With the ballet classic “The Sleeping Beauty” Sofia Opera and Ballet celebrates 40 years artistic activity of the prima ballerina Masha Ilieva. To be remembered is her exceptional artistry, combined with excellent technique, temperament and bright stage presence.
Masha Ilieva studied at the prestigious Vaganova Academy of Ballet in St. Petersburg. After her graduation, she became part of the ballet cast of the Sofia National Opera. Since 1990, Masha Ilieva was appointed for prima ballerina. She has performed all big roles from the theatre’s ballet repertoire in this period: Giselle – “Giselle”, Kitri – “Don Quixote”, Odette-Odile – “Swan Lake”, La Sylphide – “La Sylphide”, Juliet – “Romeo and Juliet”, Aurora, The Lilac Fairy – “The Sleeping Beauty”, Madame Hortense – “Zorba the Greek” and many others.
In the period 2001-2003, she was Artistic director of the National ballet – Sofia. Then the Bulgarian audience for the first time met Balanchine’s works and was staged the original version of “La Sylphide”.
Since 2009, she has been coach at Sofia Opera and Ballet, and in 2014, already as ballet stage director, Masha Ilieva revived the ballet classic “The Sleeping Beauty” on the stage of our National opera and ballet theatre. This is why namely with this spectacle Sofia Opera and Ballet will mark the celebration of the prima ballerina.
In the period, in which Masha Ilieva was artist-ballerina, and later on – prima ballerina, “The Sleeping Beauty” had its own story, connected with the Opera. In 1983 the great ballet artist and choreographer Māris Liepa transported the version of the Bolshoi Theatre of the ballet “The Sleeping Beauty”, setting it on the stage of the Sofia National Opera. At this moment Masha Ilieva was since quite a short time part of the theatre’s ballet troupe. She was entrusted all small solos.
Later the ballet “The Sleeping Beauty” was revived by Boyko Nedelchev in the art, in which it was set by Liepa. Already as prima ballerina, Masha Ilieva entered into the role of Princess Aurora and The Lilac Fairy.
In 2005 followed one more version of the ballet masterpiece – the one of the Mariinsky Theatre. Here Masha performed the role of The Lilac Fairy.
And so, in 2014, already as ballet stage director, Masha Ilieva revived “The Sleeping Beauty” on the stage of Sofia Opera and Ballet. She kept the authenticity of the ballet and in the same time inserted her own reading in some of the key roles in the spectacle, for example the role of Fairy Carabosse. In the original version the role is performed by a man, in order to be emphasized most strongly the contrast of Fairy Carabosse with the rest of the fairies in the ballet. In Masha Ilieva’s staging Fairy Carabosse is a woman with domineering character, vindictive and adamant. The premiere took place on 14 November 2014 and enjoyed great success.
The spectators of Sofia Opera and Ballet will have again the chance to enjoy the fairy-tale ballet classic “The Sleeping Beauty”, staging and direction by Masha Ilieva, on 11 and 12 February 2022 at 19:00 h. Both spectacles are celebration of the well-known Bulgarian prima ballerina, a gesture of gratitude and recognition for everything, which she has given and continues giving the Bulgarian ballet as artist, choreographer, coach, pedagogue and ballet stage director.