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Royal New Zealand Ballet returns to the stage with ‘The Sleeping Beauty’

RNZB's 'The Sleeping Beauty'. Photo by Ross Brown.
RNZB's 'The Sleeping Beauty'. Photo by Ross Brown.

Looking ahead with joy and optimism to its ever-popular Christmas season, the Royal New Zealand Ballet (RNZB) will open its magical new production, The Ryman Healthcare Season of The Sleeping Beauty on 29 October.

This new production of the quintessential classical ballet has been created by a powerhouse of creativity, led by RNZB Artistic Director Patricia Barker. The creative team includes New Zealand costume designer Donna Jefferis; American scenic designer Howard C. Jones, whose work New Zealand audiences may remember from the RNZB’s much-loved classic production of Giselle (2012); Austrian dramaturg Michael Auer, whose most recent production with the company was The Nutcracker in 2018; and American lighting designer Randall (Rico) Chiarelli (Black Swan, White Swan, 2019).

Barker says, “We considered our production of this beautiful, enchanting story from all angles – from the original ballet, to the Disney story, and even as a Netflix-style compelling drama with storytelling and characters at its heart. The result is a bold new production with all the brilliance, grandeur and beauty of the beloved classical ballet.”

The Sleeping Beauty is the fifth RNZB production to be sponsored by Ryman Healthcare, in one of New Zealand’s most significant partnerships between leading Kiwi businesses and the performing arts. 

Ryman Healthcare Chief Executive Gordon MacLeod says it is a pleasure to be able to support the ballet. “Christmas is a magical time, and we’re sure this seasonal ballet will be a hit. Our residents and their families are fans of the ballet and so are we.”

The grandest of fairy tales, the RNZB’s production of The Sleeping Beauty, while luxuriating in Tchaikovsky’s gorgeous orchestral score, spills over with fairies, woodland sprites, grand princes and, at its heart, an enchanting princess. This special Christmas production will unfurl like a fragrant summer rose with all the radiance and joy that any ballet lover, young or old, could wish for.

Arguably the best known of all Russian composers, Tchaikovsky wrote the music for just three ballets – The Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake and The Nutcracker, all of which include some of the most iconic ballet scenes of all time. In The Sleeping Beauty, this includes the beautiful Rose Adagio in Act 1 – considered among dancers as one of the most technically difficult segments for a ballerina in any ballet – a grand pas de deux in Act III, and a spectacular wedding.

The national tour of The Sleeping Beauty visits Wellington, Invercargill, Dunedin, Christchurch, Palmerston North, Napier, Auckland City and Takapuna. RNZB Principal Conductor Hamish McKeich will conduct a live orchestral accompaniment in Wellington, Auckland and Christchurch, with a special recording for all other centres.

In a time when love and kindness are more important than ever, sharing the joy of a timeless ballet with the young and young at heart this Christmas seems like one of the very best ways to bring a sparkle of joy to the end of a challenging year. 

For tickets and more information, visit rnzb.org.nz/shows/the-sleeping-beauty.

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