Age-old fairy tale enchants with grace, timeless beauty

Susan Saccoccia | 3/27/2013, 2:06 p.m.
Youthful Misa Kuranaga is Princess Aurora in Boston Ballet’s “The Sleeping Beauty,” at the Boston Opera...

A hooded Carabosse sneaks in and presents the princess with a bejeweled spindle. Kuranaga shows Aurora’s bewilderment and bravery as she pricks her finger, shrivels and then resumes dancing only to drop, apparently dead. True to her word, the Lilac Fairy casts the princess and the court into a spell of protective slumber and wraps the castle in vines.

In Act II, 100 years later, Jeffrey Cirio’s Prince Désiré is alone in a forest. He has sent his companions off to hunt without him. His face is downcast — but not for long. In an enchanting scene, the Lilac Fairy arrives on a cloud of seafoam, transported in a blue sailboat adorned with a crescent moon. She tells the prince the story of Aurora, and conjures a vision of her. Recognizing the princess as the fulfillment of his longing, the prince travels with the Lilac Fairy to the castle. After a final skirmish with Carabosse, he enters and with a kiss awakens Aurora and her kingdom.

Act III celebrates the wedding. Among the guests are fairy tale royalty, including Puss n’ Boots, Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf. Particularly beguiling is the sassy duet between Puss n’ Boots and the White Cat (Rie Ichikawa and Altan Dugaraa) who nuzzle, rub and slither their way down the receiving line.

Aurora and Désiré perform a sublime pas de deux. Kuranaga conveys Aurora’s new serenity. The spectacular leaps of Cirio’s prince are more than a bravura demonstration. They are an expression of joy. The two unite in a pose of astonishing beauty. Princess Aurora rises aloft in the arms of Prince Désiré, her legs intertwined and branching upward in an image of exaltation.