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.

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