‘Sleeping Beauty’ returns to Istanbul after 20 years

‘Sleeping Beauty’ returns to Istanbul after 20 years

‘Sleeping Beauty’ returns to Istanbul after 20 years The Istanbul State Opera and Ballet (IDOB) is bringing one of the world’s most famous ballets, “Sleeping Beauty,” to the stage at the Kadıköy Süreyya Opera for the first time in 20 years.

According to a statement made by IDOB, “Sleeping Beauty” provides a premier example of collaboration between choreographers and composers.

Written by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and choreographed by Victor Marius Alphonse Petipa, the unique work unites different concepts, characters and challenges in music and ballet. 

Ayşem Sunal Savaşkurt brings the works to the stage, while the conductor is Roberto Gianola. The costumes and décor were designed by Çimen Somuncuoğlu and Adnan Öngün, respectively. The light designer is Önder Arık. 

Deniz Kılınç, Gizem Tuncay, Melike Koper, Julia Hartmann, Zuhal Karaca, Melih Mertel, Erhan Güzel, Olcay Tunçeli, Batur Büklü, Çağatay Özmen, İlke Kodal, Nuri Arkan, Egemen Kement, Ebru Cansız and Zeynep Serpen all reprise roles as characters in the ballet.

After a premiere on Feb. 11 at 8 p.m. at the Kadıköy Süreyya Opera Stage, the ballet will be on stage on Feb. 14, 16, 18 and 28, as well as March 2, 4, 23 and 25 at the same venue. 

Creation of ‘Sleeping Beauty’

Telling the story of a princess who fell asleep for 100 years, “Sleeping Beauty” was first written by French Charles Perrault in 1697 and later on by the Brothers Grimm in 1812. The tale was previously published in Italy by Giambattista Basile with the title “Sun, Moon and Talia” (Sole, Luna e Talia). 

On May 25, 1888, Tchaikovsky received a letter from the director of the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg, Ivan Vsevolozhsky. In the letter, Vsevolozhsky proposed that Tchaikovsky write a ballet work based on Perrault’s “La Belle au Bois Dormant” (Sleepy Beauty).

The choreographer for the ballet was Marius Petipa, the ballet master of the Imperial Ballet, who wrote a very detailed list of instructions regarding the musical requirements. 

Tchaikovsky worked quickly on the new work at Frolovskoye, a small village near Moscow; he began initial sketches in the winter of 1888 and began orchestration on the work on May 30, 1889.

The premiere performance took place at the Mariinsky Theater on Jan. 15, 1890. The work has become one of the classical repertoire’s most famous ballets since.

The three-act ballet focuses on the two main conflicting forces of good (the Lilac Fairy) and evil (Carabosse); each has a leitmotif representing them which run through the entire ballet, serving as an important thread to the underlying plot. 

Act III of the work, however, takes a complete break from the two motifs and instead places the focus on the individual characters of the various court dances.

The ballet’s premiere received more favorable accolades than “Swan Lake” from the press, but Tchaikovsky was not able to witness his work become an instant success in theaters outside of Russia as he died in 1893 at the age of 53.