Vienna State Opera tickets 29 June 2025 - The Sleeping Beauty | GoComGo.com

The Sleeping Beauty

Vienna State Opera, Vienna, Austria
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Important Info
Type: Ballet
City: Vienna, Austria
Starts at: 19:00
Acts: 3
Intervals: 2
Duration: 3h 20min
Cast
Performers
Ballet company: Vienna State Ballet
Conductor: Robert Reimer
Creators
Composer: Pyotr Tchaikovsky
Author: Charles Perrault
Librettist: Ivan Vsevolozhsky
Choreography: Marius Petipa
Librettist: Marius Petipa
Choreography: Martin Schläpfer
Overview

With his Swan Lake in 2018, Martin Schläpfer aimed "for the heart of the fairy tale" and created "a great evening of ballet", as the Berlin Tagesspiegel wrote about the world premiere. He now follows this up with his version of Sleeping Beauty together with the Vienna State Ballet, designed by Florian Etti and with costumes by Catherine Voeffray.

The work that received its world premiere on 15 January 1890 at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg was one of the greatest events in the history of ballet. Two masters of their art – the composer Pyotr I. Tchaikovsky and the choreographer Marius Petipa – advised by the universally educated Artistic Director Ivan Vsevoloshsky, who not only wrote the libretto but also designed the costumes, had collaborated extremely closely to create a three-hour feast of dance which is unrivalled in the complexity of its musical form, the dramaturgy of its choreographic structure, its metaphorical intensity and the rich symbolism of its imagery.

Even more than in Swan Lake and The Nutcracker, Tchaikovsky had worked the score of Sleeping Beauty into a symphonic form. The characters taken from Charles Perrault’s fairy tale La Belle au bois dormant, which was first published in 1697 in the anthology Les Contes de ma mère l’Oye, are subtly differentiated through their motifs, with the statement of the music and the details of the plot complementing each other perfectly. One of the score’s greatest admirers, Igor Stravinsky, wrote: "The pleasure it gave me lasted for days on end and in this work, I was delighted to find the same freshness, invention, strength and spirit over and over again. Every entrance, indeed every action that takes place on stage is always presented individually depending on the character of the person concerned and every number has its own personality."

While Sleeping Beauty can be seen as the most perfect creation in the entire Russian ballet repertoire, at the same time it presents many complex questions and remains open to new interpretations, not least because of the fairy tale on which it is based: a story about growing up, a girl developing into a woman, the intrusion of a fairy world in the everyday life of a royal court, the battle between light and darkness, of time against evil. At the end, the "other" world that intervenes in the life of Princess Aurora and her parents is secularized in a theatrical celebration – in Petipa’s version.

Martin Schläpfer was captivated by this opulent dance fairy tale when he was a student at the Royal Ballet School in London: "Sleeping Beauty was the classical ballet I saw most often in London: many times, with casts that included Jennifer Penney and David Wall, Lynn Seymour, Rudolf Nureyev and many others", he recalls. "Later, when I was a dancer myself, the Blue Bird was one of my most beautiful and fascinating roles. The piece has never let go of me." For a long time he has been occupied by the thought of choreographing a Sleeping Beauty. "I think the music is magnificent", he admits, "and then I went and did Swan Lake first. I love all three Tchaikovsky ballets – Nutcracker too – as different as they are. What fascinates me about Sleeping Beauty is the way the material, the music and its reception all interact together: on the one hand, Tchaikovsky’s score and of course the fairy tale as it is written in the books of Perrault and the Brothers Grimm, but on the other hand also what is often etched into the minds of the audience as as-it-were the "original ballet". I want to try to find a path between these two that doesn’t break with everything that is there but is something other than just another version "after Marius Petipa"."

As in his Swan Lake, Martin Schläpfer would like to think of Sleeping Beauty as a drama, "as a genuine plot that is always providing the characters with a text", even if large sections of the score are conceived as pure dances. He has a lot of questions for the characters described in the ballet’s libretto: "Despite all its brilliance, what is the deeper relationship of Aurora to her parents, the King and Queen, who for me are quite clearly lead roles: they don’t simply have a representative function, they are also going to have a lot to dance? Might the fairies be more elf-like, and come from a different world than the one the humans come from? Is Carabosse truly evil or is she a woman who is misunderstood, who has deep feelings, many levels, who is wise, a character who might also contain beauty and warmth? And a central question: What does the immense time gap of 100 years between Act One and Act Two mean – for the story, the characters, and for the dancing?"

History
Premiere of this production: 03 January 1890, Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg

The Sleeping Beauty is a ballet in a prologue and three acts, first performed in 1890. The music was composed by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (his opus 66). The score was completed in 1889, and is the second of his three ballets. The original scenario was conceived by Ivan Vsevolozhsky, and is based on Charles Perrault's La Belle au bois dormant. The choreographer of the original production was Marius Petipa.

Venue Info

Vienna State Opera - Vienna
Location   Opernring 2

The Vienna State Opera is one of the leading opera houses in the world. Its past is steeped in tradition. Its present is alive with richly varied performances and events. Each season, the schedule features 350 performances of more than 60 different operas and ballets. The members of the Vienna Philharmonic are recruited from the Vienna State Opera's orchestra. The building is also the home of the Vienna State Ballet, and it hosts the annual Vienna Opera Ball during the carnival season.

The 1,709-seat Renaissance Revival venue was the first major building on the Vienna Ring Road. It was built from 1861 to 1869 following plans by August Sicard von Sicardsburg and Eduard van der Nüll, and designs by Josef Hlávka. The opera house was inaugurated as the "Vienna Court Opera" (Wiener Hofoper) in the presence of Emperor Franz Joseph I and Empress Elisabeth of Austria. It became known by its current name after the establishment of the First Austrian Republic in 1921. The Vienna State Opera is the successor of the Vienna Court Opera, the original construction site chosen and paid for by Emperor Franz Joseph in 1861.

The opera house was the first major building on the Vienna Ringstrasse commissioned by the Viennese "city expansion fund". Work commenced on the house in 1861 and was completed in 1869, following plans drawn up by architects August Sicard von Sicardsburg and Eduard van der Nüll. It was built in the Neo-Renaissance style by the renowned Czech architect and contractor Josef Hlávka.

Gustav Mahler was one of the many conductors who have worked in Vienna. During his tenure (1897–1907), Mahler cultivated a new generation of singers, such as Anna Bahr-Mildenburg and Selma Kurz, and recruited a stage designer who replaced the lavish historical stage decors with sparse stage scenery corresponding to modernistic, Jugendstil tastes. Mahler also introduced the practice of dimming the lighting in the theatre during performances, which was initially not appreciated by the audience. However, Mahler's reforms were maintained by his successors.

Herbert von Karajan introduced the practice of performing operas exclusively in their original language instead of being translated into German. He also strengthened the ensemble and regular principal singers and introduced the policy of predominantly engaging guest singers. He began a collaboration with La Scala in Milan, in which both productions and orchestrations were shared. This created an opening for the prominent members of the Viennese ensemble to appear in Milan, especially to perform works by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Richard Strauss.

Ballet companies merge

At the beginning of the 2005–2006 season, the ballet companies of the Staatsoper and the Vienna Volksoper were merged under the direction of Gyula Harangozó.

From the 2010–2011 season a new company was formed called Wiener Staatsballet, Vienna State Ballet, under the direction of former Paris Opera Ballet principal dancer Manuel Legris. Legris eliminated Harangozós's policy of presenting nothing but traditional narrative ballets with guest artists in the leading roles, concentrated on establishing a strong in-house ensemble and restored evenings of mixed bill programs, featuring works of George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Jiří Kylián, William Forsythe, and many contemporary choreographers, as well as a reduced schedule of the classic ballets.

Opera ball

For many decades, the opera house has been the venue of the Vienna Opera Ball. It is an internationally renowned event, which takes place annually on the last Thursday in Fasching. Those in attendance often include visitors from around the world, especially prominent names in business and politics. The opera ball receives media coverage from a range of outlets.

Important Info
Type: Ballet
City: Vienna, Austria
Starts at: 19:00
Acts: 3
Intervals: 2
Duration: 3h 20min
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