Sleeping Beauty [1987]

Director: Clyde Geronimi
Stars: Mary Costa, Bill Shirley, Eleanor Audley, Verna Felton, Barbara Luddy
Genre: Family, Fantasy, Musical
Rating: G (General Audience)
Runtime: 75 minutes

This ballet may be Tchaikovsky's grandest achievement, The Nutcracker's eternal popularity notwithstanding. And when in the hands (and feet!) of the Royal Ballet, whose superlative 1994 production has been taped for posterity, the composer's singular genius for dance becomes palpable to even the most casual viewers. With choreography by Marius Petipa (who updates Kenneth Macmillan's and Anthony Dowell's work from earlier stagings) and with Dowell's lovely production, the Royal Ballet demonstrates yet again its preeminence in the world of ballet. Viviana Durante dances the princess with otherworldly grace and fluidity, and her partner Zoltan Solymosi's prince is impossibly agile and equally graceful. Dowell even contributes wonderful comic relief as the evil fairy. Barry Wordsworth and the Royal Orchestra do Tchaikovsky's beautiful score, and the remarkable dancers, justice. A ballet company at its considerable performing peak has been preserved for all. --Kevin Filipski

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