Awakening a new Beauty with a gift of money

A new production of The Sleeping Beauty will be the centrepiece of the Australian Ballet’s repertoire next year.

Premiering in September 2015, the new Beauty, produced by the Australian Ballet’s artistic director, David McAllister, will be the fourth version of the ballet since the inception of the company.

The Australian Ballet usually announces its next season in August, but this year, for the first time, the company has released the news early, as it’s seeking donors to help fund the ballet.

On 19 April, leaflets announcing the news were left on seats of the Sydney Opera House’s Joan Sutherland Theatre at an Australian Ballet’s performance of Manon.

In the leaflet, McAllister wrote that the ballet would be “traditional in style [but will] reveal a deeper, more meaningful story showcasing the drama of double-cross and twists and turns, of characters we can relate to, and the sense of triumph that resonates when the human spirit prevails”,

The promotional leaflet suggests several levels of donations, from the highest, $20,000+, to the lowest, $100-$499.

The first full length Sleeping Beauty in the Australian Ballet’s repertoire premiered in 1973 when the company made its first appearance at the newly opened Sydney Opera House.

The ballet was directed by Sir Robert Helpmann, produced by Dame Peggy van Praagh, designed by Kenneth Rowell and included new choreography for the Garland Dance by Van Praagh.

In 1984, Maina Gielgud, then the Australian Ballet’s artistic director, staged a new Beauty. The choreography was credited in the program to “Marius Petipa, reproduced by Monica Parker from the Nicholas Sergeyev notation, with additional choreography by Maina Gielgud”. Hugh Colman was the designer.

This production was later filmed and released on video. It marked the opening of the new Australian Ballet Centre in 1988 and was presented at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, on 26 July 1988.

In 2005, Stanton Welch choreographed a new Sleeping Beauty with designs by Kristian Fredrikson. The premiere was in Melbourne in September that year.

McAllister’s production will premiere exactly 10 years later.

It wouldn’t surprise me if the company takes McAllister’s Beauty to Europe in 2016. That year would mark a milestone – 15 years since he took up the position of artistic director.

2 Comments

  1. Adrian Ryan
    Posted April 29, 2014 at 1:35 am | Permalink

    When the latest AB “Swan Lake” production was first announced, it was to be a shared job between David McAllister and Stephen Baynes, but in the event McAllister’s name disappeared quite early and Baynes received final credit/responsibility. So it is good to see the current artistic director nailing his colours to the mast with such an important contribution to the repertoire as a new “Beauty”. The visual aspects of the production will be in the hands of the vastly talented Gabriela Tylesova whose designs for the company’s “Scheherazade” revival and Lloyd-Webber’s “Love Never Dies” were amongst the most imaginative and sumptuous seen on Australian stages. I will be looking for more info regarding the choreographic blueprint that McAllister will be starting from. I think both Van Praagh and Gielgud used the Royal Ballet Sergeyev production as a ground plan but Welch seemed to move in a more personal direction. Together with Ratmansky attempting a recreation of Diaghilev’s 1921 “Beauty” production next year, it looks like being another joyous awakening for Aurora in 1915.

  2. valerie
    Posted May 4, 2014 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    Adrian, many thanks for this extra information that the designer will be Tylesova.

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Miranda Coney, Lisa Bolte, Kathy Heathcote and Maina Gielgud with the Queen after the Royal Gala Performance of The Sleeping Beauty, 1988, photo © Desmond O'Neill

Miranda Coney, Lisa Bolte, Kathy Heathcote and Maina Gielgud with the Queen after the Royal Gala Performance of The Sleeping Beauty, 1988, photo © Desmond O’Neill

Lucinda Dunn, Lisa Bolte, Lynette Wills, Leanne Stojmenov and Colin Peasley in The Sleeping Beauty, 2005. Photo © Jim McFarlane

Lucinda Dunn, Lisa Bolte, Lynette Wills, Leanne Stojmenov and Colin Peasley in The Sleeping Beauty, 2005. Photo © Jim McFarlane

Princess Aurora and Prince Desire, Kenneth Rowell designs, The Sleeping Beauty, the Australian Ballet, 1973

Princess Aurora and Prince Desire, Kenneth Rowell designs, The Sleeping Beauty, the Australian Ballet, 1973