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Michal Oginsky
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A BEAUTIFUL TALE WITH A DEEP SENSE IN THE SLEEPING BEAUTY BALLET

The tale of the French writer Charles Pierrot “Sleeping Beauty”, as it turned out, hides many secrets. At least, the creators of the ballet of the same name – composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky, choreographer Marius Petipa and director of the imperial theaters Ivan Vsevolozhsky, who became the author of libretto and costumes – filled the work with hidden meaning, elusive for a superficial look.

One thing is certain with confidence: the ballet Sleeping Beauty is far from a naive tale for children.

Political motives
The director of the imperial theaters, Prince Ivan Aleksandrovich Vsevolozhsky, gave the idea to put Sleeping Beauty. Former attaché at the Russian embassy in Paris, he adored everything French and actively supported the course of Tsar Alexander III towards the rapprochement of the two countries.

What could flatter France, the birthplace of ballet, if not a magnificent ballet extravaganza ?! The director wrote the libretto himself, taking the French tale as a basis. The fabulous ballet king received the name Florestan XIV in honor of the great king Louis XIV, the founder of the ballet genre. The choreographer of the new production was the chief choreographer of the St. Petersburg Bolshoi (Stone) Theater, also a Frenchman, Marius Petipa.

Work on Sleeping Beauty
Having written the libretto for the ballet, Vsevolozhsky also decided to draw costumes with his own hands, since the director was a good amateur artist. The music was ordered by Pyotr Tchaikovsky. Vsevolozhsky and Petipa did not dare to entrust the responsible bandmasters with such responsible work. Ballet Sleeping Beauty

Pyotr Ilyich was not enthusiastic about the proposal. The composer has already been thirteen years old, from the very time that his Swan Lake almost fell through the stage of the Bolshoi Theater, and did not undertake ballet music. Now, Tchaikovsky decided to trust Petipa’s vast experience and follow the most accurate plan for the future ballet.

The choreographer provided for everything: the order of numbers, the number of performers, the nature of the music. He demanded from the composer a certain number of measures, paces and sizes necessary for his dances. Tchaikovsky did not mind. On the contrary, such creative fetters even helped him in his work. In addition, he was already fascinated by the story of the fairy-tale princess, for whose fate the higher forces of good and evil fought. The composer was always worried about eternal themes.

“Not danceable” ballet music
The dramaturgy of Tchaikovsky’s ballet score was not much different from the dramaturgy of his symphonies. Pyotr Ilyich wrote a philosophical and romantic story about the struggle for fate and happiness. For the first time, St. Petersburg dancers came across music of such a high artistic level and many claimed that it was too complicated and not danceable. Bait Sleeping Beauty But Petipa, 72, was inspired by inspiration. The French princess seemed to give him a second youth. Marius’ imagination was also inspired by the 23-year-old Italian virtuoso ballerina – Carlotta Brianza, who was recently taken into the troupe.

Twice older than Princess Aurora was her prince Desiree, Paul Gerd. During the premiere, he turned 46 years old, but in the grace of manners, the ability to support a lady and effectively wear magnificent costumes – he had no equal. Variations Pavel Gerd did not dance, but it was not important. “Ballet is the kingdom of women,” said Petipa.

Failure or success?
January 3, 1890, the day of the premiere, nothing promised the ballet Sleeping Beauty a long life. The balletomanes frowned at the “abstruse melancholy”, and Tsar Alexander III, gritting his teeth, “Very nice,” he quickly left the theater. Cramolnaya thought that even the reigning persons are powerless before fate. As it turned out, the ballet became prophetic. A few years later, Alexander III died suddenly, and instead the last of the Russian tsars ascended the throne.

It soon became clear that Sleeping Beauty was born under a happy star. The first disappointments gave way to enthusiasm and there were no tickets to get to the Mariinsky Box. They went to watch the new ballet many times, opening up new facets both in dance and in music.

The plot of “Sleeping Beauty”
Fairies of goodness came to congratulate Princess Aurora from the beginning of her life: Candide, Fleur-de-Farin, Carefree, Baby, ballet Sleeping Beauty Violanta and Playfulness. They give the baby the best that is in the world – human qualities and talents. Directs the forces of the good fairy Lilac. She also teaches her goddaughter regal manners. The first fairy of the Lilac was Petipa’s daughter, the beautiful Mary. In classical dance, she did not shine, so the father reduced it to a minimum, inviting his daughter to walk majestically on the stage.

The seventh fairy, the ugly Carabos, was forgotten to invite. She invades like a hurricane and predicts the princess death from a spindle prick.

The appearance of an adult princess, the audience has to wait, and Petipa and Tchaikovsky took care of the intensity of interest and prepare her exit. Adagio with four gentlemen, pretenders to her hand and heart, Aurora is dancing, not yet knowing what Amur’s arrows are, her feelings are still sleeping. Aurora is destined to fall into a long sleep in order to wake up in a hundred years. Only love will revive it for a new life, because without love there is no life.

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