With the graceful energy each musician put into “Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty,” you won’t fall asleep during this performance at the Houston Symphony.
Conductor Andrey Boreyko led the ensemble with energy and precision, while guest concertmaster Alexander Kerr performed violin with a quiet, graceful confidence and precise skill. Violinist Benjamin Beilman made his Houston Symphony debut performing Mendelssohn’s sparkling Violin Concerto, giving the audience such a moving and passionate performance that it earned him a standing ovation.
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky composed “Sleeping Beauty” on commission for a ballet based on a Brothers Grimm tale. It was first performed nearly 130 years ago. Tchaikovsky was given a detailed set of musical requirements from the choreographer. Although Tchaikovsky ended up being disappointed with many of his works, he ranked “Sleeping Beauty” among his best.
This was my first time seeing “Sleeping Beauty” as a ballet. During the symphony, I pictured scenes from Disney’s 1959 “Sleeping Beauty” that I grew up watching. The classic ballet music fluctuates between grace and peril as the conflict unfolds between the forces of good (the Lilac Fairy) and evil (Carabosse). With the music alone, I know the story well enough to follow along with the adventure of a cursed, sleepy princess in a world of fairies, castles and court dances. My heart sang with childhood notions of romance when the orchestra played strands of “Once Upon a Dream.”