A classic Disney film has become the de facto American version of the fairy tale called The Sleeping Beauty, which Wichita Grand Opera will present on Sunday, January 5, at 3:30pm, in a performance by the Russian National Ballet Theatre.

But, as Parvan Bakardiev, WGO general director, is quick to point out, this story was not originally invented by Disney—or even by professional artists.

“Stories such as The Sleeping Beauty come out of long traditions of family storytelling,” Bakardiev explained, “And because of this background, the story of Sleeping Beauty is simple, profound, charming, and perfect for the whole family to enjoy together.”

Last season’s WGO ballet presentation, Swan Lake, was also a fairy tale, and was a big hit for the company, selling out Century II Concert Hall. Bakardiev is expecting another sold out event this year, and is looking forward to seeing many families with children in attendance.

“We chose to make the performance a Sunday matinee to ensure that it would be accessible to everybody, including senior citizens, working people, and especially families with young children,” Bakardiev said. “So many children dream of being a princess, or a ballet star. In our past ballet presentations, the young people have been rapt. That’s also why we are inviting school groups to attend, through our Day at the Opera educational outreach program.”

The Sleeping Beauty was created in 1890, when ballet was at a peak of flourishing in imperial Russia. Choreographer Marius Petipa created such enduring works as Don Quixote (also featured in WGO’s 2014 season, with the return of the Russian National Ballet Theatre on April 26), Swan Lake, and The Nutcracker. Petipa’s 1890 rendering of The Sleeping Beauty is often considered the pinnacle of classical ballet.

The dancers of the Russian National Ballet Theatre are well equipped to perform the work at the highest level. The Washington Post has described them as “the real thing,” and “a cut above many of [their] rivals.” The Sleeping Beauty will open WGO’s season, but in a way the season actually begins the night before, January 4, when Kansas PBS viewers can see WGO’s 2013 production of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro.

Upcoming Performances by the Wichita Grand Opera at Century II

- William Tell – February 22, 2014 – 7 PM
- Tosca - April 12, 2014 - 7 PM
- Don Quixote - April 26, 2014, 7 PM
- The Barber of Seville - May 31, 2014, 7 PM (@ Wichita's Orpheum Theatre)
 

Tickets can be purchased online at www.selectaseat.com, by calling WGO Box Office (316) 262-8054 or Select-A-Seat (316) 755-SEAT, or at participating Dillons Stores.