About the Opera

Sleeping Beauty 2017


Sunday, April 23, 2017, 6:30 PM

Century II Performing Arts Center, Concert Hall

Russian National Ballet Theatre

A Ballet in Three Acts
Libretto by Marius Petipa and Ivan Vsevolojsky
World Premiere: Mariinski Theatre, St. Petersburg, January 16, 1890
Artistic Director
Elena Radchenko
Original Choreography
Marius Petipa
Additional Choreography
Iryna Kovalova
Sets   Lev Solodovnikov
Costumes   Simon Virsaladze
Lighting Design   Marina Borodina


PRINCE DÉSIRÉ   Dmitriy Sitkevich
KING FLORESTAN   Dmitry Romanov
THE QUEEN   Natalia Ivanova
MASTER OF CEREMONIES   Denis Onufriychuk
FAIRY CARABOSSE   Evgeniy Rudakov
LILAC FAIRY   Olga Gudkova
FAIRY TENDERNESS   Elena Khorosheva
FAIRY BOLDNESS   Galina Ishenko
FAIRY GENEROSITY   Hanna Zimovchenko
FAIR CANARY   Irina Tsoy
4 QAVALERS   Anton Baglikov
Ivan Zviagintcev
Konstantin Marikin
Nelson Pena
PRINCESS FLORINA   Malika Tokkozhina
BLUE BIRD   Vladimir Tapharov
WHITE CAT   Elena Khorosheva
PUSS-IN-BOOTS   Sergey Kotov
WOLF   Iaroslav Lishuk
And the 50-member Corps de Ballet.
Production and Artists subject to change



The fairytale kingdom of King Florestan.



Prologue: King Florestan XIV and his Queen host a grand christening ceremony for the birth of their first child, Princess Aurora. Six fairies are invited to the ceremony to bestow gifts on the child. The most powerful fairy, the Lilac Fairy, arrives with her entourage, but before she can bestow her gift, the palace grows dark. With a clap of thunder, the evil fairy Carabosse arrives with her minions. Furious that she was not invited to the christening, Carabosse places a curse upon the baby princess: Aurora will grow up to be a beautiful, virtuous and delightful young lady, but on her sixteenth birthday she will prick her finger on a spindle and die. However, the Lilac Fairy intervenes. Though she cannot completely undo the curse, she alters it, allowing the princess to merely sleep peacefully for 100 years. At the end of those 100 years, she will be woken by the kiss of a handsome prince. Relieved that Aurora's life will ultimately be spared, the court is set at ease.



Princess Aurora's coming-of-age has arrived. Guests from across the kindom arrive to pay their respects, including four cavaliers who propose to the Princess, but she remains uninterested in their offers. An old woman appears and gives Aurora a bouquet of flowers with a spindle hidden among them. As she dances with the flowers, the Princess pricks her finger. Frightened, everybody rushes to her aid, but it is too late. Aurora feels the life leaving her and falls to the ground. The old woman throws off her cloak and reveals herself to be the fairy Carabosse. The cavaliers chase her but she vanishes as the entire kingdom falls into a deep sleep.



One hundred years later, Prince Desire is hunting in the forest with his entourage, who are entertaining themselves by dancing. Despite their efforts to cheer him, the Prince is unhappy and sends everybody away. After the hunting party leaves, the Lilac Fairy appears and shows the Prince avision of the beautiful Aurora. The Prince falls instantly falls in love with her.



The Lilac Fairy shows the Prince the way to the enchanted kingdom. Everyone there is still deep in sleep... except for the wicked Carabosse. She blocks the Prince's path to the enchanted kingdom, but her evil charms are useless against the Prince, and she disappears. At last, the Prince sees the Sleeping Beauty - Aurora. He gives her a gentle kiss and she awakens from her long sleep, along with the entire kingdom. Prince Desire proposes to Aurora and she joyously gives her consent.



The wedding of Princess Aurora to Prince Desire is attended by characters from many fairytales, including Princess Florine and the Bluebird, the Tomcat and the Pussycat, and the Wolf and Little Red Riding Hood. The Lilac Fairy blesses the marriage of the happy bride and groom.


About the Company


Maria Sokolnikova

Maria Sokolnikova
Princess Aurora

Maria Sokolnikova graduated from the Academy of Dance at the New Humanitarian University in Moscow, founded by N. Nesterova in 1992. Ms. Sokolnikova graduated in 2003 and the same year joined the Moscow Festival Ballet. Since 2006 Ms. Sokolnikova has been a guest artist at many theatres and companies in Russia. In 2008 she won the "Diaghilev" Medal of the Serge Lifar Competition. She performs such roles as Giselle, Odette / Odile (Swan Lake), Juliet (Romeo and Juliet), Nikiya (Bayadere), Masha (Nutcracker), Cinderella, Kitri (Don Quixote), Princess Aurora (Sleeping Beauty) and other roles. Maria Sokolnikova appeared in the dual roles of Odette and Odile in last season's presentation of Swan Lake.


The Russian National Ballet Theatre was founded in Moscow during the Perestroika period of the late 1980s. Originally called the Soviet National Ballet, the company was founded by and comprised of graduates from the great Russian choreographic schools in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Perm. The principal dancers of the company came from the upper ranks of the great ballet companies and academies of Russia, and the companies of Riga, Kiev, and even Warsaw. Today, the Russian National Ballet Theatre is its own institution, with over 50 dancers of singular instruction and vast experience, many of whom have been with the company since its inception.


In 1994, legendary Bolshoi prima ballerina Elena Radchenko was appointed by Presidential decree to assume the first permanent artistic directorship of the company. She has focused the Company on upholding the grand national tradition of Russian ballet and developing new talents throughout Russia. The company’s repertoire includes virtually all of the works of Marius Petipa:Don Quixote, La Bayadere, Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, Raymonda, Paquita, Coppelia andLa Sylphide, as well as many other productions including The Nutcracker, Sylvia, and La Fille Mal Gardée.



Composer Bio

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

If Puccini was the Master of Verismo and Verdi the King of Italian opera, then Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was the Champion of Paradox. A musical genius and a national hero, Tchaikovsky struggled with his many personal demons, including his homosexuality, his intense emotionality, and his headstrong impetuousness. On his other side, Tchaikovsky was well known for his candor and modesty, his acceptance of criticism and his workmanship. Unfortunately, he was never able to reconcile these two sides and this ultimately led to his very unhappy and tortured life.


Tchaikovsky was born on May 7, 1840 at Votkinsk, in the government of Vyatka, Russia. He was close to his family - his father (a mine inspector), his mother, four brothers, and a sister. At the age of five, he began to study piano, soon revealing his amazing gifts. It wasn't until he was 21, however, that he began to study music seriously.


In 1863, Tchaikovsky entered the St. Petersburg Conservatory and undertook some private training. The young Tchaikovsky was a master at improvisation, but so unschooled he was unaware of such simple musical tenets as the possibility of modulating to different keys. Tchaikovsky frequently attended the opera and fell in love with the music of Mozart. His diligence became apparent when his composition teacher, Anton Rubinstein, assigned variations as homework. Tchaikovsky sat up all night and prepared 200.


In 1866, Tchaikovsky moved permanently to Moscow where he accepted a teaching position in a new conservatory established by Anton Rubinstein's brother, Nicholas. It was there that hisFirst Symphony was created, receiving a warm reception by Moscow audiences in 1868. It was also there that Tchaikovsky had his first nervous breakdown, due to the stress of composing theFirst Symphony. Interestingly, Tchaikovsky had asked his former teacher, Anton Rubinstein, to premiere the work in St. Petersburg, a request that was ultimately denied.


Other works followed with less success, including Tchaikovsky's first opera, The Voyevoda, in 1869, later re-worked into The Oprichnik in 1874. By then Tchaikovsky's Second Symphonyhad begun winning acclaim, as had his First Piano Concerto. Following these compositions were his Third Symphony and Swan Lake, the tone poem Francesca da Rimini in 1875, and the Rococo Variations for cello and orchestra in 1876. Near the end of 1876 Tchaikovsky was contacted by a wealthy admirer, Nadejda Fillaretovna von Meck, who gave him several commissions and became his sponsor for the next 12 years.


Throughout this period, Tchaikovsky continued to struggle with his homosexuality. Although Tchaikovsky had a brief affair with opera singer Desiree Artot, he was clearly inclined to deny his own nature. In a letter to his brother, Tchaikovsky wrote, "I am aware that my inclinations are the greatest and most unconquerable obstacle to happiness; I must fight my nature with all of my strength. I shall do everything possible to marry this year." Indeed, he did marry a young woman, Antonina Ivanovana Milyukoff, on July 6, 1877. However, within a month, he discovered they were incompatible and spent the next few months running away from his new wife. He also made a failed attempt at suicide by walking into the Moska River in the hopes of contracting pneumonia. It was at this point, in the late 1870s, that he wrote some of his greatest works, the opera Eugene Onegin, the Violin Concerto, and the Fourth Symphony.


Based on Alexander Pushkin's novel in verse, Eugene Onegin (1878) tells the story of a girl fascinated by a man who ultimately rejects her and his later remorse. That same year, Tchaikovsky also wrote the Violin Concerto. He wrote Manfred in 1885; the Fifth Symphony in 1888; another successful opera, Pique Dame (The Queen of Spades) in 1890; and the Casse-Noisette (Nutcracker) ballet in 1891. These successes made Tchaikovsky famous throughout the world. He temporarily conquered his stage fright and, in 1888, made an international conducting tour. In 1891, Tchaikovsky came to New York and conducted his own works at the ceremonies of the opening of Carnegie Hall.


By 1890, the inevitable break with Madame von Meck had occurred and, while Petr gained his financial independence, he felt his loss on a more personal than professional level. Madame von Meck, in addition to an income of 6,000 roubles, had provided Tchaikovsky an outlet to air his opinions, beliefs, hopes, and dreams. There has been no particular reason recorded as to why the break between them occurred.


In 1893, Tchaikovsky completed the Pathetique Symphony (No. 6) and conducted it at St. Petersburg to a rather apathetic response. Unfortunately, Petr would not live to see its ultimate success. By most accounts, Tchaikovsky drank an unsterilized glass of water, contracted cholera, and died on November 6, 1893. However Tchaikovsky died, 8,000 mourners attended his funeral as he was buried at St. Petersburg's Alexander Nevsky Monastery.