Sleeping Beauty Review

22nd October 2012

We thought you might find it interesting to read a few reviews about our ballet production that is currently touring in UK.

Sleeping Beauty Ballet At Theatre Severn – Review

This weekend saw the Amande Concerts brought the Russian State Ballet to Theatre Severn in Shrewsbury to give two wonderful performances of two different ballets.

Friday night saw a busy theatre wowed by Swan Lake and Saturday saw Sleeping Beauty lighting up the stage; both productions were accompanied by Pyotr I. Tchaikovsky’s music, which added a depth to both performances.

I went along to Sleeping Beauty on the Saturday night, which was very much a family orientated production with the fairy tale element, and some added glitz from the beautiful colourful costumes.

From the start the audience were enthralled by the dramatic music combined with the elegance of the dancers. The production had a good pace with the principle dancers keeping the attention of the audience through with their exquisite dancing. The group dances were perfectly timed, with strong routines that helped move the story along without racing through the story.

The dances received much-deserved rounds of applause, while the wicked witch played by a male dancer received boo’s when taking to the stage for the applause.

Its no suprise audiences were delighted as the world famous Russian State Ballet and Opera Theatre of Komi are renounced for their ballet and opera masterpieces. The Russian State Ballet and Opera House® have ensured that this classic ballet remains just as spell bounding today as it was when it was composed over 130 years ago.

Overall, I thought this was a magical night of entertainment at Theatre Seven.

Reviewed by Julia Wenlock at Theatre Severn.
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When a Pirouette becomes a Russian Revolution

Russian State Ballet and Opera House of Komi

What a coup for Theatre Severn to host the Russian State Ballet for two days to present two different shows. Friday night we saw Swan Lake flutter its dainties on the boards of the main theatre. Sadly I couldn’t be there as I was misspending my time watching The London Philharmonic Skiffle Orchestra in the Walker Theatre, from this critic – enough said. Fortunately tonight I caught the breathtakingly beautiful production of the Sleeping Beauty.

Sleeping beauty is one of those stories you think you know as well as the others, the ones like Cinderella and Snow White; in truth I found I didn’t know the story at all well. However with the wonderful dancers of the Russian State Ballet and the classic score from Tchaikovsky, it didn’t matter. The show told the story. Now of course every show should do that but it took a stage full of highly disciplined and wonderfully trained Russian dancers to tell the story without a single word being spoken. Just with gesture, movement and expression the dancers transfixed their audience and took them on a journey through the dark side of European folklore. However, worry not, the story is merely an allegory for that favourite message, Good should and always will triumph over Evil.

For a touring theatre company the sheer scale of their operation is awe inspiring. The need to transport not only the lavish backdrops but costumes, ballet shoes, a whole host of staff from dancers, understudies, choreographers, dressers, wardrobe personnel, tour managers, producers, the list is endless and it boils down to a hundred minutes or so of actual show time. But thank goodness they overcome such difficulties to bring their show to the UK and treat us to some top drawer performances.

In these fairy stories presentation or design is essential. Aesthetics go a long way to creating the mes-en-scene. Of all the designers my Golden Globe would go to the costume creators. Favouring such soft pastel colours for the tutus superbly illuminated the beauty and delicate feminine poise of the girls. There was something awe inspiringly stunning about this cast and I think a lot of that came from wardrobe.

One aspect of performance that one isn’t always aware of is how much the dance steps have been chopped or changed to deal with the variety of stage sizes. The speed of some of their turns as they traversed the stage from upstage left to downstage right without either hitting their colleagues or waltzing through the scenery is really impressive. You would have thought they had rehearsed for weeks in that very space. Amazingly they only got in yesterday morning. So intense for the dancers, but the integrity of the show and the performance stays intact.

It has got to be so difficult to perform such classic, famous steps, named and known and get them constantly right. I believe they did and I also believe if they hadn’t, a large number of the more discerning ballet attendees would be right on it, ripping them apart for the simplest of errors. These dancers carry a huge weight of responsibility on their shoulders. They say to the audience, “This is what we do; it might be a famous dance, famous score and might have been danced by the greats. But we are great too, check us out.”  I applaud them. It is also worth pointing out no huge errors were made in their interpretation and it was a visual delight.  One wonders, however, if the floor was a little slippery for them as three slipped steps could be counted. Very brief slips and something all of these dancers would be way above being normally culpable for. It must have been the floor. However no blood was spilt and only I noticed as it’s what I do.

From spasmodic jerking and gesticulating at the staff disco to these classic pieces and all the panoply of options between the two; dance is a funny creature. It’s something we all feel we should have a go at. Some are good – some not so. But one thing all the mediums of dance have in common is the desire to use the body to get a message across. Dance seems an all encompassing house. Always allowing new genres or crazes whilst maintaining the old classics, dance is an explosion of colour and meaning and joy, that somehow, in covert or overt ways, sucks us in to its world. See these guys for proof of that.

Theatre Severn’s next Russian treat will be in February of next year. Coming from the Grand Opera House of Belarus, they will be bringing Puccini’s, Madame Butterfly and a thirty piece orchestra. To hear the music played live will be a fantastic experience. Book early.

This is a four star review.

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Swan Lake – behind the scene

14th October 2012

It has been a week since the tour started. And it has been a great, extremely busy, stressful at times and rewarding week. With each production you tour with, you need to know and do different things. So you are adjusting and getting used to the dancers, technicians, being on the road and working on the go 24/7 during the first week.

Russian State Ballet and Opera Theatre of Komi have proven to the British audience that they can be just as graceful and beautiful on stage as any other top ballet companies. In the past week they have performed Swan Lake Ballet and am sure champagne and flowers will be received. 😉

Images from the rehearsals

Monday is usually a day off for people on tour. Not for people who are left in the office. On days off, the cast enjoy much rewarded sleep in and a walk around the town they are stopping at. Last Monday the dancers enjoyed the wonderful Nottingham city centre. What I personally like about Nottingham is that everything is near by. You can walk to most places. The cast will visit a few big cities like Manchester, Liverpool and of course London. London is always the favourite. Perhaps because its the city that always circulates in Russian text books while learning English.

As this is the first behind the scene post, we would love to know what in particular you are interested to know. Perhaps, the time of rehearing or a few videos taking with soloist dancers?

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What Sleeping Beauty is about

03rd October 2012

Hello and welcome back,

I hope you have enjoyed the last post about the story of Swan Lake. Sleeping Beauty is another wonderful ballet, however, it”s not as popular. I think people who have seen it appreciate the dance and the story behind it.

Sleeping Beauty which literally translates as “Beauty sleeping in the woods” was first performed in 1890. The music was written by Pyotr Tchaikovsky. The original choreographer was the brilliant Marius Petipa. The premiere of the fine ballet was performed in Mariinsky Theate in St. Petersburg. You will be surprised to know that Sleeping Beauty received a lot more applauds than Swan Lake. If you read our post about Swan Lake story  you would already know that Swan Lake was not well received at its premiere.  Sadly, Tchaikovsky passed away in 1893 as Sleeping Beauty became an instant success outside of Russia.

The story of Sleeping Beauty in my words.

The ballet opens us with the christening of Princess Aurora. When the party is in full swing the six fairies arrive to present their gifts for their goddaughter, the princess. The first five fairies give her gifts of honesty, beauty, prosperity, song and generosity. Suddenly the evil fairy Carabosse turns up without the invitation.

Of course the evil witch is angry that she has not been invited. As she is a horrible fairy (no wonder the King and the Queen didn”t invite her) her gift to princess Aurora is a curse. She will become the most beautiful princess in the world, but, having reached the age of sixteen, she will die from pricking her finger on a knitting needle. Fortunately, one of the fairies soften the spell – “Yes, you will fall asleep, sweet Aurora, but not forever. You”ll sleep a hundred years and you will be awakened by the kiss from Prince Charming.”

Sixteen years pass on and Princess Aurora is a beautiful young lady. There is a celebration in the castle to mark Aurora which opens up with a waltz. As always everyone is having a great time, dancing and celebrating.

An old woman gives Aurora a bouquet of roses, she accepts it and brings it with her in the dance.Generelt om Maria CasinoMaria casino pa nett er et friskt nettcasino som tilbyr sine kunder ekte casinounderholdning i toppklassen, og her finner vi spill fra flere sentrale aktorer. Suddenly her spinning stops. She looks at her hand, horrified to see blood. There was a needle hidden in the flowers!  The old woman drops her cloak and reveals herself as the evil Fairy Carabosse.

The Lilac Fairy (who soften the spell) tries to calm down the King and the Queen. She explains-  “In exactly a hundred years a handsome, loving prince will awaken her with his kiss.”  The Sleeping Princess, accompanied by the royal couple and court entourage, moves into the palace.

After one hundred years pass there is a Prince hunting animals in a nearby forest. Members of his court are looking out for the most beautiful girls in the country for their master, Prince Desire. So you probably guessed that the Fairy appears and tells the Prince of the beautiful Princess Aurora. The Prince is intrigued and immediately falls in love. After Prince finds Aurora, he rushes to the sleeping beauty and kisses her. Aurora wakes up, and with her the entire castle becomes alive. The Prince asks the Kind and the Queen of the Princess”s hand.

The magnificent wedding of Princess Aurora and Prince Désiré takes place.The kingdom is gathered in celebration. Amongst the many guest are all our beloved fairy tale characters; Princess Florine and the Bluebird, Puss in Boots and White Cat, Little Red Riding Hood and the wolf, Cinderella and Prince Charming, and Cannibal.

Aurora and Désiré are given gifts of diamonds, sapphires, gold and silver from the fairies. And of course, the Lilac Fairy is there as a symbol of the triumphant force of good.

THE END.

What a lovely story.  While I was writing this post I started to feel romantic and happy. If you have never seen Sleeping Beauty ballet you can come to any of our shows and I promise you, you will have a fantastic evening.

Click here to check dates and venues. Sleeping Beauty dates and venues.

We hope to see you at one of our shows this Autumn.

What Swan Lake is about

21st September 2012

Hello all,

I thought it would be useful to write a post about the story of Swan Lake just in time for the weekend reading.  I am not afraid to say that Swan Lake is one of the most popular ballet of all times. Most people familiar with the story of the beautiful lady who turns into Swan by an evil curse. Not many people know that the ballet actually has two endings. The ‘happy’ ending and the ‘sad’ ending. I will tell you the story of ‘happy’ ending.

The legendary composer Tchaikovsky wrote the music for Swan Lake from 1875-1876. Most of the original work about the Swan Lake story has not survived so we can only assume that the story came from the Russian folktale.

The very first production of Swan Lake was performed on 4 March 1877. Unfortunately, the premie was not well received. Despite the  criticism the ballet continued to be performed .  A few years later Petipa decided to modify the choreography of Swan Lake and since then many other choreographers infused their own thoughts into the ballet. Slowly, Swan Lake became the world’s favourite ballet.

I won’t repeat myself in writing the Swan Lake synopsis in detail as it is already written on our website under the ‘Swan Lake performance’. I cannot help but mention the wonderful love story that Swan Lake has brought into our lives.

The Story in my words….

The ballet starts with Prince Siegfried’s birthday in his castle. As in most parties the guests are having a lovely time dancing. Siegfried’s mother reminds the Prince that there will be a ball tomorrow where he must choose the bride for himself. Of course, the young Prince is not happy about it as he is not in love and doesn’t even have a girlfriend. To take his mind of things he goes hunting. In the forest he notices swans flying in the skies. Prince Siegfried follows them to the lake. At the lake Prince sees the beautiful white swans swimming near the shore of the lake. The swans are cursed by an evil spell and only power of selfless love can break this evil spell.

Prince Siegfried notices the beautiful Swan (Odette) and is dazzled by her beauty. Later, she reviles to him that only everlasting love can break her spell. Siegfried promises to love Odette forever.

The next day the ball takes place in the queen’s castle. Prince is nowhere to be seen. When he eventually arrives he is presented with  the young girls from who he is to make a choice to be his bride. He dances with them only to satisfy his mother but his thoughts are all about Odette.

Suddenly an unknown knight arrives (disguised as the evil curse) and his beautiful daughter Odile. The Prince is confused as Odilie looks very much like Odette. Siegfried is fascinated by Odile and his doubts disappear. The father of Odile (evil curse) requests the Prince to prove the love for his daughter by swearing to love her eternally. As soon as he does that he sees a white swan in the window.

*Editor note- Odette has told the Prince when they met  that she can only become a human again if a man falls in love with her and chooses to be with her forever. The Prince to me is quite foolish not to question this when he sees Odilie.   

Siegfried realises that he became a victim of the evil curse. In despair, he rushes to the lake to see Odette.

The Prince appears at the lake and begs Odette’s forgiveness. He assures her of his strong and lasting feelings for her.

Suddenly Rothbart appears in a fury and recognises that the two of them realised what is going on. Siegfried invited Rothbart to fight him and he wins. The evil spell is broken straightaway and all the swans are changed into young girls.

LOVE wins over EVIL.

Stay with us and next week you can enjoy reading the story of Sleeping Beauty.

Premiere of Russian State Ballet in UK

11th September 2012

It’s now less then a month until our beautiful Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty tour kicks off in UK. I thought it would interesting to post some information about theatre that will be performing for thousands of people this Autumn.

The Russian State Ballet and Opera Theatre of Komi came to life in 1958, with the premiere of Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin” staged by Professor Leningad and composed by Alexander Kireev. The theatre is located in the Russian town of Syktyvkar which is the capital of a republic Komi just to the north of Moscow. Syktyvkar is perceived as an international centre for events in the cultural field. The theatre has developed into an arena for professionals performing a variety of cultural genres such as ballet, symphony orchestra, soloists and chorus. Consequently, the theatre boasts a mix of exciting production and staging. The repertory theatre delivers more than fifty performances a year from all genres of musical theatre: opera, ballet, operetta, musicals and children’s fairy tale.


Picture Source

The State Opera and Ballet Theatre of Komi Republic participate in cultural exchange, discovering the formation of aesthetic and cultural preferences of foreign audiences. Partnerships have been established with major European companies. As a result the theatre tours Western Europe: Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Spain, Portugal and Turkey. It also regularly tours Russia and Finland. The theatre regularly participates in various prestigious international projects.

Picture source 

We hope to see you at one of our many venues this Autumn.