The magic of this production of The Sleeping Beauty was fulfilled through Yasmine Naghdi’s impossible conquering of gravity. The prodigy confronted the stage en pointe with poise, suggesting that her frame was not susceptible to the same earthly forces us mere mortals endure.
The Sleeping Beauty. Yasmine Naghdi as Princess Aurora and Matthew Ball as Prince Florimund. ©ROH, 2017. Ph. Bill Cooper. (3)
What this age-old narrative lacked in surprise was supplemented by the cast’s exquisite technique and absolute precision. Naghdi’s Aurora demonstrated the capability and flair of a seasoned professional whilst also maintaining the character of a frolicsome teenager on her sweet sixteenth. This decision to bring an air of youth and frivolity to a young and vulnerable female figure allowed the audience to overlook the misogynistic overtones embedded within the narrative, and instead focus on the sparkle and shine of the decadent costumes—much like how fairy lights distract us from the monotony of the mundane.
Matthew Ball presented an intelligent and thoughtful rendition of Prince Floridium, a character reminiscent of the profoundly enchanting young men found in many a childhood fantasy. The care and dedication the Prince shows towards the Sleeping Beauty ignites a sentimental spark, encouraging the audience to flood onto the busy streets of London in search of our own perfect prince. This recount of triumphant love truly does lessen the pain of your most recent failed Tinder date.
The Sleeping Beauty. Yasmine Naghdi as Princess Aurora and Matthew Ball as Prince Florimund. ©ROH, 2017. Photographed by Bill Cooper (3)
The escapism continues as Act III commences. Throughout the final scenes, the Royal Ballet takes the opportunity to showcase the talents found among their ranks. This company doesn’t merely host a top tier of experienced soloists, but also comes with an array of balletic superstars ready to exhibit their expertise. A memorable moment is a duet between Marcelino Sambé and Francesca Hayward. The two Bluebirds lifted the roof of the Royal Opera House, reaching unimaginable heights with ease and leaving the audience in a whirlwind of awe and delight.
Throughout this pageant of perfection, the reality of possible heartache does make an appearance in the evil Carabosse, enacted by the wonderful Kristen McNally. As a caricature of ‘evil’, she brings a comical depiction of corruption that lasts for only one Act, before being swiftly swept away.
The Sleeping Beauty. Artists of The Royal Ballet. ©ROH, 2016. Photographed by Bill Cooper (4)
The Royal Ballet’s The Sleeping Beauty is an unequivocal departure from sensibility. It is quite simply a balletic jubilee of human artistry that will capture your heart and transport you somewhere fantastical.
Edited by Alexia McDonald, Digital Editor