If things had gone as originally planned, Susan Jaffe would have had pride of place on Friday as the first Aurora in American Ballet Theatre's production of "The Sleeping Beauty" at the Orange County Performing Arts Center in Costa Mesa.
But Jaffe became ill, other principals were rescheduled, and she wasn't able to dance the role until Sunday afternoon.
At the matinee, Jaffe only occasionally showed signs of lingering strain in some effortful balances, but otherwise delivered a technically brilliant, lyric and gracious interpretation, particularly in the musicality with which she linked phrases. However, like her other ABT Aurora counterparts, Jaffe proved essentially underpowered in projecting depth and involvement of personality.
As her prince, Ross Stretton danced with refinement, strength and the oddest dramatic conception of anyone seen in the role so far. Looking happy and content from his first entrance on, Stretton made nonsense out of the mime sequences that asked him why he was so sad. If the worm of unhappiness was gnawing at him, it must have been very deeply buried. But he partially redeemed himself with attentive, if at times overly cautious, partnering.
Other principals in the cast were previously reviewed. Jack Everly again conducted.