Sleeping Beauty, with Choe and Hirano, and Lamb and McRae, Royal Ballet, Covent Garden, 13 March 2014Posted on 14 March 2014
What a huge pleasure to see Yuhui Choe and Ryoichi Hirano in the main roles at the matinee. Her dancing, so full of joy, was absolutely on the music, and a better Rose Adagio one could hardly hope for. With Hirano’s noble and dashing Prince their partnership gave a beautiful expression of the story, helped by a superb portrayal of the King and Queen by Gary Avis and Elizabeth McGorian. Avis’s mime in Act I is so eloquent when he tells his daughter she is now beautiful, ready to choose a prince and surely spoiled for choice with the four suitors invited to her coming-out party.
In the evening performance Sarah Lamb showed a gentle grace and elegance, if somewhat aloof from the suitors in the Act I party scene, and the partnership with Steven McRae in Acts II and III was superb. His Act II solo was beautifully expressive, and the two of them gave a bravura performance in Act III. McRae’s jumps and quick-silver turns expressed huge joie de vivre, and after the trumpets have announced the Prince’s solo, he danced like a man possessed.
Kenta Kura and Hikaru Kobayashi were excellent Bluebirds in both performances, she dancing with her fine precision, he with wonderfully fluid movements. And in the pas-de-trois for Florestan and his sisters, both Tristan Dyer (matinee) and James Hay (evening) were a joy to watch, with Akane Takada particularly musical in the afternoon performance.
Among other supporting roles in the evening, Kristen McNally made an assertively sinister Carabosse, Laura McCulloch a fine Lilac Fairy, and in the Act I Fairy Variations, Claudia Dean (matinee) was particularly good in the second one, and Olivia Cowley (evening) very graceful in the first.
Valery Ovsyanikov conducted a fully responsive orchestra, with a lovely cello solo in Act II and glorious sounds from the brass in Act III.
Performances with various casts continue until April 9 — for details click here.