‘Sleeping Beauty’ is a tale of tragedy & triumph

By Logan A. White
Times-News correspondent 


Carolina Ballet performs "Sleeping Beauty" May 19-20, 2018 at the Raleigh Memorial Auditorium. [20/20 Photo & Video Studio

   RALEIGH — Journey to a cursed kingdom and watch the spell lift through a soaring score and daring displays of dance. Carolina Ballet’s “Sleeping Beauty” at Raleigh Memorial Auditorium, 2 E. South St., Raleigh, is a fitting finish to a stellar season.
One of classical ballet’s most beloved creations, “Sleeping Beauty,” tells a tale of tradition, tragedy and triumph in a beautiful, breathtaking performance. The ballet begins at the christening of the royal baby, Princess Aurora. As the Lilac Fairy (Randi Osetek) and her fellow fairies bestow the princess their blessings, the palace is shaken by a dark force.
The fairy Carabosse (Lindsay Purrington) arrives with her Raven (Yevgeny Shlapko), furious that the king neglected to invite her to the christening. In revenge, she curses the princess, declaring that, when she comes of age, she will prick her finger and die. Comforting the royal parents, The Lilac Fairy softens the curse, reassuring them that Aurora will merely slumber until a prince awakens her. The kingdom lives in peace until Aurora’s (Margaret Severin-Hansen) 16th birthday celebration.
Carabosse returns, tricking the princess into pricking herself on a spindle. Aurora faints into a deep sleep, and the rest of the kingdom falls under a spellbound slumber. Decades later, Prince Desire (Richard Krusch) is approached by the Lilac Fairy, who tells him of Aurora’s plight and shows him a vision of the princess. The prince is smitten, and sets upon a journey to break the curse, defeat Carabosse and awaken the kingdom — and his bride — with a kiss.
Margaret Severin-Hansen is spectacular as Princess Aurora, at first exuding the ebullient energy of a 16-year-old but growing into a regal bearing by the third act’s wedding. From her delicate, weightless turns to the sheer power and virtuosity of her jumps, Hansen is absolutely breathtaking in every moment spent onstage. Richard Krusch is an excellent counterpart to Hansen, giving the prince an effortless artistry. Lindsay Purrington and Yevgeny Shlapko are delightfully devious as Carabosse and her Raven, always sharp and seductive.
Randi Osetek exudes graceful power and control as the Lilac Fairy, while Courtney Schenberger is all flittering beauty as Princess Florine. Other standout performances include Alyssa Pilger, who exhibited technical and artistic brilliance as the fairy of Energy, and Lilly Wills, who possessed ethereal control as the fairy of Goodness. The Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle created a amazing musical ambiance, taking Tchaikovsky’s magical composition and bringing it to life in all its harmonic glory.
From the tumultuous overture to the grandeur of the Rose Adagio and the royal refinement of the wedding pas de deux, “Sleeping Beauty” is an absolute treasure. Such an artistic jewel is only fitting to complete the 20th anniversary season of Carolina Ballet, a company that has, over the years, become the true crown jewel of the Triangle.
“Sleeping Beauty” will be performed at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. today (May 19, 2018) and 2 p.m. Sunday (May 20). Tickets range from $42 to $96 and can be purchased at www.ticketmaster.com.

Logan A. White is a home-schooled high school senior and a Teens & 20s writer.


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