The music of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker is a familiar soundtrack to the holidays, and the Augusta area saw no less than four productions of the famous ballet.
Another of Tchaikovsky’s famous works will take the stage at the Imperial Theatre at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 11, as the State Ballet of Russia presents Sleeping Beauty.
In the late 19th century, Peter Illyich Tchaikovsky composed the music for three ballets choreographed by Marius Petipa, known as the father of Russian ballet. Nutcracker was one of those ballets as well as Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty. Sleeping Beauty premiered at the Imperial Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1890.
“There have been numerous productions and variations of this ballet all over the world. However, to this day the most widely acclaimed and accepted as a classical production is still the production of the late 19th century. The State Ballet Theatre of Russia takes its pride in meticulously maintaining the highest standards of the original Petipa’s choreography,” according to Ivan Levin, president and CEO of the HollywoodStars International Management, which has organized the State Ballet’s U.S. tour.
The story is based on the tale of Princess Aurora who was cursed by a fairy that she’d prick her finger on a spindle and die on her 16th birthday. The Lilac Fairy amends the curse to put the princess into a deep sleep instead; only to be awakened by the kiss of her prince.
That’s not the end of the ballet though. There’s a lavish wedding that includes an array of other characters including Puss In Boots, Little Red Riding Hood and Cinderella.
And it’s a production that audiences still enjoy more than a century after it was first performed, according to Levin.
“The story, the music, the highest level of the artistic performance, the lavish sets, decorations and costumes keep audiences around the world falling in love with this timeless classic.”
The State Ballet of Russia is making a whirlwind North American tour performing all three of the Tchaikovsky/Petipa collaborations from Dec. 1 through Feb. 11. During the tour, the company will perform 58 shows.
The company is comprised of 50 dancers, many of whom are winners of international ballet competitions.
“The State Ballet Theatre of Russia has a distinguished history. Their precise, traditional approach to the classic ballet, particularly those by Tchaikovsky, upholds the elegant, expressive ideals of Russian classical dance,” said Levin.
Tickets range from $25-$55. For more information, call the Imperial Theatre box office at (706) 722-8341 or see imperialtheatre.com.