Boston Ballet’s Misa Kuranaga performs breathtaking rendition of ‘Sleeping Beauty’

Boston Ballet principal dancer Misa Kuranaga is Princess Aurora in “The Sleeping Beauty,” running until May 27. She performs with Paulo Arrais. (Image courtesy of Liza Voll.)

The Boston Ballet’s revival of Marius Petipa’s “The Sleeping Beauty” proves to be enchanting.

The production features principal dancer Misa Kuranaga as the Princess Aurora along with Jonathan McPhee directing the music. “Sleeping Beauty” will run until May 27.

“The Sleeping Beauty” begins with the christening of Princess Aurora. All the fairies are invited to bestow gifts on the young princess, except for the Fairy Carabosse. She is outraged and gives a spindle to Aurora, announcing one day the princess will prick her finger on it and die. The Lilac Fairy has yet to present her gift, so she undermines Carabosse’s curse by promising that Aurora will not die, but shall instead fall into a deep sleep for 100 years until awakened by a prince’s kiss. As predicted, Aurora pricks her finger on a spindle on her 16th birthday, but the Lilac Fairy intervenes and puts Aurora and her kingdom under a sleeping spell. A century later, Prince Desiré is hunting in the forest and encounters the Lilac Fairy who leads him to Aurora. He kisses her and breaks the spell. The ballet concludes with a grand wedding celebration attended by numerous fairytale characters.

Boston Ballet principal dancer Misa Kuranaga is Princess Aurora in “The Sleeping Beauty,” running until May 27. She performs with Paulo Arrais. (Image courtesy of Liza Voll.)

Kuranaga is breathtaking to watch. Boston Ballet fans have watch Kuranaga grow as a dancer over the years and “Sleeping Beauty” spotlights her growing maturity. During one scene, she extends one leg into the air while taking a rose from each romantic suitor on cue. You watch her on the edge of your seat, waiting for her to lose her balance, but she never does.

“The Sleeping Beauty” has a rich history in ballet. A collaboration between Petipa and Tchaikovsky, it premiered Jan. 15, 1890 at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia. It was Nicolai Sergeyev, a former regisseur of the Mariinsky and assistant to Petipa, who brought “The Sleeping Beauty” to the West. Sergeyev left Russia in 1918 after the October Revolution, and took with him notebooks containing choreographic notations for about two dozen ballets. He staged Petipa’s production of “The Sleeping Beauty” for the first time in 1921 for Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, and again mounted the ballet in 1939 for Ninette de Valois and the Vic-Wells Ballet, which would ultimately become The Royal Ballet.

In 1977, de Valois revived “The Sleeping Beauty,” commissioning David Walker to design new sets and costumes, which Boston Ballet purchased in 1992. This version premiered at Boston Ballet in 2005, and was subsequently performed in 2009 and 2013.

The costumes make the show magical. They are light and pastel, reminiscent of a faraway place with a hint of fantasy.

The music is the star of the show. Sweeping and grand, adds a layer of romance to the production.

 

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About Sara Brown

Sara Brown is the Sampan health editor.
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