Gillian Murphy in Sleeping Beauty
Photo: Rosalie O'Connor
American Ballet Theater returned to Los Angeles over the past weekend with their mummified production of Sleeping Beauty
. Considering how much I disliked this production the last time it was out this way in 2007
, I’m not sure what I was thinking about when I ponied up for a second viewing. Actually, I take that back. I know exactly what it was – principal dance Marcelo Gomes. Like men throughout history, though, I sat through the opening performance on Thursday again being taught the difference between the thought process above the waist versus its alternative. Not to say that Gomes was a disappointment. He wasn’t at all making a supremely graceful Prince Désiré. His hawtness goes without saying, of course, and as my companion for the evening said, I could watch him dance all day long.
And he wasn’t the only one worth seeing. Michele Wiles, who portrayed the Lilac Fairy was quite good. Gillian Murphy played the Princess Aurora and she brings a decided athleticism to the show. But for all her bracing stage presence, she often looked to be working a little harder than one might like. She was fun to watch, but definitely not lighter than air at several points. Of course, the dilapidated fairy tale production just looks sad. The pyrotechnics around the entrance and exit of Carabosse elicited some oohs and aahs, but that was about as heated as things got. There was a live orchestra conducted by Charles Barker, and it is undoubtedly true that live is always superior to prerecorded music. Still this was about as limp sounding as a Tchaikovsky score gets, which did nothing for the dreary antiquated staging. ABT certainly has the resources and talent to put on a big and thrilling spectacle. Why they continue to trot this out, however, remains a mystery to me.
Labels: ABT, Dance