms that would surely have made Petipa smile in approval: a reading bright-cut, with delicious pirouettes, delicately shaded in the Vision scene.

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Artem Ovcharenko’s Désiré begins as he means to go on. He enters in the second act with soaring leaps, a handsome young man of tall and elegant physique, cleaving the air in long phrases of dance, movement light and academically vivid, the role worn with grace. Cast as a prince, his manner is princely, and no less so his technique: double turns in the air with sweetest symmetry, steps given clarity, worth. He is, I note, a pupil of the great Nikolay Fadeyechev, our first Muscovite prince in the west, whom I revere. Ovcharenko is his worthy heir.

The company performance is grand: I salute Alexey Loparevich’s vilely splendid Carabosse and Vitaly Biktimirov’s fusspot Catalabutte, and also the orchestra’s fine cello soloist for the Vision scene duet. A grand evening.


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