The Sleeping Beauty
The Sleeping Beauty (1888) brought a new level of intellectual and emotional complexity to ballet music. It was not only the greatest achievement of the Imperial Russian era; it had a profound influence on younger composers. Without it there would be no The Rite of Spring, no Romeo and Juliet.
Tchaikovsky’s score does not accompany the story; it is the story. Narrative and subtext are embedded. The association of specific keys with individuals and qualities, the use of leitmotifs, inspired instrument groupings and illuminating orchestrations illustrate and amplify character, feeling, social structure and, above all, moral order. David McAllister’s opulent 2015 production for The Australian Ballet pays homage to its splendour.