Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
The Stuttgart Ballet's new production of "The Sleeping Beauty" made a far stronger impression Wednesday than it did in its premiere Tuesday evening. In fact, given the order of interpretive and technical prowess on hand Wednesday the Stuttgart version - though not without its flaws and oddities, like most other versions - seems an eminently viable realization of the Petipa-Tchaikovsky classic.
Sensibly scaled to the size and talents of the troupe, it is compact and intimate, compared, say, to the recent grandiose production by American Ballet Theater. But it can fully convey the crux - the wonderment of a young girl's awakening to love - as Wednesday night's performance definitively showed.
What made the difference was, first of all, the appearance of the company's leading couple, Marcia Haydee (now also Stuttgart's director) and Richard Cragun as Aurora and Prince Florimund. It wasn't just their superb dancing that turned the trick, but the emotional conviction by which they transformed stereotyped roles into credible, loving beings.
There was improvement all around, both in new castings and old. The find of the evening, perhaps of the Stuttgart season, was Christopher Boatwright in his Ali Baba variations. His patrician bearing, svelte phrasing and stunning technique bespeak a gift of major proportions. Elleen Brady not only repeated her sparkling Primrose Fairy solo, but confirmed the impression of pristine classicism as a spry Floriene, splendidly partnered by Carl Morrow.
An anonymous bomb scare briefly delayed the start as police emptied several rows of seats for a search.