The staging and choreography are by ABT artistic director Kevin McKenzie and by Gelsey Kirkland, one of the company's superstars of the 1970s and '80s, with dramaturgical help from Michael Chernov. In some performances Kirkland will also dance the role of the evil fairy Carabosse, making a return to the New York stage more than two decades after her performing career in the city came to a turbulent end.
While McKenzie does for the most part follow the stylistic and movement outlines passed down since Sleeping Beauty's 1890 premiere in St. Petersburg, he tells The New York Times that he has streamlined the work (eliminating the divertissements from the Act III wedding, for example) and tried to heighten the drama and underscore the difference between the human and fairy worlds.
Headlining ABT's rotating casts are Veronika Part, Paloma Herrera, Julie Kent, Gillian Murphy, Irina Dvorovenko and Diana Vishneva in the title role of Princess Aurora and Angel Corella, David Hallberg, Maxim Beloserkovsky, Marcelo Gomes and Ethan Stiefel as Prince Charming. Among the dancers sharing the role of Carabosse with Kirkland is another renowned veteran, Martine van Hamel.
ABT's new version of The Sleeping Beauty runs from tonight through June 9 at the Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center in New York City. More information is available at www.abt.org.