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Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty

8 pm Friday, April 25, on WILL-TV: The classic Tchaikovsky ballet gets a Gothic spin.

 Caradoc and Princess Aurora (Ben Bunce & Hannah Vassallo).

Caradoc and Princess Aurora (Ben Bunce & Hannah Vassallo).

With Sleeping Beauty the British choreographer has returned to the music of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky to complete the trio of the Russian composer’s ballet masterworks. Bourne began in 1992 with Nutcracker! and, most famously, in 1995, with the international hit Swan Lake.

The timeless fairy tale about a young girl cursed to sleep for 100 years was written by Charles Perrault in 1697. Tchaikovsky and choreographer Marius Petipa used the story in 1890 to create what has became a legendary ballet.

Bourne takes 1890 as his starting point, setting the christening of Aurora, the story’s heroine, in the year of the ballet’s first performance: the height of the fin-de-siecle period when fairies, vampires and decadent opulence fed the gothic imagination. As Aurora grows into a young woman (Hannah Vassallo), time moves forward to the more rigid, uptight Edwardian era; a mythical golden age of long summer afternoons, croquet on the lawn and new dance crazes. Years later, awakening from her century-long slumber, Aurora finds herself in the modern day; a world more mysterious and wonderful than any fairy story.

Matthew Bourne’s haunting new scenario is a gothic fairy tale for all ages. The traditional tale of good vs. evil and rebirth is turned upside-down, creating a supernatural love story, across the decades.

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