Say Goodnight Sleeping Beauty

FTLComm - Saskatoon - Sunday, March 30, 2003


The Royal Winnipeg Ballet's production of "Sleeping Beauty" opened
March 13 last year and last night in Saskatoon she was put to bed for the final time. The company introduces new material each season and revives earlier productions on a regular basis to give their audiences both something new, but also something familiar, with four productions each season on the go.

Every seat was full Saturday night for the last
performance of "Sleeping Beauty" with its familiar
music by Tchaikovsky played by Regina's Symphony
and conducted the Royal Winnipeg's Earl Stafford. The two performances in Regina earlier in the week and a performance in Saskatoon on Friday night was the perfect farewell for this production.

A production with stunning sets, elegant costumes and amazing performances by the company and the principal dancers. This page is decorated with images from the second balcony. Theatrical lighting and an old
automatic digital camera are a bad combination, but
they do illustrate the pageant that brought the audience
to their feet as it ended, as they knew they had been on hand to see something truly magnificent.

We all know the story of the princess who in these three images is presented to the fairies and court, and celebrated as the golden child of the kingdom. Blessed by the fairies and things looking good, the damper is turned on the scene when in comes the evil fairy Carabosse with a murderous spell which the good
lilac fairy alters it into a spell of a hundred years of sleep
after the girl pricks a finger.

The story's magic was backed up with the magic of the Regina Symphony and wall to wall tutus For those of us in the audience who have seen little ballet, the dancets who can spin on the tips of their toes and the elegant formal gestures that tell the story, shatter the trivial pabulum of television. Live dynamic performance that suspends the moment and transports the spirit beyond the building into the myths of the mind.

The next scene is at the Princess's sixteenth birthday with four suitors to woe her and time for the delivery of the nasty spell.

Evelyn Hart is forty-seven, in a profession that rarely sees performers on the stage past their mid thirties, but maturity brings with it, skills that have to be seen to be believed. People who have see her perform for many years considered the performance Saturday night her best ever . So remarkable that at times I had to remind
myself to breath as she defied gravity, overcame most
laws of physics and suspended motion like a computer produced special effect in a modern movie. Her performance was truly deserving of the word "awesome" and then some

So when the bad fairy showed up I was definitely disturbed. The suitors engaged in defense of the princess and one was even downed with friendly fire. When pricked and motionless on the stage I wanted someone to call 911 or get the St. John's ambulance
guy, because Evelyn Hart, the magical Aurora of the scene
had won everyone's heart.

After intermission and time to share the excitement of the scene we had just witness, it was time for time to pass, a full hundred years, definitely a prolonged nap and an illusional scene where Prince Desire makes his appearance, you remember this guy, the one with the wake up kiss.
From the forest to the magical kingdom overgrown with a hundred years of trees, the princess and her court await the wake up call and the final appearance of the just plain nasty, Carabosse, with her retinue of gargoyles she is dispatched and its time to get on with the happy-ever-aftering.

The last portion of the performance is a party at the palace and its supper floor show.

A series of dance numbers that range from exquisite precision to the comedic acts of the Puss -In -Boots and wolf and triumphant girl with a red cloak. Each part of this show within a show, demonstrated the Royal Winnipeg Ballet's absolutely remarkable range of talent and showmanship.

Performance after performance splashed excitement on the audience and brought them to laughter and applause time after time.

But the marvels of this part of the show were still overshadowed by the master of the night, Evelyn Hart who spun, floated, froze and was definitely swept off her feet by the powerful performance by Cuban Jesus Corrales, who effortlessly and almost imperceptibly raised the diminutive Hart and sweeps her across the stage.

Their performance together was a masterpiece among a series of splendid performances. The magic of motion pictures and special effects pale by comparison to the real live performances that the Royal Winnipeg presented to the people of Saskatchewan this past week.

But it is time to move on. This week the company begins rehearsal of their final review production that will go on stage in Winnipeg in May. Then its off to the
Orient for a month long tour of cities in China including
Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai.

In the far East the company will be putting Dracula on the stage in its unique and original production cooked up last year. The Royal Winnipeg's production of Dracula is critically acclaimed and breaks new ground with its use of this formal and tradition form of dance.

With the show in a show over and the Princess and Prince ready to ride off into never never land for a few
years, the show was over and it was times to slip
backstage and share the wonder of the evening's performance with Saskatchewan performer Carrie Broda. Carrie and her partner Darren Anderson performed the comedic crowd pleasing Puss in Boots routine that brought laughter and awe to everyone as their precisely timed antics marked one of the highlights of the show.

As we were catching these pictures of Carrie, her father was instructed to move back (bottom picture) from the stage area as the set was coming down.

The magnificent sets are the designs of Michael Eagan and are each dropped from the ceiling to create the on stage magic. The whole collection and the lights would all be removed and packed up before we headed for home.

The Royal Winnipeg has its own roadies to assemble the set and look after the wardrobe and props. With such a huge cast of performers, there needs to be almost an equal number of support people working in the back ground to make a production like this one, come to life and then there is the band, which is almost as many people again.

Each performance is video taped and here at the stage manager's work station we can see the monitors that give him a look from the audience's perspective.

The sets, the screens, the lights, are only part of the material that is all apart of the show. The Royal Winnipeg even brings along its own floor. The actual stage floor used in the performance is assembled and moved from venue to venue so that the performers have confidence in the most important component in a dancer's world, the floor beneath them.

It was a splendid night for us and I can't wait for the next time I get a chance to be in the audience to see the Royal Winnipeg in action.

Timothy W. Shire



Return to Ensign - Return to Saskatchewan News

This page is a story posted on Ensign and/or Saskatchewan News, both of which are daily web sites offering a variety of material from scenic images, political commentary, information and news. These publications are the work of Faster Than Light Communications . If you would like to comment on this story or you wish to contact the editor of these sites please send us email.

Editor : Timothy W. Shire
Faster Than Light Communication
Box 1776, Tisdale, Saskatchewan, Canada, S0E 1T0
306 873 2004