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‘Sleeping Beauty’ makes U.S. debut in Des Moines

Published: Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013 11:29 a.m. CST • Updated: Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013 12:00 p.m. CST

DES MOINES — Des Moines Performing Arts will host Matthew Bourne’s “Sleeping Beauty” in its United States debut at the Civic Center on Friday, Sept. 27, and Saturday, Sept. 28, to kick off the 2013-2014 season of the Willis Broadway Series.

Tickets to “Sleeping Beauty” are available at the Civic Center ticket office, all Ticketmaster locations, charge-by-phone at (800) 745-3000 and online at www.desmoinesperformingarts.org. Groups of 15 or more should call (515) 246-2340.

Performances are slated for 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 27, and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28.

“Sleeping Beauty” sees Britain’s most famed choreographer return to the music of Tchaikovsky to complete the trio of the composer’s ballet masterworks that started in 1992 with “Nutcracker” and continued in 1995 with the international hit “Swan Lake.” Bourne is the only British artist to have won a Tony Award on Broadway for both Best Choreographer and Best Director and has won more than 50 international awards for his choreographic work, including the Broadway production of “Mary Poppins.”

Charles Perrault’s timeless fairy tale about a young girl cursed to sleep for 100 years was turned into a legendary ballet by Tchaikovsky and choreographer Marius Petipa in 1890. Bourne takes this date as his starting point, setting the christening of Aurora, the story’s heroine, at 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, the audience moves forward in time 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 tale.

Bourne’s new scenario introduces several characters not seen in the fairy tale or in Petipa’s famous ballet. The Royal Family is presided over by King Benedict and Queen Eleanor. Princess Aurora’s romantic interest is not a prince but the royal gamekeeper, Leo. Representing the central forces of good and evil are Count Lilac (“the King of the Fairies”) and the Dark Fairy Carabosse. Bourne has created the character of Caradoc, the sinister but charming son of Carabosse. Princess Aurora’s Fairy Godparents are Ardor, Hiberna, Autumnus, Feral and Tantrum.

“Sleeping Beauty” is a gothic romance for all ages: the traditional tale of good vs. evil and rebirth is turned upside-down, creating a supernatural love story that even the passage of time cannot hinder.

For more information, visit www.new-adventures.net/productions/sleeping_beauty.

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