Pyotr I. Tchaikovsky

The Sleeping Beauty

  • A ballet in two actsI
  • Premiere: 17 October 2013
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Beside Frédéric Chopin and Antonín Dvořák, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840–1893) was a first Slav master to firmly anchor within the Western musical canon. His ballets, which had become classics even before World War I, remained today among the most popular and frequently performed in the world, as they keep thrilling the audiences with their content, clarity, poetry and accomplished artistic expression. The Slovenian audience has been meeting with Tchaikovsky’s ballets ever since 1921, when his Swan Lake was performed in Ljubljana for the first time and then followed by The Nutcracker in 1940 and The Sleeping Beauty in 1964.

In 1890, when Tchaikovsky was already a well established composer, the curtain raised for the first time in St. Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theatre for its premiere of the latest ballet production, named by many 'the event of the century and the event of great artistic importance', as the public’s interest was immense and the performance was discussed about long time before its premiere. This event was quite decisive for spreading of countless important impulses, i.e.: revolution of ballet music, constitution of Russian ballet style and revival of classical ballet that took place in our century. The Sleeping Beauty, which is considered even today the purest work of the classical ballet repertoire, is also important for the historic encounter between the two greatest and most important artists - Tchaikovsky and Petipa. After the initial fiasco of his probably most famous ballet Swan Lake, Tchaikovsky gave up writing ballet music for quite some time, whereas Petipa added to his inclination towards Western ballet tradition, based primarily on French school and its style, the elements of Russian ballet school as well as of the Italian school, as developed during the 19th century and thus created his own style, which immediately earned a reputation of being elegant, aristocratic and brilliant as well as fluent and Russian at the same time. Petipa mostly followed the example of the established classical style ballet performance, for which the music was usually and mainly composed by Cesare Pugni and Ludwig Minkus, he demanded of the composer some significant alterations in the score. The composer patiently followed his instructions and as a result The Sleeping Beauty prevailed for ever as Petipa's strongest and most advanced work, in which the choreographer clung to a long, difficult and persistent search of the fusion between the symphonic synthesis and choreography. We may as well say that it was actually Petipa, who reached the peak of the art of choreographing in the 19th century and thus paved the way for the revival of classical ballet in the 20th century. This ballet's content is closely based on the story La Belle au bois dormant (The Sleeping Beauty) by Charles Perrault, which is famous today for its numerous theatre, film and other adaptations. It is spiced in its ballet version as well with a touch of magic and romance, which Petipa kept in the most incredible details. He added even more fairy figures to amalgamate everything into a virtuoso classical ballet performance with numerous pas de deux, variations and romantic ensemble scenes, the most outstanding among which are the famous Rose Adagio, dramatic Carabosse's appearance and dreamy, lyrical scene of the second act’s Grand pas de deux …

This beautiful ballet fairy tale will be staged by our ensemble's artistic director Irek Mukhamedov, who was a principal dancer at the Bolshoi Ballet (1981–1990), senior principal dancer with the Royal Ballet (1990–1998), and guest principal dancer with the same company from 1998 to 2004. He also performed as a principal dancer with many renowned ballet companies around the world. He danced all the leading mail roles in the classical ballet repertoire and an enviable number of roles in the contemporary dance performances, and established himself as a successful choreographer as well. He has so far choreographed for the Ljubljana Ballet Ensemble the ballet piece of Septet, performed within the ballet evening Visibleinvisible in the 2010/2011 season.

Text: Tatjana Ažman