If you haven’t seen Sleeping Beauty live on stage Foxtel Arts will give you the chance next month.
The Sleeping Beauty, one of the world’s best-loved fairy tales and an established part of the ballet cannon, has been re-awakened to new beauty by The Australian Ballet’s Artistic Director, David McAllister – set within a lavish royal palace, magical fairy tale gardens and an opulent Louis XIV’s masked ball. It is the acclaimed and popular production currently touring across Australia and, to celebrate this landmark collaboration, Foxtel Arts will pre-empt the premiere of the performance Special with an original documentary expose. The Sleeping Beauty: Behind The Curtain with The Australian Ballet will give viewers a rare and privileged glimpse behind the scenes of the making of the ballet, which telecasts Wednesday December 2 at 7.30pm prior to the performance in full on Sunday December 6.
From within the elegant beehive workings of one of Australia’s most successful and dynamic major arts organisations, audiences will come to meet the amazing characters behind the creation of a grand new ballet production – as well as understand the myriad of challenges and delights encountered on the journey to create The Australian Ballet’s The Sleeping Beauty.
From the rehearsal process, ‘bump-in’ and through to the pressure and ultimate triumph of its opening night performance, this companion documentary includes interviews with David McAllister who reveals his feelings and fears towards creating his first full length work as Artistic Director, Lana Jones, the Principal Artist (Aurora), Gabriela Tylesova (Costume and Stage Designer) and Nicolette Fraillon (Music Director and Chief Conductor). All reveal hidden facets of the remarkable and inspiring collaborations required to create and deliver one of the most significant productions in The Australian Ballet’s history.
Fraser Stark, Group Operations Manager, Premium Entertainment & Channel Manager, Foxtel Arts said: “Foxtel Arts is committed to bringing the best in fine performance television from around the world to its customers and, also, to serve as a vigorous advocate for the Arts in Australia. Here, in the opportunity to collaborate with The Australian Ballet, we have created television that delivers on both those objectives in spades. The creative excellence of The Australian Ballet is internationally revered and to be able to capture forever this work, on stage and off, has given Foxtel Arts and its audience a glittering prize.”
For McAllister, The Sleeping Beauty is a crowning moment following an 18-year dance career with the company and 14 years as its Artistic Director.
“It has been an amazing time creating this new production of The Sleeping Beauty and having the Foxtel crew following every step. The Australian Ballet has fans across the country who don’t always have the opportunity of seeing us perform. Through this documentary we will be able to share both the creation and unveiling of this magical ballet to the widest possible audience and celebrate the myriad of artist both on and off stage that bring a lavish new production like this to the stage. I will personally enjoy looking back on a very special time for both myself and the company.”
Doomed from infancy to fatally prick her finger on her 16th birthday, the princess Aurora is saved from the curse of spiteful Carabosse by her champion the Lilac Fairy, who lulls the kingdom into a deep slumber. When the lonely Prince Désiré learns of Aurora’s fate, he comes to her rescue with a redemptive kiss of true love. The couple celebrate their wedding and coronation in the light and bustle of the revived palace, with a masked ball attended by fairies, bluebirds and familiar friends from the pages of Grimm fairytales.
McAllister created the role of Aurora, the sleeping beauty, on Principal Artist Lana Jones, who describes it as, “one of the absolute greats. I’m looking forward to showing a little more of who Aurora is, reflecting the purity, youth and frivolity of the 16-year-old princess while masking the sheer concentration, balance and strength demanded by the role’s technique. Her determination is something I can absolutely relate to and the wisdom and maturity she needs to apply to her role – despite her age – connects us immediately.”
Lavish sets and costumes by Gabriela Tylesova will evoke the splendour of the Imperial court and the glittering otherworldliness of fairies and woodland nymphs. Audiences the world over have marvelled at the inspired creative artistry of renowned set and costume designer who brings her magic touch to The Sleeping Beauty.
Changing the face of ballet in the 19th century, Tchaikovsky’s orchestration and use of new and unorthodox instrumental combinations for The Sleeping Beauty has continued to inspire the greatest ballet composers of our time, according to Nicolette Fraillon, Chief Conductor and Musical Director of The Australian Ballet.
The Sleeping Beauty: Behind The Curtain with The Australian Ballet telecasts Wednesday December 2 at 7.30pm on Foxtel Arts. The Sleeping Beauty telecasts Sunday December 6 at 7.30pm on Foxtel Arts.